UN drug war
UN drug war

The UN's Drug War Has Been a Complete Failure Says New Report

The IDPC says the war on drugs has been a waste of time and money

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Tuesday Oct 23, 2018

The UN’s Drug War Has Been A Complete Failure Says New Report

A major report from the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has found that the United Nations’ approach to drugs over the last decade has been, well, a complete failure.


The IDPC has long been suggesting a change for the global policy on drugs. It consists of 177 national and international non-government organizations working on various facets of drug abuse and policy. They have been calling for the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs to reevaluate their approach for the next decade.


Their report, entitled Taking Stock: A Decade of Drug Policy, states that the UN’s strategy for shutting down the illegal drug market by 2019 via its war on drugs has barely had an impact on the drug market. Instead, it’s turned out to be harmful for human rights, health, security, and development. It states that drug-related deaths have spiked a shocking 145% in the last 10 years. Additionally, in 2017 there were 71,000 overdose-related fatalities in the United States alone, while at least 3,940 people were killed for drug crimes throughout the globe. It also says that the number of individuals aged 15 to 64 who consumed drugs at least once in 2016 jumped up to 275 million, a sharp 31% increase since 2011. Cannabis was the main drug being consumed; next were opioids and amphetamines.


There’s a special mention of the Philippines, which has made headlines for President Rodrigo Duterte’s iron fist approach in the war against drugs, resulting in 27,000 extrajudicial killings.


“This report is another nail in the coffin for the war on drugs,” says IDPC Executive Director Ann Fordham in a statement. “The fact that governments and the UN do not see fit to properly evaluate the disastrous impact of the last ten years of drug policy is depressingly unsurprising.”


“Governments will meet next March at the UN and will likely rubber-stamp more of the same for the next decade in drug policy. This would be a gross dereliction of duty and a recipe for more blood spilled in the name of drug control.”


The report also says that there are 33 jurisdictions that still impose the death penalty for drug-related offenses because they violate international standards. Last March, POTUS Trump suggested that drug trafficking be considered a capital offense, which is his way of placing a Band-Aid on the US’s troubling opioid epidemic. The report also made a warning about the global pain epidemic which arose due to the limited access on controlled medications, leaving some 75% of the world’s population with no proper access to the pian medications that they need.


Richard Richard of CNN reached out to the UN for comment. Farhan Haq, the UN Secretary-General’s deputy spokesman, responded: “Obviously, there have been significant successes and failures in dealing with the problem of drug trafficking, and we’ve made that clear over the many remarks we’ve made about the drug problem each year,” he told CNN.


“The UN Office on Drugs and Crime is the foremost agency in the United Nations that deals with this issue. They continue to deal with the problem. It’s clear from UNODC’s work that they don’t see the efforts as a failure so much as they see it as something, a task which is incomplete. And ultimately, what they are trying to do and what we will continue to press nations to do is have all countries work together to deal with this problem.”


The report concluded with the IDPC suggesting that the UN rethink their strategy, and it says that member states should be able to come up with more efficient drug policy objectives. “Since governments started collecting data on drugs in the 1990s, the cultivation, consumption and illegal trafficking of drugs have reached record levels,” wrote New Zealand prime minister Helen Clarke in the report’s foreword. “Moreover, current dug policies are a serious obstacle to other social and economic objectives, and the ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in millions of people being murdered, disappeared, or internally displaced.”


According to Steve Rolles, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation’s senior policy analyst: “This report lays out the horrific failure of the global war on drugs in stark terms – on every single indicator the news is dismal.”


“The international drug control system promised a world free of drugs but has delivered the exact opposite – and worse than that, it has created a vast criminal controlled market that makes drugs more dangerous, empowers organized crime, fuels crime, violence and insecurity across the globel, and leads to mass incarceration and human rights abuses.”


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