Drug decriminalization and wellbeing

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels

For this survey, members of the World Wellbeing Panel were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements related to drug decriminalization:

(i) "Decriminalization of drugs initiatives around the world these last 20 years have, on balance, delivered wellbeing gains for their populations" and

(ii) "Further decriminalization of both soft-drugs and hard-drugs, if well-designed, can be expected to lead to net wellbeing gains in the population."

In their responses (collected in April 2021), 11 of our 15 wellbeing experts agreed (or completely agreed) with the first statement, while 12 out of 15 agreed with the second statement.

While there is majority support amongst the panelists for drug decriminalization, the views they express in their responses indicate that the decriminalization issue cannot be divorced from broader societal issues. These issues include the power of organized crime, corruption, poor education, poverty and inequality. Decriminalization itself may help to address some of these broader issues, but also needs to be accompanied by complementary policies that address the root causes of drug-taking amongst significant groups of the population.

List of respondents to this survey

About the World Wellbeing Panel