Themes

Decriminalisation

Decriminalisation

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.

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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 exacer

bates 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:

Resources

Drug Decriminalisation [e]Course

Drug Decriminalisation [e]Course

Developed by IDPC in partnership with Mainline, Health[e]Foundation and Frontline AIDS, this free, easy-to-use, online course will support and equip partners worldwide to advocate for the end of criminalising approaches to drug use and personal possession.

Decriminalisation of people who use drugs: A guide for advocacy

Decriminalisation of people who use drugs: A guide for advocacy

Decriminalisation of people who use drugs: A guide for advocacy is a user-friendly resource for people from all sectors who wish to understand the key concepts relating to decriminalisation of drug use and how to advocate for it. Through three stages – Know it, Show it, Grow it – it outlines practical steps for developing strategies to advocate for decriminalisation.

Drug decriminalisation across the world

Drug decriminalisation across the world

Drug decriminalisation across the world is an interactive map on existing models of decriminalisation, offering insights into the laws behind them, their implementation and impact. This tool was developed by IDPC in partnership with Release, TalkingDrugs and Accountability International.

Decriminalisation comparison tool

Decriminalisation comparison tool

This web-tool allows you to compare the decision-making processes behind different models of decriminalisation, including in relation to the way these frameworks are codified by law, the different public authorities involved and key outcomes.

Support. Don't Punish

Support. Don't Punish

Since its inception, in 2013, the Support. Don’t Punish campaign has resourced people power in over 100 countries worldwide to build sustainable alternatives to the ‘war on drugs’ with decriminalisation and harm reduction at their heart. Campaigners mobilise to open spaces of dialogue and accountability with decision-makers, raise awareness, and change narratives and laws for the benefit of our communities.

By discouraging people who use drugs from engaging with health systems, criminalisation and stigmatisation - as well as racism, which compounds drug-related discrimination - contribute to negative health outcomes for individuals and communities that extend far beyond the drugs themselves.
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, 2020