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U.S. Should Seek Bold New Approach on Drugs

The “War on Drugs” has been lost. Not only has it failed to reduce problematic drug use, it has cost more than a trillion dollars over the past few decades, and produced horrific unintended consequences. It has left in its wake a trail of violence, human rights abuse, and infectious disease. […]

Portugal’s Example: What Happened After It Decriminalized All Drugs, From Weed to Heroin

As diplomats gather at the United Nations in New York this week to consider the future of global drug policy, one Portuguese official, João Goulão, will likely command attention that far outstrips his country’s influence in practically any other area. That’s because 16 years ago, Portugal took a leap and decriminalized the possession of all drugs — everything from marijuana to heroin. […]

Countries should put women at the forefront of the UN drug policy debate

Globally, women make up one-third of all drug users, including around 3.8 million women who inject drugs. Women who use drugs are at higher risk than men of acquiring disease, including HIV. These unique challenges are due to biological differences, social and structural vulnerabilities, and decreased economic opportunities.UN drugs summit can change the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged women, their families and their communities. […]

The World Needs a Healthier, Rights-based Approach Towards People Who Use Drugs

There is a unique opportunity to begin to treat people who use drugs with dignity and respect, to provide people who use drugs with equal access to health and social services, to greatly reduce the harms of drug use and to take a step towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. […]

The war on drugs has failed: time to stop fighting and start thinking

Many countries are exploring different policy and programme solutions. These include alternatives to arrest and incarceration for minor drug offences, harm reduction programmes, decriminalisation of drug users and small farmers and increased access to pain medication. […]

A drug-free world is an impossible dream

The vision of a drug-free world has faded. We are instead presented with a nightmare scenario, where a multi-billion dollar black market funds organised crime and terrorist organisations. […]

We Need A Level Playing Field For Illicit Drugs Policy

The recent unofficial disclosure of positive illicit drug tests for some elite football players has thrown up some interesting responses on the use of illicit drugs in sport. However, it has also served to highlight the inherent discrimination and unfairness of our approach to drugs in general, particularly for those that don’t happen to be elite sportspeople — which, of course, is the overwhelming majority of us. […]

Why drug law reform matters for families

Those who would seek to dismiss reform as ‘going soft on drugs’, ask yourself: if it was your family member, wouldn’t you want a system that supports them to make positive change, instead of one that punishes them and leaves them worse off? Less punitive drug law doesn’t mean increased drug use. […]

High on Irrationality: At the UN Drugs Summit, It’s Time to Climb Down

“A Drug-Free World—We can do it!” That’s the slogan that was agreed upon and adopted as the United Nations’ mandate when this body last convened in a major summit in 1998 to discuss global drug policy. Today, there is little question that global drug control has been misguided, overly punitive and largely ineffective, and has steered national drug policies in disastrous directions. […]

Medicinal cannabis legalised in Victoria

Victoria has become the first state in Australia to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis.The legislation enables the manufacture, supply and access to medicinal cannabis products in the state. […]

Canada expected to promote harm reduction at UN drug meeting next week

“Harm reduction is here to stay. Canada’s drug regulation approach is going to grow around the world, as countries start to explore different options.” The government’s support of harm reduction and the legalization of cannabis was made clear last month at the latest Session of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. […]

Regulate, Evaluate, Educate on Cannabis

Crucially, all policy recommendations have to be based on the most robust evidence; this was no place for dogma, unfounded theories or wishful thinking. What the report makes painstakingly clear is that to legalise responsibly, you need to regulate, then reevaluate to see where you’re going wrong and readjust. […]

The old global consensus on the war on drugs is crumbling

The drug war is now the subject of a raucous debate within the U.S., they might sound strangely familiar. The reasons why U.S. citizens are rejecting the war on drugs are, it turns out, also the reasons why it is being rejected all over the world, from the Caribbean to Europe to South America. […]

The overdose crisis is making America finally consider supervised injection facilities

The U.S. has buried its head in the sand for the last couple of decades and ignored health-based strategies to deal with addiction and drug use. Instead we have waged a war on our citizens, filled our prisons with people who have drug problems and watched as hundreds of thousands of people have died from preventable overdose and HIV. […]

Drug experts say Australia’s presence at UN summit a waste of money

The president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak, has questioned Australia’s attendance at a meeting of UN member countries to debate global drugs policy later this month, describing the conference as “the last big international forum before global drug prohibition collapses”. […]

