World leaders call for change

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Today the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a panel of world leaders and politicians has called for a complete shift in the approach to drug control in light of the total failure of the ’war on drugs’.

The purpose of The Global Commission on Drug Policy is to bring to the international level an informed, science-based discussion about humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs to people and societies.

Members include Kofi Annan, Javier Solana and Richard Branson. There are a large group of leading Latin Americans, which has seen huge suffering in the ‘war on drugs’. These include the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, the writers Carlos Fuentes and the Nobel  prize winning Mario Vargas Llosa, the former Secretary of State of the United States, George Shultz. And the current Prime Minister of Greece!

“Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s global war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed,” said former president of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso. “Let’s start by treating drug addiction as a health issue, reducing drug demand through proven educational initiatives and legally regulating rather than criminalizing cannabis.”

The key recommendations of the Commission are:

  • End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.
  • Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs (especially cannabis) to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.
  • Ensure that a variety of treatment modalities are available – including not just methadone and buprenorphine treatment but also the heroin-assisted treatment programs that have proven successful in many European countries and Canada.
  • Apply human rights and harm reduction principles and policies both to people who use drugs as well as those involved in the lower ends of illegal drug markets such as farmers, couriers and petty sellers.

You can read the report here.

And please sign the Avaaz petition to ‘End the War on Drugs’ here.