Militias destroy poppy fields in Myanmar as children watch.
REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
IDPC seeks to ensure that drug policies are better aligned with development objectives, in particular the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Traditionally, drug policies have focused on eradicating the illegal drug market, without due regard to development objectives. This punitive approach has failed to recognise the situations of vulnerability faced by millions of people involved in illegal drug activities, and the role played by the illegal drug trade in offering the jobs, opportunities and safety that the state fails to provide.
Repressive drug policies have instead exacerbated poverty levels in areas of illegal crop cultivation with crop eradication campaigns that have contributed to environmental damage, and fuelled human rights abuses, social unrest and violence.
In urban areas, involvement in activities such as illegal drug selling or transportation is predominantly attributed to poverty, as well as racial, ethnic, class and gender inequalities. Criminalisation and incarceration have only served to exacerbate these inequalities.
IDPC and its members have been at the forefront of the discussion of how to better align drug control with development objectives. The SDGs in particular offer a useful framework to promote access to healthcare, reduce poverty, ensure gender equality, promote access to justice, etc. IDPC has specifically looked at how the SDG indicators could be used to revise the way drug policy success is evaluated at national and international level.