Rebalancing the legal- and health-based responses to the growing global crisis of illicit drugs
The 30th UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS, April 2016) will review progress in implementing the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. 3-5 Starting 2019, Member States will review the results of the Plan and discuss further measures.
These are major opportunities for reflection on the global response, in the face of growing worldwide recognition 6 that, as expressed by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) 7, the “global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world”. Emphasis on harsh law enforcement of drug policy “has not accomplished its goal of banishing drugs and has in fact spawned wide, dramatic eruptions of violence”. Major recommendations of the GCDP were: (1) prioritise health in drug policies; and (2) give high priority to ensuring access to essential medicines for palliative care, pain relief and treatment of addiction. Political leaders and citizens are now being urged to rebalance the global response to drug crimes with concerns for individual and public health. The global health community has an important role to play and an early, substantive engagement of the Geneva-based global health actors is critical for the direction the debates will take in UNGASS 2016 and beyond.
To contribute to these debates, the Global Health Programme (GHP) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS), Geneva held a public Policy Dialogue on 17 November 2014 aiming to help the technical, professional and diplomatic communities in Geneva to explore options for policy makers.
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