1. Drug laws indicators through the leximetric approach and relationship with effectiveness: the example of Italy in the period 1991-2018
The leximetric approach is a quantitative method that can be applied, like a policy index, to measure laws and policy goals in advance. It can be used to compare laws and policies in the same state over the years or in different states at the same time. Leximetric measures can be developed, with interdisciplinary collaboration, by assessing the levels of repression that current laws provide
The methodology is applied for the first time to the laws on illicit substances in Italy. The subjects are the three different 'antidrug' laws in force in Italy in the period 1991-2018. First, the variable that can express the degree of severity of these laws is chosen, then a scale is defined to explain how each score can be assigned (decimal or binary system), and finally, the laws are measured using the chosen variable and the adopted scale.
The adequacy of the leximetric scores (a priori evaluation) can be assessed by comparing them with socio-health and economic indicators that measure the consequences of law enforcement (a posteriori evaluation).
Indicators for the period 1991-2018 are considered. Time series of classic and new indicators are are used for evaluation of drug laws and policies and compared with leximetric scores. Interesting and encouraging results are available.
It would be very important to apply the method more widely to compare laws in different countries. A first attempt has been made within an ERANID project, but it should be expanded both methodologically and with applications to socio-health and economic data.