This article investigates the role of drug depenalization on drug related deaths in England and Wales. We use an instrumental variable approach, based on Police and Crime Commissioners elections and voters left-wing preferences corresponds a decrease in drug-related arrests. The IV results indicate that a decrease in our instrumented variables generates an increase in deaths related to drug poisoning/drug misuse. Specically, to a decrease of 1% in our instrumented variables corresponds to an increase between 0.04% and 0.07% in the drug poisoning/misuse deaths ratio. We replicate our analysis using different definitions of political preferences, lag specications, dependent and independent variables and the findings are similar.
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Alessandra Foresta and Andrew Pickering
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