Drugs & (dis)order is a major four-year Global Challenges Research Fund project working to find policy solutions to transform drug economies into peacetime economies in the aftermath of war. We’re working in Afghanistan, Colombia and Myanmar.

Why we’re here

By 2030, more than 50% of the world’s poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected states. And many of today’s armed conflicts are fuelled by illicit drug economies in borderland regions.

Trillions of dollars have been spent on the War on drugs, but securitised approaches have failed. In fact, they often increase state fragility and adversely affect the health and livelihoods of communities and households.

In light of these failures, there’s increasing recognition that drug policies need to be more pro-poor and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But the evidence base for this policy reform is patchy, politicised and contested.

Drugs & (dis)order is helping to generate pro-poor policy solutions to transform illicit economies into peace economies.

Our aims

Drugs & (dis)order aims to help transform debates, practices and policies relating to drugs and development in conflict affected and post-conflict states. To do this we will:

Generate a robust evidence base on illicit drug economies and their effects on armed conflict, public health and livelihoods.

Identify new approaches and policy solutions to build more inclusive development and sustainable livelihoods in drugs affected contexts.

Build a global network of researchers and institutions in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar and the UK to continue this work.

Our approach

Drugs & (dis)order is a consortium project, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of institutions in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar and UK.

It combines traditional and innovative research methods, including in-depth fieldwork, GIS spatial imagery, public health analysis and visual storytelling to map, capture, verify and communicate data.

Contributing to the SDGs

There is increasing recognition that drug policies need to be more pro-poor and aligned with the SDGs. The project aims to be a catalyst for policy reform, based on a new understanding of the relationship between illicit economies, conflict and development.

The SDGs represent a remarkable opportunity to re-frame debates around illicit drug economies as a development issue.

The project consortium has extensive experience and engagement within the drug policy and development communities, making it well placed to span these two policy fields.

While there is no explicit reference to drug economies in the SDGs, they have a very significant influence on the achievement of these goals, in particular: