Category: Press Release
Posted: March 27 2019
Author: CDPE

Launch of New Tool to Evaluate National Drug Policies: The Drug Policy Metrics Map

Toronto, Canada – A global interactive tool to evaluate national drug policy approaches – the Drug Policy Metrics Map – has been launched today by the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation (CDPE). Against the backdrop of an increasingly fractured global drug policy regime, this online tool allows users to identify the measures of success national governments are using to evaluate the real world impacts of their drug policies.

Governments have traditionally identified the success or failure of drug policies based on their capacity to reduce the supply of illegal drugs. This narrow scope, coupled with the use of process-oriented indicators – such as the number and quantity of drug seizures or the number of people arrested for drug offences – fails to capture the real world impacts of drugs and drug policies. In recent years, some national governments have therefore shifted their focus to drug policy outcome indicators such as drug-related mortality rates or the annual number of reports of violent crime. This shift comes as national governments and multiple United Nations agencies are formally recognizing the harms of drug criminalization.

“Better indicators are essential to measuring the success or failure of both new and existing drug policies. This is critical given that many countries are seeking effective ways to create policies that foster the health and safety of communities affected by drugs.” explains Dr. Dan Werb, Executive Director of the CDPE.

Having emerged out of an international cross comparison of illegal drug policies conducted by the CDPE, the Drug Policy Metrics Map illuminates gaps and congruencies between the metrics that countries use to evaluate their drug policies, as well as the actual drug- and drug policy-related effects that those policies have on communities, as measured via data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Drug Policy Metrics Map was created as a tool to comparatively assess how countries determine the success or failure of their drug policies based on their evaluative approaches. Users of the tool can conduct their own comparative analysis to test relationships between drug policy metrics and United Nations data on country-level drug policy-related outcomes. The online tool currently includes 44 countries and will continue to be expanded over time.

“The Drug Policy Metrics Map is an intuitive tool that allows users to compare how different countries evaluate their drug policies,” elaborated Dr. Werb. “It enables government officials, researchers, and civil society alike to think critically about how we should be defining successful drug policies.”

Please explore the Drug Policy Metrics Map at 

 About the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation
The CDPE strives to improve community health and safety by conducting research and outreach on best practices in drug policy. We work collaboratively with governments, affected communities, and civil society to guide effective and evidence-based policy responses to substance use. The CDPE was founded as the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) in 2010 at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, Canada. The CDPE is now housed within the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital, a site of Unity Health Toronto, in Toronto, Canada.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Nazlee Maghsoudi
Manager, Policy Impact Unit