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  • Writer's pictureWADPN

The Day the World Stands Up for Drug Policy Reform

Today we celebrate the first annual International Drug Policy Reform Day, a global day 

of action to stand up for the millions of lives that have been broken or lost from the failed 

“War on Drugs” over the last 40 years. Together, we are calling on the United Nations 

to create effective and compassionate drug policy based in human rights and health care.

This day coincides with a critical juncture for global drug policy. All week, 

the Commission on Narcotic Drugs’ (CND) will meet in Vienna to debate 

the international drug control system. They are preparing for world leaders 

to gather at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 

on drug policy in April 2016 in New York City. This is the first time the 

assembly has met on drugs in 18 years, making it a historic opportunity 

to chart a new course.

While the 1998 UNGASS proclaimed to create a “Drug-Free World”, drug use 

and production today is higher than ever: the United Nations estimates 

250 million people use drugs annually, up by nearly 20% from just 

seven years ago. Countries wasted trillions of dollars attempting 

to stop illegal drug use by relying overwhelmingly on punishment, 

police and prisons.

This approach isn’t a war on drugs — it’s a war on people, with racial and ethnic

 minorities, women, youth, and the poor being disproportionately caught 

in the crosshairs. Furthermore, failed policies further stoked public health 

crises by restricting access to essential medicines and exacerbating the spread 

of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood borne viruses.

This brutality, cruelty, and inhumanity must be halted now.

When the United Nations meets to debate drug policy next month, let’s 

make sure they know that people everywhere are standing up for drug policy reform. 

To participate in International Drug Policy Reform Day, share a reason why you 

want drug policy reform on Facebook and Twitter using the #StopTheHarm 

and #CND2016 hashtags. You can also sign the petition calling on UN

This day is supported by a global drug policy campaign called Stop the Harm

which brings together over 180 diverse, broad, and powerful NGOs from 

around the world who are calling for a new course firmly grounded in 

health and compassion.

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