Ways to Strengthen the U.S. Drug Strategy | CASAColumbia

International Demand Reduction Policy: Ways to Strengthen the U.S. Drug Strategy

International Demand Reduction Policy: Ways to Strengthen the U.S. Drug Strategy

Published: May 1993

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Drug abuse is a global problem that cuts across geopolitical boundaries. It can have catastrophic consequences at the individual, family and community levels, and can be destabilizing to the democratic process. These concerns have been addressed by both supply and demand reduction strategies; although these two types of strategies are intimately related, less has been done to address the potential role and feasibility of international demand reduction strategies.


This paper was based on a 2-day meeting convened by CASAColumbia® on the potential role of international demand reduction in America’s war on drugs, and in policy and program approaches to reducing worldwide use and abuse of illegal substances. The meeting was attended by substance abuse and foreign policy experts, as well as government officials charged with policy and program implementation in this area.


The meeting consensus was that it is in the interest of the U.S. to promote demand reduction strategies in other areas of the world. If we diminish our use at home, but drug use persists or increases in other regions, production and criminal drug trafficking organizations will be sustained. Uncontrolled international demand for illegal substances supports the development of new drug problems, just as we begin to control each new illegal drug epidemic.


The broad set of recommendations incorporated into the report emerged from the meeting, including:

  • International demand reduction strategies and programs should be integral components of the overall U.S. international strategy
  • The administration should undertake a full and strategic review of all international demand reduction strategies and programs
  • The U.S. government should identify priority countries to which it should pay special attention
  • The private sector should be involved in promoting awareness of substance abuse and in providing the means to address it

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