This contribution provides an overview of different approaches used to analyse drug policies within and across
countries. Besides the great number of cost of illness studies which have contributed to the assessment of health harms
and risks associated to the drug use, most of the recent efforts have focused on the creation of synthetic indices to classify
countries around the world or to evaluate particular law enforcement policies in some countries. This is probably due to a
general lack of comparable data across countries. The wide variety of budgetary practices in the drugs field in Europe
contributes to the problems that exist in estimating drug-related public expenditure. These heterogeneous accounting
practices, together with the complexity of the drug phenomenon and the multiplicity of perspectives on the issue, strongly
constrains the possibility of economically evaluate and compare drug laws across countries.
Keywords: Drug policy evaluation, illicit drugs, social cost of drug abuse.
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