A blanket ban in itself is perhaps not a bad thing. But placing the burden wholly on the police to eradicate NPS use is unlikely to yield results. The government must do better and it could start by increasing the paltry £180,000 it currently spends on educating young people about drugs. .. Education and medical support can be no more expensive than condemning vulnerable young users to long sentences in prison. And this is not the binary problem the government's catch-all law suggests. A ban may keep costs off the statute book, but it won't conceal the reasons some of the most vulnerable young people are turning to often dangerous, now illegal highs.
We are commonly told by political leaders that punitive drug laws are needed to 'send a message'. Perhaps, then, the most powerful way that non-death penalty States can truly challenge capital punishment for drugs is to reject the supremacy of punitive suppression within their own domestic drug laws...
The UNGASS was a disappointment to both progressives and hardliners alike. Whilst we may decry the small progress in the outcome document, we can find solace in the fact that an increasing number of countries seem intent on acting unilaterally outside the UN Drug Conventions. Principled non-compliance may start to become the norm.
The cannabis debate is in a strange place at the moment: the evidence available is better than ever, debate is more mainstream, money (still not much) is available for people to study drug policy, and yet the international debate is stifled and the old school of the policy world is still promulgating evidence based on fear, not reason.
This UNGASS demonstrates the impact civil society pressure can achieve. The drug policy reform movement will continue to grow into a formidable global social movement towards 2019. The collective demand for change will grow ever louder leading to sustainable and seismic break-throughs at national, regional and ultimately UN levels.
We the undersigned call on Governments and Parliaments to recognise that: Fifty-five years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, it is clearly evident that the global war on drugs has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide, and has failed to eliminate drug production or drug use.
About two years ago I moved into a property buried deep in a London suburb. For reasons that will become clear the location will remain undisclosed, though It is owned by a housing trust and leased out to an agency; who fill it with people like me in order to keep vandals and sex workers from illegally squatting in the empty building. It's a regular fixture in the London living scene (especially for struggling artists) so I won't bore you with the details.
This Bill will push users into the hands of criminal street dealers in hard drugs and overseas-based internet suppliers who could not care less about what's in the drugs they supply or what effect they have on their clients. The internationally respected expert Professor David Nutt believes this Bill will "increase harm and deaths". Surely that is the last thing anybody wants and yet that is what the Conservative government and the Labour 'opposition' have signed.
Real drug policy changes are possible. As we've seen this year, they often happen at the national level, and UNGASS will be an important moment to think about our collective approach to drugs and drug use, to challenge the prohibitionist regimes that undermine human rights, social justice, and public health. Reform-minded nations like the ones highlighted above can be leaders in that process.
Next April's important UNGASS is an opportune moment to align these parallel universes and ensure that global drug policy genuinely has the promotion and protection of human rights at its centre. The devastating human rights violations committed in the name of drug control must end. We will be judged by history.
The nature of addiction means it's never possible to know if you'll become addicted before trying a substance. Nor is it simple to pinpoint the moment that a habit becomes an addiction. Taking the idea of 'illegal' drugs out of the equation might help you think more about what you're predisposed to - most people underestimate the dangers of alcohol as a drug, too.
The United Nations will have a Special Session on global drug policy next April and will begin discussions next month in New York. Our Guidance on Interpreting the Drug Conventions, published today, sets out an entirely new vision for global drug policy. The first step is to abandon the hopeless objective of creating a drug free world.