The 30 countries were obtained, in 2020, on a scale from 0 to 100, using 75 indicators as criteria that cross five specific dimensions outlined by various United Nations documents: the absence of extreme sentences such as the death penalty, the proportionality of criminal justice in relation to drugs, the financing and coverage of harm reduction resources, the availability of internationally controlled substances for pain relief, and development.
Portugal was in third place, with 70 points, behind Norway (74 points) and New Zealand (71), in a list that also includes Mozambique, in 21st place (‘ex aequo’ with Colombia and Nepal, with 40 points ), and Brazil, in the last position, with 26 points.
“No country should be proud of its drug policies and no country even comes close to realizing the evidence-based recommendations of the United Nations. Even the country at the top of the list, Norway, only scores an overall score of 74 out of 100, and scores particularly poorly in the proportionality of criminal justice responses (49 out of 100)”, reads the project page.
The index index “how drug policies have a disproportionate impact on people based on their gender, ethnic origin, socioeconomic status and place of residence, with countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Portugal or the UK scoring particularly poorly on equality indicators”.
The Global Drug Policy Index is a project by an international consortium called Harm Reduction, which defines itself as “a global partnership of community and civil society networks that aim to challenge the global ‘war on drugs’, which also includes the Swansea University Global Drug Policy Observatory, UK”.
The assumed objective of the project is based on the expectation that “governments will begin to move away from repressive and harmful responses to drugs”.
“Fifty years after the escalation of the ‘war on drugs,’ punitive policies continue to do immeasurable harm to health, human rights and development. At the same time, the global consensus on drug prohibition has reached a breaking point; the use of some drugs is decriminalized in some countries, but in others it can lead to immediate detention, life imprisonment or even death”, can be read on the index page.
The organization’s objective is for the index to be biennial.