A high-level UN meeting on international drug policy came to a close last week with doctors lamenting the lack of progress on health issues.

2 Apr 2014

Chris Ford, founder and clinical director of the non-governmental organisation International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies (IDHDP), told The Lancet: “The statement was meant to be a new consensus [between UN member states] but sadly it was rubbish and showed that lots of work still needs to be done.”

Ford says: “We know the global war on drugs has failed and this has had devastating consequences for individuals and communities around the world. Large amounts of money have been spent on criminalisation and repressive measures have failed to curtail supply or consumption.”

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 Opinion among the medical community on legalisation of drugs is divided. But Sebastian Saville, executive director of IDHDP, told The Lancet during the CND conference, regardless of what individual doctors may think of that issue, what members of his organisation are agreed on is that global drug policy needs to be reformed with a health-based approach adopted at its heart.

 The IDHDP, which is gaining new members every day and hopes to have 5000 by 2016, believes that a change in global drugs policy can be effected if enough medical professionals speak up. “Doctors and medical professionals are often well-respected and trusted in society and their opinions hold a certain degree of weight, both among people and policy makers”, said Saville.

 “If they, the people who deal with the effects of drug use at a practical, clinical level, speak out with a strong voice, it will be more difficult for drugs policy makers to not take notice of the evidence showing that a health-based approach to drugs problems is more effective than current drug policies.”  Read full article here

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