Transforming the War on Drugs

Warriors, Victims and Vulnerable Regions

Edited by

Annette Idler


Juan Carlos Garzón Vergara

A stark reassessment of the merits of conventional anti-drugs policies for dealing with narcotics

Bibliographic Details
Transforming the War on Drugs Hardback
April 2021£40.00
9781787381988 320pp
Request Press Review Copy
Request Inspection Copy

The war on drugs has failed, but consensus in the international drug policy debate on the way forward is missing. Amidst this moment of uncertainty, militarised lenses on the global illicit drug problem continue to neglect the complexity of the causes and consequences that this war is intended to defend or defeat. Challenging conventional thinking in defence and security sectors, Transforming the War on Drugs constitutes the first comprehensive and systematic effort to theoretically, conceptually, and empirically investigate the impacts of the war on drugs.

The contributors trace the consequences of the war on drugs across vulnerable regions, including South America and Central America, West Africa, the Middle East and the Golden Crescent, the Golden Triangle, and Russia. It demonstrates that these consequences are ‘glocal’. The war’s local impacts on human rights, security, development, and public health are interdependent with transnational illicit flows. The book further reveals how these impacts have influenced the positions of governments across these regions, with significant ramifications for the international drug control regime. Crucially, it shows that, at a time when global order is in flux, critically evaluating the regime’s securitisation through the war on drugs provides key insights into other global governance realms.


Annette Idler is Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Programme and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Juan Carlos Garzón Vergara is Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and a research associate at Fundación Ideas para la Paz (Colombia).


‘A comprehensive and timely assessment which consolidates the various strands of the drug policy debate from both security and development perspectives. Engaging with regions which have not been thoroughly investigated, it is innovative, ambitious and original.’ — Sasha Jesperson, research analyst, Royal United Services Institute, and author of Militarised Responses to Transnational Organised Crime: The War on Crime

‘With important analyses, plausible theoretical insights, and a multifaceted assessment of the current “state of play,” this book is a valuable contribution to the literature. Required reading for those wishing to acquire a comprehensive view of the current International Drug Control Regime.’ — William B. McAllister, Chief of the Special Projects Division, State Department Office of the Historian, and author of Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century