The ‘war on drugs’ has been largely discredited on the international stage. Former and sitting presidents, Nobel Prize winners, heads of UN agencies and other world leaders have all in some way rubbished the idea of the international community waging war against already marginalised groups of people as a way to prevent substance use or misuse. It is for this reason that the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in April 2016, whatever the explicit consensus outcomes, represents the global end point in a failed and counterproductive strategy. The question now is what comes after the drug wars.

This report suggests a new set of guiding policy principles for both the national and international levels. First, replace prohibitionist drug policy goals with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Second, drastically expand public health approaches, including harm reduction services. Third, apply the principles of harm reduction to supply-side policies and management of illicit markets. Fourth, utilise inherent flexibilities within the conventions to engage in rigorously monitored social scientific policy experimentation, conforming to strict public health and human rights principles.