Anti-drug policy is a complex coordinated set of societal measures focused on legal and illegal addictive substances and pathological gambling. These measures used include prevention, education, treatment, regulations, controls, and other aspects including legal activities. The end goal is to reduce the social, medical, and other risks and damages that addictive substances and gambling present to individuals and for society as a whole.
Czech anti-drug policies are implemented at the national, regional, and local level while the country is also intensively incorporated into international networks.
Effective Policies for Addictive Behaviour
It’s clear an unregulated market presents incredible risks; just as excessive repression has its own pitfalls and costs. Instead, we implemented policies that set access to a regulated market, such as in the case of tobacco or alcohol, which is partially true of other substances as well, such as cannabis. According to all studies and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the following play positive roles in minimising the effects of addiction:
- Pricing polices
- Limiting access to sales (age and spatial requirements)
- Timely intervention in high-risk groups
- Substitution treatments, including those available through prescription
- Targeted and specific prevention measures
- Prevention targeting extending the age when the user first experiences intoxication from addictive substances (mostly with legal measures)
Just as in the area of illegal drugs or alcohol, significant positive contributions come from policies supporting massive treatment-prevention measures paid for through public finances. Repeated cost-benefit analyses have shown this method provides significant savings to public coffers and reductions in the worst effects of addiction.
Successful policy in the form of accessible prevention-treatment measures and market regulations is not aimed at creating a population where 100% of the people abstain (creating a society without drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and gambling), but on the realistic goal of minimising risks and damages.
“A world without drugs is not a realistic vision. Something else has to be done. The basic motif of the strategy is to minimise damages: Not planning to ban tobacco or alcohol, but determining how to reduce their risks. That should be reflected in budget allocation and legislation.”