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
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.
First Published on https://medium.com/