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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

UN Special Session Global Drug Control Policy

You all may remember former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s recent op-ed which called the global war on drugs a failure. He called for change in how developed nations treat those afflicted by addiction, saying that we need to stop stigmatizing and start helping. Annan said that four, albeit controversial, steps need to be taken:
  • We must decriminalize personal drug use.
  • We need to accept that a drug­-free world is an illusion.
  • We have to look at regulation and public education rather than the total suppression of drugs, which we know will not work.
  • We need to recognize that drugs must be regulated precisely because they are risky.
“Prohibition has had little impact on the supply of or demand for drugs. When law enforcement succeeds in one area, drug production simply moves to another region or country, drug trafficking moves to another route and drug users switch to a different drug.”

This week, the U.N. is holding a special session on global drug control policy, the first of its kind in almost 20 years, the Associated Press reports. The 3-day gathering will feature a debate among world leaders as to whether nations should focus on “criminalization and punishment” or on “health and human rights.”

Current U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon believes that health and human rights need to be the way of the future, according to the article. He has the support of Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

"Only an integrated development, security, governance, public health, and human rights-centered approach can effectively address the challenges posed by the world drug problem," Ban said.

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