Top Reformers Share Hopes and Disappointments as UNGASS Looms

A high-powered group of reformers ushered in the month of UNGASS—the first special UN drugs summit since 1998—at the Open Society Foundations in New York this morning. They expressed hopes and disappointments about the progress and lack of it surrounding the event.Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, noted the much-improved context of this summit versus the last one, 18 years ago, which adopted the clueless tagline: “A Drug-Free World—We can do it!” […]

Global consensus and dissensus on drug policy

U.N. member states will convene to reassess global drug policies. Some countries, particularly within Latin America and Western Europe, see the existing policies as ineffective and counterproductive. Others, particularly in East Asia and the Middle East (as well as Russia), staunchly support them. As a result of changing domestic policies, including state-level marijuana legalization, the United States is no longer interested in playing the role of the world’s toughest drug cop. […]

The roots of mass incarceration

The prison-industrial complex can be traced back to the school-to-prison pipeline. Our children are punished at alarming rates, setting them up for a bleak future in our revolving-door prison system. […]

Pressure mounts on UN to create positive change at UNGASS

Two new reports, released to mark the beginning of the 59th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna this week, have once again laid bare the harms caused by prohibition and the need to radically change the way we look at drug policy in the build up to UNGASS 2016. […]

A quiet revolution: Drug decriminalisation across the globe

The aim of this report is to inform the public and policymakers alike on the impact of decriminalising drug possession offences, showing that decriminalisation does not lead to increased rates of use while equally demonstrating that law enforcement led approaches have little impact on this metric. […]

NCB President Werner Sipp speaks at CND side event on Portuguese drug policy

At the reconvened 58th CND in Vienna, a number of side events were held on 9th December 2015, including’Public health as a basis for drug policy in Portugal’. The Permanent Representative of Portugal, Pedro Moitinho de Almeida, opened discussions by explaining that the Portuguese policy model is no longer an experiment; instead, it is a success. […]

Doing drugs differently

Does Australia have the courage to changes drug laws in ways that will actually save lives? […]

A regulated cannabis market for the UK

The most comprehensive framework for how a regulated cannabis market could work in the UK has been published by an independent panel of experts set up by the Liberal Democrats. […]

Voluntary drug-testing ‘a priority’ to save lives, say MPs

Pressure is mounting on state governments to allow drug-testing trials of illicit substances at public events after a federal parliamentary group declared they were a “matter of priority”.
On Wednesday, experts from Australia, New Zealand and the US addressed cross-party MPs on the latest strategies for dealing with illicit drugs. The event culminated in a draft declaration, which included support for drug checking (also known as pill testing) and moving away from “failed punitive enforcement”. […]

‘A laughing stock’: doctors to continue pill testing despite threat of arrest

Two doctors planning to test illicit drugs at Sydney music festivals have vowed to continue their campaign despite threats of arrest and condemnation from NSW Premier Mike Baird. Dr David Caldicott, a Canberra-based emergency medicine specialist, said the trial was a common sense precaution and the government’s resistance to pill testing had become “a laughing stock overseas”. […]

Drug decriminalisation helps minimise harm

This week federal parliamentarians will discuss with world experts ways to minimise harm caused by illicit drugs. At a national drug summit, legislators will also be reminded of the sobering reality that Australians consume illegal drugs at concerning levels. […]

Outflanking the war on drugs?

In April, the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will adopt a consensus position on drug control, but few are expecting a shake-up to the current, conservative, global framework.
That’s why some reformers are turning to the Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint for the future. […]

End polarising stand-off and trial pill testing

No one wants another summer of deaths at music festivals. Prominent doctors are convinced that pill testing will make a difference, so convinced they are prepared to break the law to conduct pill-testing trials. […]

Greens leader backs decriminalisation of ice

News Corp reports Federal leader Richard Di Natale and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters will tell a national drug summit that ice addicts should be able to use the drug without facing police action. […]

Kenya: drug users need doctors not policemen

The recent increase in drug use in Kenya, coupled with the rising HIV epidemic among key populations, calls for a critical review of how drug using populations are managed. […]

Dying to dance

If the Government thinks that people are going to stop taking drugs, they’re kidding themselves.” […]

When addiction has a white face

When crack hit America in the mid-1980s, for African-Americans, to borrow from Ta-Nehisi Coates, civilization fell. […]

Why Australia needs drug consumption rooms

While the benefits of incarceration can be difficult to identify, Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre produces larger financial savings than it costs to run. […]