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Table 3 Proposed research priority areas for drug reform

From: Mexico’s “ley de narcomenudeo” drug policy reform and the international drug control regime

Theme Description
Implementation science Development of implementation science approaches, defined as the “study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence into healthcare policy and practice”[44], to provide dissemination and incorporation of research about the successes and challenges of varying drug policy reform practices, including the ley de narcomenudeo.
Comparative policy analysis Detailed exploration of the association between decriminalization policies and reductions in drug use using cross-comparisons of multiple jurisdictions and different reform strategies[45].
Development of indicators Establish a set of effectiveness indicators that go beyond conventional metrics regarding the size and composition of illicit drug markets and prevalence of use. Instead, such metrics should incorporate a range of outcomes that measure drug-related harms such as the transmission of blood-borne diseases among people who inject drugs, the incidence of non-fatal and fatal overdoses, and emergency room mentions of drugs[9].
International development on evidence-based policy mechanisms Based on approaches above, cooperation on building international consensus and development of culturally appropriate evidence-based policy mechanisms that are compatible/align with existing treaty flexibilities. Internationally agreed upon best practices guidelines for implementation of these policy measures should also be pursued along with avenues for technical assistance[41].
Multidisciplinary/multi-sector research partnerships Key for development of formalized partnerships between local, national, and international public health departments, law enforcement officials, and policymakers to work closely with impartial experts to collect and evaluate data to guide future evidence-based approaches to address drug abuse, promote harm reduction, and ensure human rights protection.