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International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

Global scientific network working to improve community health & safety by informing illicit drug policies with the best available evidence.

The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) is a network of scientists and academics from all global hemispheres committed to improving the health and safety of communities and individuals affected by illicit drugs by working to inform illicit drug policies with the best available scientific evidence. By conducting research and public education on best practices in drug policy while working collaboratively with communities, policy makers, law enforcement and other stakeholders, the ICSDP seeks to help guide effective and evidence-based policy responses to the many problems posed by illicit drugs.

The ICSDP strives to be a primary source for rigorous scientific evidence on the impacts of illicit drug policy on community health and safety. To this end, the ICSDP produces publications which adhere to the highest standards of peer-reviewed scientific research. The ICSDP also conducts public education campaigns about the need for evidence-based drug policies. The objective of these campaigns is to inform policymakers, affected communities, key stakeholders, and the general public on pressing current issues surrounding illicit drugs and drug policy.

To learn more about the ICSDP and how your support can help improve the health and safety of communities and individuals affected by illicit drugs, please visit
Brennan Linsley/AP

Is Cannabis Tourism a Cause for Concern?

As more and more places legalize and regulate cannabis, the wider implications of bringing the trade above ground have inevitably attracted scrutiny. A growth in tourism related to the drug is one such implication, and it's dividing opinion. It's time to shift the focus away from blanket opposition to legalization based on fears that it will lead to an influx of troublemakers intent on getting high. A regulated market would give policymakers the tools to combat -- or encourage -- cannabis tourism, as they see fit. The alternative is to allow organized criminals to continue managing the trade.
09/17/2015 08:20 EDT
Shutterstock / Elena Ioachim

Here's Why We Hear So Many False Claims About Cannabis

On the whole, my many years of research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or -- in scientific terms -- there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use.
09/15/2015 12:16 EDT
Deux via Getty Images

We Need to Get the Facts Right on Cannabis Addiction

Instead of implying that cannabis and heroin dependence are equivalent, we should conceive of the use of drugs as being on a spectrum ranging from non-problematic to problematic use. The fact that the majority of cannabis use isn't harmful has significant implications for our cannabis policies. But realizing that a majority of people do not come to harm by their own non-problematic cannabis use does not downplay the seriousness of problematic cannabis use. However, for all the harm that can come from cannabis use, even more can come from its criminalization.
09/01/2015 08:09 EDT
Shutterstock / JeremyNathan

Misinformed Cannabis Policies Prevent Access to Life-Saving Treatments

My work as a scientist involves researching the potential impact of cannabis among people living with HIV/AIDS. Patients have told us for decades that marijuana helps them deal with the side effects of their medications. But now, in a preliminary study, we have found evidence to suggest that people who use cannabis are more likely to have slower HIV disease progression -- meaning that they can live longer and healthier lives.
08/21/2015 08:14 EDT
Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance.

Want to Keep Marijuana Away From Teenagers? Regulate it

As someone who went from a teenager who easily bought cannabis under prohibition to a budtender keeping cannabis out of the hands of teenagers, there is no doubt in my mind that regulation creates real barriers to teen access to cannabis. There is no gatekeeper in the illegal drug market. Drug dealers never check ID. Beyond accessibility, another common misconception is that regulation produces a wealth of brand new cannabis users who are trying the drug simply because it's legal to do so.
08/18/2015 12:58 EDT
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We Must Separate Fact From Fiction in the Cannabis Debate

Conversations about cannabis policy are heating up. So it's no surprise that we suddenly seem immersed in claims and counterclaims on a slew of topics related to cannabis use and regulation. The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy has tasked itself with determining the strength of scientific support for such claims. Over the past year, we've been working diligently on scanning the news media and online conversations about cannabis to identify the most oft-repeated or high-profile claims including the ones above related to its use and regulation.
08/13/2015 07:58 EDT