In April, the world will come together at the UN to discuss the future of international drug policy. It will be the first time that far-reaching drug policy reforms are meaningfully discussed at such a high level.

The current enforcement-based, UN-led drug control system is coming under unparalleled scrutiny over its failure to deliver a promised “drug-free world”, and for what the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes as its negative “unintended consequences”. It is unacceptable that despite acknowledging these negative impacts, the UNODC does not include them in its annual World Drug Report, and neither the UN nor its member states have meaningfully assessed whether these unintended consequences outweigh the intended consequences.

The second edition of the Alternative World Drug Report fills this gap by detailing the full range of negative impacts caused by the drug war. It demonstrates that the current approach is creating crime, harming health, and fatally undermining all “three pillars” of the UN’s work – peace and security, development, and human rights.

The stark failure of the current system has meant that alternative drug policy approaches are a growing reality. This report therefore explores a range of options for reform, including decriminalisation and legal regulation, that could deliver better outcomes,.

The global prohibitionist consensus has broken, and cannot be fixed. This Alternative World Drug Report is intended to help policymakers shape what succeeds it.

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