The aim of the six country stories presented in this issue of Development Dialogue is to discuss the circumstances, specific to each country, and the factors that shaped their National drug policies with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, the country stories should provide a substantial and comprehensive resource base for those who are grappling with important questions: Is there a pattern to the varied experiences that different countries have had in formulating and implementing National drug policies? What determines the common elements in this pattern? Can some general conclusions be drawn that reflect the commonalities? To what extent might these help in the formulation of individual country strategies and in the promotion of concerted global action through multilateral efforts within the UN system and by other international organisations, or initiatives on the part of NGOs and consumers? The ‘Strategy Paper’, which begins this issue of Development Dialogue, should be seen ‘neither as a substitute for, nor a summary of, the country studies, but a macro-level discussion that could provide pointers not so much to an action plan as to a strategy’, to quote from the paper itself. It is obvious that each country has to build a strategy and an NDP of its own in accordance with its own needs and resources. However, it is commonly admitted that general and sometimes quite detailed lessons can be drawn from the past experiences of other countries.