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How can global health move beyond the war on drugs?

Although the ‘war on drugs’ is widely acknowledged as a failure, it is still being fiercely pursued on many fronts around world, with the poorest and most marginalised in society suffering most. At the same time, in many countries drug use is being reframed as a public health concern rather than an issue of law enforcement, and governments have decriminalised - and even legalised - the distribution, possession and use of certain recreational drugs. This policy landscape has also become increasingly nuanced as the medicinal use of cannabis and the burgeoning global crisis arising from the inappropriate use of prescription opiates move up the agenda. In this Global Health Lab, we will debate how best should the global health community move beyond the war on drugs to effectively respond to this increasingly complex issue.

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The Lancet