13. Scoping the potential uses of systems thinking in developing policy on illicit drugs

This monograph (No. 13) summarises pilot work to scope the potential uses of systems thinking for developing illicit drug policy. Systems approaches have the potential to offer much to drug policy analysis through their use of participatory methods, capacity to deal with multiple simultaneous policy options, and appreciation of the complexity, interconnectedness and dynamic feedback loops associated with policy decisions. The monograph outlines six systems approaches used by the New Zealand team in exploring illicit drug policy. The results of in-depth interviews with five experienced policy makers and a demonstration project around a policy issue are described. The potential utility of systems approaches in illicit drug policy are demonstrated.