The tremendous costs of the current drug control regime are by now obvious. The past few decades have seen hundreds of thousands of atrocities committed in the name of the prohibitionist policies - people being kidnapped and disappeared, marginalized, forcefully relocated and killed. Millions more are infected with blood-borne diseases such as HIV and HCV because they don't have access to clean needles or substitution treatment, or suffer unnecessarily because bureaucracies withhold cheap, effective opioid pain medications. Clearly, existing drug control policies are failing.
There is reason to hope, however. Over the past several years, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Catalonia, Bolivia and the Czech Republic have responded to local needs with local innovative drug policy solutions and provided much needed global leadership. In 2015, the global drug policy reform movement has made great strides and expanded the number of reformist voices, including countries of the Global South.
I am hopeful that momentum will continue as we head into the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem in 2016 and well beyond--until there is a consensus for a more sensible global approach.