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International Drug Control
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Book description

There remains substantial agreement among the international community on many aspects of the contemporary UN drug control regime. However, diverging views on the non-medical and non-scientific use of a range of controlled substances make drug policy an increasingly contested and transitionary field of multinational cooperation. Employing a fine-grained and interdisciplinary approach, this book provides the first integrated analysis of the sources, manifestations and sometimes paradoxical implications of this divergence. The author develops an original explanatory framework through which to understand better the dynamic and tense intersection between policy shifts at varying levels of governance and the regime's core prohibitive norm. Highlighting the centrality of the harm reduction approach and tolerant cannabis policies to an ongoing process of regime transformation, this book examines the efforts of those actors seeking to defend the existing international control framework and explores rationales and scenarios which may lead to the international community moving beyond it.


‘This book is the only detailed study of its kind that I know of - a fine-grained, nuanced evaluation of the contemporary politics of challenging and sustaining the global drug prohibition regime. For anyone wanting to know about international drug control politics, especially in terms of the role of the United Nations, this will be a 'must read'.’

Peter Andreas - Brown University, and co-author of Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations

‘An outstanding contribution to scholarship on international drug control as well as international relations theory more broadly. A compelling and cogent analysis, this book merits a wide and attentive audience.’

Julia Buxton - University of Bradford

‘This is a meticulously researched and intellectually sophisticated analysis of the international drug control regime, concentrating on the role of the United States. It is a landmark contribution to the field.’

John Dumbrell - Durham University

‘Bewley-Taylor’s latest book is destined to become the go-to source for everybody striving for a deep understanding of the workings of the global drug prohibition regime and how it came about. The author manages to make the book accessible and entertaining while demonstrating empirical and theoretical rigor - a rare feat.’

Christine Jojarth - Stanford University, and author of Crime, War and Global Trafficking

‘An indispensable guide to the critics, crises, and defenders of global drug prohibition in the twenty-first century. The old is dying, the new cannot yet be born, so Bewley-Taylor brilliantly maps the purgatory of contemporary punitive prohibition. A learned, lucid, and ultimately hopeful work.’

Harry G. Levine - Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

‘The widespread recognition that drug control policies are inadequate has long coexisted with an equally widespread reluctance to reform them. This book sheds needed light on the reasons behind this nefarious paradox. David R. Bewley-Taylor's dissection of a little-known UN Commission in Vienna brilliantly illustrates broader issues related to drugs and the clumsy attempts of governments to contain their production, distribution and consumption. Anyone interested in drug policy, or how the 'international community' actually works when it meets to tackle a major global problem, should read this book.’

Moisés Naím - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of Illicit: How Traffickers, Smugglers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy

‘At a time when an increasing number of governments and analysts are questioning the design of the international drug control system, David R. Bewley-Taylor has written a perceptive and elegant account of the frailties of the system. His account of the essentially farcical, decade-long effort to meet the goals of a 1998 United Nations General Assembly resolution to rid the world of cocaine and heroin is analytical, edifying and entertaining.’

Peter Reuter - University of Maryland, and co-author of Drug War Heresies and of The World Heroin Market

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