Drug policies have traditionally sought to suppress supply and deter use through the application of punitive laws. Today, there is a growing recognition that these drug policies have not only failed to reach their objectives but have resulted in a great deal of collateral damage. Drug policy must be reformed to focus on health, human rights and development objectives, with the aim of making the market less harmful rather than necessarily reducing its size.
Based on Trump’s cabinet and law-and-order rhetoric, the incoming American administration seems poised to look backwards to a time when violence reigned and countless Latin American lives were thrown away for the pipe dream of a “drug-free world”.
The war on drugs has devastating human and economic costs, fuels macroeconomic illicit markets, and has not suppressed illicit demand for controlled substances, time has come for a new approach to drug policy.
The new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, pushed for decriminalisation of use of all drugs for personal consumption when he was Prime Minister of Portugal. Could he introduce his comprehensive strategy to reduce drug-related harm on the international stage?