A 130 per cent increase in poppy growing, more than 72,000 deaths by overdose during 2017 in the United States alone (the highest level on record), nearly 4,000 prisoners with death sentences executed worldwide since 2009 for drug-related crimes: these are some of the alarming figures quoted in the International Drug Policy Consortium’s (IDPC) report published last October

21 Jan 2019

The prohibitionist policies pursued by UN member states over the past decade as part of their ‘war on drugs’ have failed to contain the growth of drug trafficking in the world, it reports. They have, it would seem, done exactly the opposite.

“The objective of eliminating drug use on a global scale is not a realistic goal,” says Rebecca Jesseman, director of policy at the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction.

In 2009, UN member states adopted the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, with the aim of eradicating the production, traffic and consumption of illicit substances and the diversion of precursors (chemical products available on the legal market used in the production of illicit substances) and combatting money laundering.

Brazil _drugs

Military police patrol during a special operation against drug traffickers in the Vila Cruzeiro favela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2016.

Far from having the desired effect, the United Nations’ drug strategy has given rise to a series of side effects, such as the emergence, between 2009 and 2017, of more than 800 new psychoactive substances, often sold at low prices as ‘legal stimulants’ and alternatives to existing illicit drugs, such as codeine, which is wreaking havoc in Nigeria, for example.

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