This article was originally published by The Crime Report. Something was different about how representatives of the United States handled themselves at last month's United Nations summit on drug policysaid Diederik Lohman, associate director of Health and Human Rights division at Human Rights Watch. Instead of sitting up front during the UN General Assembly's Special Session on Drugs, and corralling other countries into following its tougher-than-tough stance on drugs -- which is what the U. It's now become acceptable for mainstream elected officials and candidates, as well as members of U.
Its goal—a world free of illicit use of drugs—has proven elusive: Despite billions of dollars spent, illicit drug use is up and illicit drugs today are cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Moreover, the War on Drugs has had disastrous unintended consequences, fueling the spread of violence, human rights abuses and infectious disease in much of the world.
In the run-up, Human Rights Watch will be publishing a series of articles that will highlight the consequences for respect and protection of human rights of the War on Drugs.
On opposite sides of this debate are countries like Uruguay — open to legalization and regulation of marijuana — and Russia, which opposes even references to a previously agreed — and spectacularly missed — global goal to reduce drug-related HIV transmission. Health and human rights are at the center of this polarized debate.
What does more harm — drugs themselves or the response to them? In the run-up to the April meeting, Human Rights Watch will publish a series of articles examining the range of serious human rights abuses — from torture and killings in the name of drug control to disproportionate and arbitrary imprisonment of drug users to denying cancer patients access to morphine for pain — the War on Drugs has caused.
Ending these abuses need to be at the center of the deliberations at the UN General Assembly session on drugs. Unfortunately, the document the UN General Assembly approved on Tuesday does not represent a real break with the past but rather business-as-usual, with some shifts in emphasis.
The increased focus on health and human rights in the document is welcome, but as long as the dominantly courts-and-cops approach to fighting drugs continues, the toll from the fight will far outweigh the damage from the drugs themselves.
There is little doubt that tens of thousands of people will continue to suffer from drug-related violence and human rights abuses in the coming years; that drug users and those involved in minor trafficking will continue to fill our jails; and that HIV and hepatitis C will continue to wreak havoc among people who inject drugs.
The glass-half-full view is seeing the summit as a key step in the long, complicated process of changing the way the world sees drugs. Importantly, the once-unshakable global consensus on the War on Drugs has been shattered.
Much to the chagrin of countries that sought to protect the status quo, led by Russia, a critical mass of reform-minded countries powerfully challenged long-standing orthodoxies on drugs and forced open a debate that had been notoriously insular. Decriminalization of personal use and possession — the key to ending widespread abuses against drug users — is now a mainstream issue.
Discussion of the benefits and risks of legalization and regulation of marijuana, unimaginable just a few short years ago, is now firmly part of the debate. While falling far short of what was needed, the summit did unleash winds of change that are gathering force.
So what happens next? In all likelihood, we will see a further fracturing of the approach to drugs around the world. Some countries will continue down the path of reform — legalizing medical cannabis, decriminalizing drug use, and favoring effective health over criminal justice interventions — while others will double down on harsh law enforcement approaches.
But ultimately the reformers are likely to have the advantage. Their approach is based in science rather than ideology, and the evidence suggests strongly that they will attain the better public health outcomes.
Inthe current global drug strategy will expire.
Ending the Drug War Won't End Mass Incarceration - But It's a Necessary First Step Daniel Robelo The United States has reached a turning point in its epidemic of mass incarceration. Growing concern over the harm caused by the drug war, on both sides of the border, may be one reason that public opinion about drug policy is shifting in the United States. Forty-four years after Richard Nixon declared that “public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse,” there is now a nearly universal agreement that the War on Drugs .
The key question is how many countries will by then be willing to follow the evidence even if it necessitates politically inconvenient steps. The human rights of tens of thousands of people depend on the answer.
April 21, 7: Drug users are stigmatized and jailed frequently for possession of very small amounts of drugs. The hardnosed approach by police prompts drug users in Russia to avoid health services for fear of arrest and harassment.
Only a few Russian regions offer state-provided rehabilitation treatment. As a result, treatment is often left in the hands of private companies or organizations. The government has a duty to regulate these privately-owned facilities to ensure they do not endanger or abuse patients.
The Russian government has failed to do this — with predictable consequences. Over the last few years, there have been numerous reports of abuse in these facilities: People are sedated, taken from their homes by force to remote facilities, usually in the countryside, and forced to stay there for months, often without their consent which family members give for them instead.
Other methods include d physical violence, electroshock, verbal abuse and public humiliation. The media have even reported that people have died in such centers. To its credit, the government has prosecuted some of the worst cases. But most cases of abuse likely never come to light.As Ending the War on Drugs, a new book of essays from some of the leading critics of drugs laws, spells out in chilling detail, pursuing such an ambition has cost taxpayers around the world $bn.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) discussed his opposition to the war on drugs during an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Wednesday night, with a particular focus on how federal policy has disproportionately targeted racial minorities.
Colbert asked if Paul identified as a “libertarian Republican” and about his general views on marijuana and legalization. A majority of states allow some form of medical marijuana use, and nine states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized recreational use. Although the substance is illegal under U.S.
federal law, in the Justice Department under President Barack Obama guided U.S. attorneys away from prosecuting personal marijuana use in states where it is legal. It makes absolutely no sense for us to put up 55, body bags to stop drugs from entering the United States, which, once they enter the country, are de facto or de jure legally consumed.
From a statistical standpoint, the real culprit regarding mass incarceration and drugs appears to be the federal government which is no surprise since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in the United States. Marijuana legalization and the war on drugs has also been has been one of many causes of political friction in the U.S.
Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Though he's personally against legalization, Cruz has said that that issue should be up to each state.