two worlds of authority
This chapter deals with the regulation of the demand for illegal drugs. The analysis of drug regulation in nineteen European countries between 1960 and 2010 shows that two ‘worlds of authority’ prevail within the sample: while most of the countries have maintained an authoritarian regulatory style, some have switched towards a style of lenient authority. The dominant trend of retaining authoritarian styles is explained by the international drug treaties and the commitments resulting from them. These commitments generally absorb the horizontal impulse emanating from scientific evidence on the ineffectiveness of repressive approaches against drug consumers and pushing the regulatory status quo towards lenient authority. Why has this impulse nevertheless been transmitted in some countries? The analysis of drug policy-making in Germany (absorption) and Portugal (transmission) indicates that the successful transmission is dependent on the degree of urgency to address drug-related problems and the public discourse legacy regarding drug use.
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