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Global Drug Policy Index Ranks Norway #1 in World for Harm Reduction Drug Policies; SA Lumbers in at # 17 out of 30 Measured Countries:

Norway has the most effective drug policies in the world. That’s according to the first Global Drug Policy Index (GPDI) Survey, a unique accountability tool that measured and compared national-level drug policies between 30 countries. Each country was provided with a score from 0 – 100, where 100 represents full alignment of drug policies and their implementation with the United Nations System Common Position on Drugs. It released it’s first report in November 2021, covering activities for the previous year. Norway ranked top with a score of 74/100.


South Africa Ranks 17th

South Africa (47/100) was ranked 17th, behind Kyrgyzstan and Morocco, with a score of 47/100.  The United States was not included in the survey.



See the full list here 


The top 10 countries with drug policies that had shown most success with a harm-reduction approach were as follows:

  1. Norway 74/100
  2. New Zealand 71/100
  3. Portugal 70/100
  4. UK 69/100
  5. Australia 65/100
  6. Canada 56/100
  7. Georgia 55/100
  8. North Macedonia 55/100
  9. Costa Rica 54/100
  10. Senegal 53/100


The Index is a project of the Harm Reduction Consortium, a global partnership of civil society and community networks aiming to challenge the global ‘war on drugs’, which also includes the Global Drug Policy Observatory at Swansea University. The Index measures how drug policies align with many of the key UN recommendations on how to design and implement drug policies in accordance with the United Nations principles of health, human rights, and development. 


The Index is composed of 75 indicators that run across 5 dimensions:

  • The absence of extreme sentencing and responses to drugs, such as the death penalty
  • The proportionality of criminal justice responses to drugs
  • Funding, availability, and coverage of harm reduction interventions
  • Availability of international controlled substances for pain relief
  • Development.


The Global Drug Policy Index Top 10

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