"We are driven by a sense of urgency. There is a widespread acknowledgment that the current system is not working, but also recognition that change is both necessary and achievable. We are convinced that the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) is an historic opportunity to discuss the shortcomings of the drug control regime, identify workable alternatives and align the debate with ongoing debates on the post-2015 development agenda and human rights."
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Former President of Brazil (1994-2002)
Putting health and community safety first requires a fundamental reorientation of policy priorities and resources, from failed punitive enforcement to proven health and social interventions. Read more
Focus on reducing the power of criminal organizations as well as the violence and insecurity that result from their competition with both one another and the state. Read more
Take advantage of the opportunity presented by the upcoming UNGASS in 2016 to reform the global drug policy regime. Read more
Ensure equitable access to essential medicines, in particular opiate-based medications for pain. Read more
Rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level participants in illicit drug markets such as farmers, couriers and others involved in the production, transport and sale of illicit drugs. Read more
“The world needs to discuss new approaches… we are basically still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 years … A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking… If that means legalizing, and the world thinks that’s the solution, I will welcome it. I’m not against it.”
Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia.
A FAILURE ON ITS OWN TERMS
THREATENING PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
UNDERMINING HUMAN RIGHTS, FOSTERING DISCRIMINATION
FUELLING CRIME AND ENRICHING CRIMINALS
UNDERMINING DEVELOPMENT AND SECURITY, FUELING CONFLICT
WASTING BILLIONS, UNDERMINING ECONOMIES
Many countries are already changing their drug policies. And there are multiple pathways to more humane and effective strategies.
The regulation of drugs should be pursued because they are risky, not because they are safe. Different models of regulation can be applied for different drugs according to the risks they pose. In this way, regulation can reduce social and health harms and disempower organized crime.
CC BY-SA 3.0
CC BY-SA 3.0
The evolution of an effective, modern international drugcontrol system requires leadership from the UN and national governments, building a new consensus founded on core principles that allows and encourages exploration of alternative approaches to prohibition.
"This [Commission on Narcotic Drugs] will be followed, in 2016, by the UN General Assembly Special Session on the issue. I urge Member States to use these opportunities to conduct a wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options.”
Ban Ki Moon, General Secretary of the United Nations, 2013.
Take advantage of the opportunity presented by the upcoming UNGASS in 2016 to reform the global drug policy regime. The leadership of the UN Secretary-General is essential to ensure that all relevant UN agencies – not just those focused on law enforcement but also health, security, human rights and development – engage fully in a ‘One-UN’ assessment of global drug control strategies. The UN Secretariat should urgently facilitate an open discussion including new ideas and recommendations that are grounded in scientific evidence, public health principles, human rights and development. Policy shifts towards harm reduction, ending criminalization of people who use drugs, proportionality of sentences and alternatives to incarceration have been successfully defended over the past decades by a growing number of countries on the basis of the legal latitude allowed under the UN treaties. Further exploration of flexible interpretations of the drug treaties is an important objective, but ultimately the global drug control regime must be reformed to permit responsible legal regulation.
Members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy
From left: Branson, Annan, Zedillo, Cardoso, Gaviria, Dreifuss, Kazatchkine, Sampaio and Stoltenberg
Experts Review Panel
Juan Carlos Garzon Vergara
Count the Costs
Drug Policy Alliance
European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction
Global Commission on Drug Policy
Global Commission on HIV and the Law (convened by UNDP)
Harm Reduction International
International Drug Policy Consortium
International Network of People who use Drugs
LSE Ideas; International drug policy project
Transform Drug Policy Foundation
Transnational Institute; drug law reform resources
The Beckley Foundation
UN Office on Drugs and Crime
Washington Office on Latin America - Drug Policy program
West Africa Drugs Commission
Reports by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:
• War on Drugs - 2011
• The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS: How The Criminalization Of Drug Use Fuels The Global Pandemic - 2012
• The Negative Impact of the War on Drugs: The Hidden Hepatitis C Epidemic - 2013
HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights And Health - Global Commission on HIV and the Law - 2012
The Drug Problem in the Americas - Organisation of American States - 2013
Ending the Drug Wars – London School of Economics - 2014
Not Just in Transit – West Africa Commission on Drugs - 2014