Drug policy reform

“Just say no” has given half a century of moral satisfaction to its proponents but now it’s time to assess the cost
I chose to get drunk last night so my hangover is 'legitimate' in the eyes of society. But many people prefer different ways of letting it all hang out - a joint, a line or a pill. Just to help make the party pop that little bit more. We call them recreational drug users. There are at least three million of them in the UK and chances are you are one of them...
Saving lives of his people dying of AIDS is Kofi Annan's legacy. Ban Ki Moon's legacy could be ushering us into a new era of drug policy. The world is ready.
President Juan Manuel Santos's decision to suspend Colombia's aerial spraying program is a welcome move that further strengthens his position as an international leader of drug policy reform.
The case for reform grows stronger by the day, as does public support for a rethink. We need to be bold and courageous to follow the evidence and put an end to the prohibitionist approach which has repeatedly and invariably failed us all.
Turning this around requires greater international leadership, political commitment and will, tireless health and human rights advocacy, and a scale-up (rather than down) in donor support for the countries most in need. Only then can we begin to seriously talk about a world without AIDS.
Ending the criminalisation of drug use would remove the need to unnecessarily search hundreds of thousands of people every year. Thus ensuring that the numbers of people, especially those from the black community, caught up in the criminal justice system is significantly reduced.
Drug policy reform advocates have some reason to be upbeat these days. Momentum for reassessing the existing prohibitionist international policy framework is gathering in different corners of the world. New, unusual suspects are joining the debate, providing fresh perspectives and challenging entrenched positions.
More governments are breaking from the pack and express concern that the system is not succeeding. Forward-looking governments are standing up and demanding that we count the costs of current policies.
The time has come to dispense with our dusty 'legalise or not legalise' discussion as this provokes a non-debate and an almost literal fist-fight of a discussion due to its lack of finesse.