Rupert George, TalkingDrugs

The primary producers and consumers of illicit drugs – drug users and farmers of opium, coca and cannabis – are often some of the most marginalised groups in our societies. This is true in both high and low income countries, although the alleviation of poverty is at the heart of what the Millennium Development Goals were set out to achieve.

Crop eradication affects some of the poorest rural communities in Asia and Latin America and reinforces cycles of poverty and violence. This damages the relationships between farmers’ communities and the government, making interventions to support their economic and social development more difficult.

The criminalisation of people who use drugs limits access to harm reduction and treatment and ties up resources that could be better directed at health and social services and education and law enforcement activities aimed at the more powerful actors in the drug trade. The criminalisation of drug using mothers during pregnancy is particularly pernicious and impacts negatively on their health and that of their children, who can face limited access to education, good nutrition and a stable family life.

The third edition of the IDPC Magazine, produced in collaboration with Talking Drugs, focuses on each Millennium Development Goal to illustrate, through testimonies and lived experiences, the severe negative consequences of drug control on development efforts both in developing and developed countries. In this Magazine, we conclude that drug policy choices can make a significant difference on the development agenda at the national, regional and international level.

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