I downloaded a speech (May 2015) by Mr. Kofi Annan (previous UN Sec. General) about the upcoming UNGASS (UN general assembly special session) on Drug policy 2016. Here are some highlights:
‘The preamble of the 1961 United Nations single convention on narcotic drugs states that the “health and welfare of mankind” is the main objective of that convention. Unfortunately, current drug policies in many countries will not lead to the achievement of that objective.’
‘To the contrary, those policies have resulted in what the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has called ‘unintended consequences’. Those unintended consequences include the creation of a huge, international criminal black market that fuels corruption and spreads violence.’
‘A criminal record for a minor drug offence can be a far greater threat to the well-being of a young person than occasional drug use.’
‘As the UNODC Executive Director has said, “the conventions are not about waging a “war on drugs” but about protecting the “health and welfare of mankind”. The current drug policies are not achieving that goal.’
‘I have three suggestions:
First, decriminalize drug use. Punitive measures do not work and put lots of people in prison where their drug use may actually get worse.
Second, strengthen treatment services, especially in middle and low-income countries.
Third, we need to learn how to live with drugs so they cause the least possible harm. Even though we would like a “drug-free world”, this is not a realistic ambition.’
‘Drugs are infinitely more dangerous when produced and sold by criminals who do not worry about any safety measures.’
‘Legal regulation protects health. Consumers need to be aware of what they are taking and have clear information on health risks and how to minimize them.’
‘Ladies and gentlemen, for some time, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, of which I am a member, has been encouraging an open, forward-looking discussion of these issues in the run up to the General Assembly Special Session in 2016.’
**Whilst this is just a portion of the full speech.. I downloaded, it gives emphasis to the widely held notion, that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed to meet its objectives & has actually caused more harm than it could ever resolve.. with a punitive, law enforcement, narrow approach to Drug Policy. I too look forward to UNGASS & the possibility that it could well be a ‘game changer’ & a more positive way forward to Int’l Drug controls.