US solider and Afghan boy stand in poppy field in Afghanistan

Ending the Drug Wars

Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy

In this report the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy argue that it is time to end the ‘war on drugs’ and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis.

10 articles from members of the expert group examine different perspectives of this global policy challenge. 

Read the report:

 Ending the Drug Wars

En Español:

 Acabando con la Guerra contra las Drogas

Para ver  el video del lanzamiento del reporte.


LSE IDEAS is responsible for the overall conclusions of this report. Each Contributor is responsible solely for the views expressed in his or her contribution.

Biographies from time of publication.

Professor Danny Quah is Chair of the Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy and Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS. He is also Professor of Economics and International Development and Kuwait Professor at LSE. He had previously served as LSE’s Head of Department for Economics (2006 – 2009) and Council Member on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council (2009 – 2011). He is Tan Chin Tuan Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore.

John Collins is the International Drug Policy Project Coordinator at LSE IDEAS. He is also a PhD Candidate in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics. His research focuses on the history of international drug control. He edited the 2012 LSE IDEAS Special Report Governing the Global Drug Wars.

Professor Laura H. Atuesta Becerra is a Professor and Research Fellow in the Drug Policy Program at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica (CIDE), Mexico. Her research focuses on the economics of illegal drugs and the effects of drugs on income inequality, internal migration and conflict. Previously she worked at the Inter-American Development Bank.

Professor Jonathan P. Caulkins is the H. Guyford Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on modelling the effectiveness of interventions related to drugs, crime, violence, delinquency and prevention.

Dr Joanne Csete is Deputy Director for the Open Society Foundations’ Global Drug Policy Program. Previously she was an Associate Professor of Public Health at Columbia University, the founding director of the HIV and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and a senior technical advisor at UNICEF.

Professor Ernest Drucker is an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He is also a Scholar in Residence and Graduate Faculty at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and a Professor Emeritus of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown is a Senior Fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She is an expert on international and internal conflicts and non-traditional security threats, including insurgency, organised crime, urban violence and illicit economies.

Professor Mark A.R. Kleiman is Professor of Public Policy in the UCLA School of Public Affairs. He is a leading expert in the field of crime control and drug policy. In addition to his academic work, he provides advice to local, state and national governments on crime and drug policy.

Professor Alejandro Madrazo Lajous is a Professor and Researcher in the Legal Studies Division of the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica (CIDE) in Mexico. His research focuses on measuring the legal-institutional costs of drug policies and their implications for socioeconomic development.

Professor Daniel Mejia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Universidad de los Andes and a Director of the Research Centre on Drugs and Security, Colombia. His research focuses on conducting econometric analysis of interdiction and eradication policies, with a particular emphasis on the outcomes of Plan Colombia.

Pascual Restrepo is a PhD candidate in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Born in Colombia, his research focuses on empirical and theoretical analyses of the costs and benefits of policies implemented under the ‘war on drugs’. In particular, his latest research quantifies the collateral costs in terms of violence created by drug markets in transit and production countries.

Professor Peter Reuter is a Professor in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland. He founded and directed RAND’s Drug Policy Research Center from 1989-1993. He also served as the founding President of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP). Among his six books is (with Robert MacCoun) Drug War Heresies: Learning from other Vices, Times and Places.

Jeremy Ziskind is a crime and drug policy analyst with BOTEC Analysis. His work for BOTEC has included advising the Washington State Liquor Control Board on rules and regulations for its newly legalised cannabis industry. Jeremy previously held positions with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Vera Institute of Justice. 

Launch event

Ending the Drug Wars report launch

Members of the Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy present the evidence from their report Ending the Drug Wars.