The International Drug Prohibition Regime as Security Regulation: Stability and Change in an Increasingly Less Prohibitionist World

  • Ondrej DitrychEmail author
  • Constanza Sanchéz-Avilés


In this chapter, we introduce the international drug control regime (IDCR) and trace its emergence and later evolution by drawing on three successive waves of the international regime theory. We confirm the assumption that the prohibition in the IDCR as well as other features of the system have been the result of a series of political decisions taken by a specific group of powerful states at the centre of global capitalist economy, and the USA as the system hegemon above all. The regime, we argue, however also betrays powerful inertia factors associated with institutional, structural and productive types of power that pose an obstacle to its transformation even when, in some respects, there exists convincing evidence that suggests other approaches would be more effective and less costly. In view of the current challenge to the IDCR’s core prohibitionist rationality which we align with an evolutionary change in the operation of compulsory power, in the conclusion we discuss how a change to the status quo may be steered to avoid the regime’s gradual obliteration.


Illicit drugs International drug control regime United Nations International narcotics control board Commission on narcotic drugs Power Hegemony Sovereignty Biopolitics Dispositif 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of International Relations PraguePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS)BarcelonaSpain

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