Application of a preliminary 'qualitative' leximetric approach via an example: anti-drug laws, policies and social outcomes in Italy since 2000.

Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 14:30 to 14:45
Central square 3 (C3)



The goals of drug law and policy interventions are summarized as demand reduction and supply reduction and one should also say harm reduction explicitly. Even better, the social results should be considered globally, also taking into account what is obtained from the laundering of money of the drug market; for example, high corruption and gray economy etc.


In particular, being involved in the Eranid-IDPSO project (, that intends to use the leximetric approach to provide an indicator related of anti-drug laws and policies, a preliminary analysis, at least qualitative, will be presented using, as an example of application, the 3 different laws in force in Italy from 2000 to today: the first before 2005, the second one from 2006 to 2013 and the third after 2014. Important is the evaluation measuring “crucial” social outcomes and the costs.

The absolutely pilot and preliminary leximetric evaluation, through simple ranks, based above all on a "scientific evidence based" approach, allows to assign a leximetric indicator of minimum value, in relation to the repression and social consequences, to the first law, of maximum value to the second law and an intermediate value to that currently in force, which was also in force from 1991 to 1993, on the basis of the extensive scientific literature on the evaluation of social and health consequences from 1991 to today.

Suitable measures of the social outcomes are essential to provide their evaluation to be related to the leximetric evaluation of drug laws and policies.

Social outcome measures shall be based on administrative data and on survey data, to be properly collected, and organised to calculate indicators; then different drug laws and policies can be compared and quantitative evaluation obtained.


Once the leximetric measurement is completed, it is also possible to obtain a link between leximetric indices and socio-epidemiological indicators of the desired and undesired consequences.

The social outcomes to measure are: consumption, dealing, traffic, money laundering, harm reduction, treatment and prevention. Each can be stratified properly: consumption of minors, High risk consumption etc., dealing just cannabis, poly-drug dealing etc.

Some specific examples of data analyses, in order to provide valuable outcomes indicators, using Italian surveys and administrative data sets in the period 2000-2017, will be shown, in particular for what concerns consumption and dealing:

  • The various drug laws affect the style of drug use through the increase involvement of minors in drug use and supply.
  • The number of persons in prison increases due to the sale of illegal substances in the period 2006-2013 but the market is growing then
  • law enforcement interventions are ineffective to reduce supply. The costs of such ineffective interventions are quite high.
  • Criminal organizations have great gains from the drug market.
  • Poly-drug dealing is encouraged by the law in force between 2006 and 2013 and, as a consequence, the use of various psychotropic substances increases in the same period.



Presentation files

24 A4 1430 Carla Rossi .pdf350.71 KBDownload



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