Drug use prevalence is stable around the world, according to the 2014 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with around 243 million individuals, or 5 per cent of the world’s population aged 15-64 having used an illicit drug in 2012. Problem drug users meanwhile numbered about 27 million, roughly 0.6 per cent of the world’s adult population, or 1 in every 200 people. Read more
The International Alliance of HIV / AIDS, the International Network of People who use Drugs(INPUD) , The International Harm Reduction and the International Drug Policy Consortium started the International Campaign to raise awareness of the harms that are being caused by the criminalisation of people who use drugs. The campaign is part of the “Community Action on Harm Reduction” (CAHR) project.The campaign has various different aspects – including:
- An independent campaign brand
- A dedicated microsite – www.supportdontpunish.org
- A sign-on facility for people to show their support via the campaign website – through email, Facebook and Twitter
- A Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Dont-Punish/135052193345584?fref=ts)
- An interactive photo project, whereby people can download the campaign poster and submit a photo of themselves supporting the campaign, which will be featured on the website: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.135092913341512.1073741826.135052193345584&type=1
- A series of advocacy videos by a wide range of partners linked to the campaign theme: see, for example, http://www.youthrise.org/support-dont-punish
- A series of well-designed, high-impact “info-graphics” for use on social media etc; and
- An international ‘day of action’ on June 26th
The Association Diogenis supports the campaign and calls on organisations and individuals from the South East European Region to sign.
You can see the complete statement here.
In the report of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime “Making drug control ‘fit for purpose’ of 2008 it has been stated that:“There is indeed a spirit of reform in the air, to make the conventions fit for purpose and adapt them to a reality on the ground that is considerably different from the time they were drafted. With the multilateral machinery to adapt the conventions already available, all we need is:first, a renewed commitment to the principles of multilateralism and shared responsibility; secondly, a commitment to base our reform on empirical evidence and not on ideology; and thirdly, to put in place concrete actions that support the above, going beyond mere rhetoric and pronouncement.”
We see that indeed in several parts of the world this spirit of reform takes concrete forms in exchange of ideas for alternatives to the current drug control system and the adoption of new legislation. European and Latin American countries, Canada and Australia as well as several states in the USA, are already introducing new legislation in the spirit of the “fit for purpose” approach. A short overview of some new initiatives.
You can see more, here.
In June 2012 the government of Uruguay presented measures it wishes to implement in the areas of security and the improvement of the daily life of its citizens. The Ministries of Defence, Interior and Social Welfare and Development publicised the proposals in a memorandum with the title “Strategy for life and living together”. Some of the suggested measures must be discussed and approved by the National Parliament as they concern adjustments to legislation, other suggestions will constitute matters of public dialogue with civil society, the unions and Non-governmental Organisations. Measures for an integrated political approach towards the problem of drugs are included among the recommended measures. The government recommends legislation on the regulation and control of the production and availability of cannabis products and the promotion of international dialogue on combatting trafficking and drug use.
If the governmental proposals of Uruguay are adopted by Parliament, Uruguay will be the first country in the world to legally regulate the production and availability of cannabis. Up until now there have been cases of governmental proposals for legislative changes (such as in The Netherlands and Canada) which have not been implemented by governments for political reasons. (The same happened recently in Greece when the majority of the members of parliament were in favour of adopting the bill on the Drugs Code, but the coalition government did not table the bill to the Plenary for political reasons). The case of Uruguay has possibly a better chance of success as the government which has proposed the bill has an absolute majority in Parliament. For this reason international pressure is especially strong, since a positive outcome to this undertaking will set a precedent that will surely be followed by other countries.
You can read more here.