An historic opportunity to achieve more humane and effective drug policy is at risk.
The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem is an initiative that came from sitting presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. The UN General Assembly endorsed the call for an open, honest and evidence-based debate.
The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will be convening in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such meeting in 18 years.
Since the deliberations began in Vienna in 2015, they have been neither transparent nor inclusive. In other words, closed doors negotiations ensured that crucial priorities were neglected and outdated policies retained.
It is expected that the outcome of the April meeting will not result in meaningful change; however, there is evidence of ways to put people’s health, safety and human rights first. These fundamental aspirations cannot be met without:
Ending the criminalization and incarceration of drug users;
Abolishing capital punishment for drug-related offenses;
Empowering the World Health Organization (WHO) to review the scheduling system of drugs on the basis of scientific evidence;
Ensuring a broad spectrum of treatments for dependent people and services designed to reduce the harms of drugs; and
Allowing governments to apply different approaches to drug regulation in order to maximize public health, and destroy the power of organized crime.
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