This admirable pledge, which comes with a promise to 'leave no-one behind', will remain no more than a slogan. People who use drugs are being left behind and only a major injection of political courage, backed up by a redirection of the necessary resources away from drug control and into harm reduction, will change this.
If not from us, take if from a certain up and coming Conservative MP, David Cameron, in 2005: 'Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.' It is time for new thinking.
If drugs issues are to be included in the SDG targets then ideas must come from official, considered sources, including NGO consultations. They must be based on what is really happening, and real solutions, not the same discredited fantasies of the past. Drug use is not a sustainable development issue. The war on drugs certainly is.
Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
At the 2016 summit human rights must be central to any evaluation of the drug control system. As usual many states will resist and will claim that human rights are not relevant to drug control. This is false. They will claim that this 'politicises' a technical issue. It's already political (and not very technical because of that).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has referred to hepatitis as a "viral time bomb" that poses a major public health, economic and social threat. The virus is highly infectious and easily transmitted through blood-to-blood contact - presenting disproportionate risks for people who inject drugs. A cure exists but is prohibitively expensive in most countries.
A few days back, I published a piece right here titled: What's in a Word, and Who is the Addict? I really only dealt with the first part of the question: semantic pros and cons pertaining to word usage. This time, I wish the address the second question - a far more difficult question than the first.
Neuroscientist Professor Barbara Sahakian is concerned about university students using Ritalin and other 'smart drugs' (a daft label) to improve concentration. Many, myself included, share that concern. It clearly shows the stresses and pressures students are under, likely made worse by the knowledge that the job sector is worse than it has been for a long time.
Many seem to like my recently published book on addiction. Here's what I often get: "Dr. Ferentzy offers an interesting and challenging perspective ..." In such cases I will thank someone for their kind words, but then quickly counter: everything I wrote in that book is true; perspective is irrelevant.