“A refreshing shift that could go a long way to finally end the needless criminalization of million of drug users around the world”. Richard Branson, Virgin CEO, also a representative for The Global Commission on Drug Policy stated; with a shimmer of glee when addressing the recent file released by the United Nations (U.N).
The letter from the U.N explored the idea that “the war on drugs” is an act against the freedom of rights and a failure. The document in question is calling for the decriminalisation of drug use and possession for personal consumption so as to be consistent with international drug control conversations, and acknowledging executing such a reform may be required to meet obligations under international human rights law.
Unsurprisingly the document has since been revoked by the U.N due to an array of reasons. However, there were multiple media outlets still capable of redistributing the file, through newspapers, blogs and broadcasting, giving all of us the chance to interrupt and decipher it.
The interesting contradictions amongst the UN agencies sees some already accepting the decriminalisation of drugs as the sole solution and other agencies revoking statements acknowledging such patronage for a change. Are people over reacting to the paper published by the UNODC or is it worth the hype?
Senior Policy Analyst at Drug Policy Think Tank Transform (U.K) Steve Rolles is definitely excited. In a statement to the press, Steve didn’t hesitate to mention the magnitude of what has happened, considering the UNODC is more of a rigid anti-drug agency.
“The adoption of this position by UNODC, a more law-and-order minded agency is kind of the final piece in the UN jigsaw in terms of achieving crosscutting support for decriminalisation across the UN family”.
A true glimmer of hope for the future; a cohesive body of power agreeing on changing a major detrimental aspect of society.
Now, a key player must get involved; a big hitter is needed to conjure up any conceivable global revolutions. America had the capabilities to influence the initiation of the war on drugs, is it possible for it to use the same political and social strengths to theoretically say to the world “It didn’t work, let’s fix this problem the right way, with medical approaches and respect for human rights.”
What a truly free world it would be.
Rick Lines, Director of Harm Reduction International (during a press conference) was extremely excited about the possibility of a solid foundation for the dismissal of criminal association of drugs;
“This is perhaps the biggest news in international drug policy we’ve seen in a long, long time.” Lines was embarrassed that the document in question was later removed from public domain by UNODC. “I honestly can’t speculate as to why UNODC decided at the last minute not to distribute a document that, by its own admission, was planned for public release”.
Regardless of what caused the withdrawal of the UNODC file, it’s a significant move towards a dismissal of a Drug Policy that blatantly has never worked. The primary governing body on Drugs releasing an official statement acknowledging what has happened, what needs to be established and recognition of the atrocities caused by the current legislation is a big step forward.
“The threat of arrest and criminal sanction have been widely shown to obstruct access to lifesaving health services like sterile needles and syringes, opioid substation therapy, naloxone for overdose fuelling HIV and hepatitis C epidemics among people who use drugs, and contributing to preventable deaths from those blood borne viruses and drug overdoses.”
Change is not too far away.