IHRA, Open Society Institute and Human Rights Watch - Briefs on human rights and drug policy

20 April 2010

Coinciding with the 2010 UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the International Harm Reduction Association, the Open Society Institute and Human Rights Watch, created a series of fact sheets on the human rights implications of anti-drug policies and practices.

These briefings address serious human rights abuses that result from drug control efforts, including torture and ill treatment by police, mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and denial of essential medicines and basic health services.

Click on the following links to read the fact sheets, which provide an overview on six topic areas:

  • Harm Reduction
  • Drugs, Criminal Laws, and Policing Practices
  • Harm Reduction in Places of Detention
  • Compulsory Drug Treatment
  • Controlled Essential Medicines
  • Crop Eradication

The briefings outline how drug control policies and related enforcement practices often entrench and exacerbate systematic discrimination against people who use drugs – driving people with serious health needs further underground. In addition, people who experience chronic pain or who are living with debilitating illnesses are unable to get essential medicines such as morphine because of excessive restrictions put in place to control opiate drugs.