Regulating Global Drug Problems

32 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013

See all articles by Toby Seddon

Toby Seddon

University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: March 28, 2011


The problems associated with the global drug trade are amongst the most challenging and intractable of all those facing policy-makers. The global drug prohibition system is widely acknowledged as a costly and counterproductive failure, not only presiding over a massive expansion of the problem but also causing a range of damaging side-effects, notably fuelling organised crime. The need for new thinking has never been more evident. It is argued that current arguments for drug policy reform, whilst highly effective at critiquing prohibition, are nevertheless based on a false understanding of the nature of markets and regulation. This paper sets out an alternative constitutive conception of drug control which not only provides a better basis for challenging prohibition but also a more fruitful framework for developing an alternative approach. It is suggested that the regulation perspective outlined in this paper represents a new paradigm for addressing the challenges presented by global psychoactive commerce in the early twenty-first century.

Keywords: Drugs, psychoactive substances, regulation, markets, globalisation

Suggested Citation

Seddon, Toby, Regulating Global Drug Problems (March 28, 2011). RegNet Research Paper No. 2013/6. Available at SSRN: or

Toby Seddon (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom
0161 306-6549 (Phone)


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