Ukrainian activists demonstrate against the criminalisation of people who use drugs, sex workers and people living with HIV as part of the 2019 Support. Don't Punish Global Day of Action.
Criminalisation fuels stigma, syphons resources away from life-saving services, and creates severe and long-lasting obstacles to health and well-being. Instead, IDPC advocates for decriminalisation, an essential framework to develop balanced and health-oriented approaches to drugs.
Criminalisation exacerbates inequalities, racial and social injustice, and drug-related harm. In many parts of the world, drug laws are part of the damaging legacy of colonialism, driving incarceration, widening the criminal legal system’s net, and worsening public health and welfare outcomes such as HIV and hepatitis infections, and drug-related deaths.
Over 30 countries around the world have adopted legal reforms to remove the criminalisation of certain activities related to drug use. The UN System Common Position on Drugs also reinforces multilateral support for this approach.
IDPC is committed to reducing the harmful impacts of criminalisation on people who use drugs and other populations disproportionately targeted by punitive drug policies, including through building momentum towards the ‘gold standard’ of decriminalisation: the removal of all forms of punishment for activities related to drug use. For more information on this 'gold standard', watch the video below: