Climate justice & drug policy

Still from Health Poverty Action's 'Global drug policy is a barrier to climate justice', accessible at:


Climate justice & drug policy

9 August 2022

Global drug policy is denying climate justice

The so called ‘war on drugs’ is not only destroying our planet through harmful attempts to eradicate illicit drugs – it is a barrier to climate mitigation and adaptation strategies in the very places they are needed most.

To find out more, watch this film we created with partners from around the world.

The majority of the multi-billion dollar profits from the illicit drugs trade are held by organized crime groups. These powerful, entrenched state and non-state actors are corrupting and rendering entire governments dysfunctional.

Many of the countries most weakened by the illicit drugs trade are those who host ecosystems that have the greatest potential for capturing carbon. These forests follow the same equatorial line of the main producing and trafficking routes of the illicit drugs trade.

The ability of these governments to act on climate mitigation strategies, such as protect and restore forests, and deliver climate resilient development are undermined because they do not control these jurisdictions. Drug cartels do. Through violence, bribery and corruption these groups infiltrate and manipulate governments to ensure their profits are protected.

We urgently need to legally regulate the illicit drugs trade, to prevent ecological harms of the trade and to take the power away from organised crime, so that the trade does not continue to intensify the climate crisis.

In the Amazon right now every day counts.

We need to accept that this trade will never go away, and instead regulate it in a way that works for people and the planet – not against.

Health Poverty Action is committed to campaigning on the root causes of poverty and inequality and removing the barriers to the health of people and the planet.

To read more about this see this article