By Cross-party parliamentary Drug Policy Reform Group (DPRG) 

The cross-party parliamentary Drug Policy Reform Group (DPRG) has welcomed a report compiled by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) that criticises the lack of progress made by the United Nations in the implementation of its 10 year strategy to tackle drug trafficking and consumption around the world.

The report finds that, despite loud declarations made by the international community in 2009 – to eliminate or significantly reduce illegal drug production, trafficking and use – the past ten years has seen big rises in the scale of illegal markets, and the harms that they cause to individuals and communities. Examples include a 130% increase in cultivation of the opium poppy, and a 34% increase of coca bush cultivation; a global 31% increase in the number of users of illegal drugs; and a 145% increase in drug related deaths.

Ministers from all national governments are meeting in Vienna next March to review global drug policy. However, growing awareness of the failure to make any progress has led to an unwillingness of the United Nations itself to publish any results against the targets set in 2009. The report from the IDPC does their job for them, and makes for distinctly uncomfortable reading.

Co-Chair of the Drug Policy Reform Group, Baroness Molly Meacher, said: ‘We have to commend IDPC for their excellent research casting light on the monumental failure of the international drug control system to meet its own objectives.

Many countries are now recognising that new approaches are necessary, and we call on Ministers to use the formal review meeting to signal an end to the failed and counterproductive war on drugs, and focus on policies that protect the health, welfare and human rights of their citizens’.