A more refined distinction is required to define appropriate drug control measures according to the specific characteristics of substances, their health risks, the dynamics of their markets and their user groups. The classification schedules of the UN 1961 and 1971 Conventions do not provide sufficient differentiation. The consideration of such diverse substances as coca, cocaine, cannabis, opium and heroin in the same schedule, hampers effective policy responses taking account of the different properties and reasons people use them.

  • Review of the UK’s Drugs Classification System

    A Public Consultation
    Crime and Drug Strategy Directorate
    Home Office
    May 2006

    The UK system of classifying drugs according to their harmfulness has been in place since the introduction of the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1971. Over the past 35 years patterns of drug use have changed quite significantly, and recent debates about the classification of certain drugs, especially cannabis, have led to questions about the clarity of the current system and whether it remains fit for purpose.

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    [Note (July 2010): This is a draft of a consultation paper which was not, in fact, approved for publication in 2006. The draft is being released under Freedom of Information legislation.]

  • The global political economy of scheduling

    The international–historical context of the Controlled Substances Act
    William B. McAllister
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence 76

    This article explains the international context of regulation to control addicting substances that gave rise to schedules. It discusses the impact of scheduling decisions on subsequent national drug control legislation and international drug control negotiations, highlighting how the creation of schedules introduced new incentives and rewards into calculations about the national/international commerce in drugs.

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  • Development of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971

    István Bayer
    Unpublished document 1989

    The 196l Single Convention did not include so-called "psychotropic substances" such as amphetamines and barbiturates among the drugs controlled. The discussions on the scope of control were focused on plant-based drugs, such as cannabis, poppy cultivation, poppy straw, coca bush and coca leaves This document describes the development of an international instrument for the control of psychotropic substances.

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