ANU and Kings College London to tackle global issues

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3 March 2022

The drug policy settings within Australia and England are set to receive a shakeup thanks to a collaboration between The Australian National University (ANU) and Kings College London (KCL).

Associate Professor Anna Olsen, from ANU, a member of the Drug Policy Futures working party said, “Current policies are not having the desired impact. We are seeing high economic costs, families destroyed, and unnecessary loss of lives.”

“We’ve reached a crucial tipping point in the global war on drugs and in the discourses of drug policy and law.”

“The goal of this initiative is to address the macro nature of this issue by critically identifying what is needed to develop future research, robust education strategies, and utilise our strong connections with government and NGOs to effect change,” Associate Professor Olsen explained.

Academics from the two institutions, in consultation with community stakeholders, will come together in virtual roundtable discussions to consider how to improve research and drug policies within the framework of harm reduction.

Participants in the Drug Policy Futures working party will represent expertise in the areas of law, history, sociology, medicine, psychology and public health.

Drug policy reform is not the only global issue on the table.

Other problems to be addressed include social resilience, climate and health, population health, health and communities, security and policy and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Each roundtable will include an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon the expertise and networks of each university, with researchers from all career levels, including PhD students, represented.

Through joint research projects, educational initiatives and internship programs, ANU and KCL aim to raise public awareness and engage governments to support policy development on these important global issues.