On March 4, 2020, during this year’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, “Rome Consensus 2.0” was presented. In 2005, the leaders of 121 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the world agreed the Rome Consensus for a Humanitarian Drug Policy, which articulated principles for humane and effective drug policies that prioritize individual and public health.
The Rome Consensus 2.0 declaration seeks to build upon the first Consensus – broadening it out for new signatories from around the world, and providing a blueprint for policy and best practices for the coming decade.
The international community has made numerous commitments and declarations on how it will respond to drugs, but still lacks a robust and accountable system to ensure their implementation. Professional bodies, civil society and affected communities all have a pivotal role to play in the response to drugs. Success will only be achieved if we advocate at all levels to ensure more investments and public awareness to implement more humane and effective drug policies.
Working together, we can reduce and overcome the avoidable and unacceptable health and social harms associated with the world drug situation. We, our governments and our allies already have at our fingertips the tools, guidance and evidence we need to conquer these challenges. These include, inter alia, the normative guidance from the United Nations system on prevention,9 treatment,10 harm reduction,11 overdose management,12 deflection from arrest,13 human rights14 and ensuring access to medicines
Download and read the full document here
From 14-22 March, the annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is organized in Vienna, this year focusing on the assessment of the UN’s 10-year program on drug policy (2009-2019) and the debate on whether or not to adopt a new declaration for the next decade. This session will also decide whether to approve or not the changes proposed by the World Health Organization regarding the legal status of cannabis.
As UN member states are currently negotiating the declaration to be adopted at the 2019 UN Ministerial Segment on drugs, the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) -in which organization Diogenis participates as a member – wishes to offer the following recommendations to the EU and its member states, with the hope that these will be helpful for the next stage of the negotiations process.
More specifically, the CSFD calls “on the EU and its member states to continue to champion the fundamental principles of evidence, human rights, health, development, and the role of civil society throughout the negotiations process – and to continue to promote UNGASS implementation and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the basis for the post-2019 global drug strategy. As such, the CSFD believes that it would be counterproductive to adopt a resolution that significantly rolls back on progress made at the 2016 UNGASS. This means that, as the negotiations continue in the next few weeks, a decision might need to be made as to whether no consensus – and no declaration in March – is preferable to a weak outcome that would reverse the hard-fought gains of the UNGASS. That being said, we remain at your disposal for further discussions, or requests for specific language that would be helpful to the negotiations”
Read the full document here
The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) presented today the report “Taking stock: A decade of drug policy – A civil society shadow report” in Vienna today. The findings are a response from the International Consortium, a network of 174 non-governmental organizations around the world, in the failure of governments and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to substantially evaluate the ten-year program they adopted in 2009. Member states of the UN declared in 2009 that they “will eliminate or substantially reduce and reduce measurably illicit drug supply and demand, trafficking, diversion of precursors and money laundering.” The report finds that UN Member States are still pursuing a policy that causes devastating effects on health, human rights, security and development, without reducing global supply and use of illicit drugs.
According to UNODC’s annual reports on drugs, over the past decade there has been an increase of 145% of drug-related deaths, noting that in 2015 drug deaths already amounted to 450,000
• At least 3,940 people have been executed for drug offenses over the past decade, while 33 countries have maintained the death penalty for drug-related offenses in violation of international standards.
• About 27,000 out-of-court executions took place in the Philippines as part of its repressive drug policy.
• More than 71,000 overdose deaths in 2017 are the current policy review in the United States of America.
• The global epidemic of pain resulting from restrictions on access to controlled medicines remains. The drug control system has left 75% of the world’s population without adequate access to pain relief.
• Mass imprisonment fueled by the criminalization of people using drugs – with one in five detainees being in prison for drug offenses – mainly for personal use. ”
The 61st session of the UN Commission on Drugs, in which Diogenes participates as a consutative NGO on the UN ECOSOC Council, is taking place in Vienna from 12 to 16 March. Today, March 15, during the Session, a discussion is held on the results of the WHO and the UNODC joint work on new “international standards for the treatment of drug use disorders”.
“Diogenis” a few days ago, together with 187 other organizations active in the field of psychoactive substances treatment, harm reduction and politics, co-signed an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), calling for a revision of the final text before it is published and/or promoted internationally, indicating the following:
- The paper contains many assertions not supported evidentiarily or cited.
- The phrase ‘harm reduction’ is entirely missing from the document.
- The paper contains crude generalisations and many stigmatising and pathologising assertions.
- Notably, the paper contains numerous implications that people who use drugs and have drug dependencies are dangerous; cannot exercise agency and self-determination; are sick; are unreliable; are bad family members; are bad employees. Needless to say, such crude generalisations are deeply stigmatising and offensive, not to mention unempirical.
- The paper fails to identify criminalisation and prohibition as being responsible for driving much drug related harm and harm associated with drug dependency; instead, it myopically asserts that because drugs are harmful, they are criminalised, without noting that it is due to the fact that they are criminalised that they are so harmful.
- The paper’s active promotion Naltrexone is very concerning, given its lack of evidentiary support: Naltrexone is promoted in the document as of equal value to interventions that are (in contrast to Naltrexone) empirically justified and greatly beneficial; this is arguably used to eclipse interventions with proven efficacy, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and diamorphine/morphine prescribing, due to the document’s clear advocation of abstinence-based recovery.
You can read the signed letter of civil society organizations here.
The final conference of project LADDER was held in Strasbourg on 21-22 November 2017, and constituted a key opportunity to create new bonds and strengthen existing partnerships for the localisation of SDGs in the next years.
The conference marked three years of joint work within an extremely ambitious project, co-funded by the European Union and led by ALDA, gathering 27 partners and 19 associates from 19 EU and 17 non EU-countries. The unanimous commitment to continue the great work done so far in the field of development education is a great satisfaction for all of us, as well as the sign of LADDER’s sustainability. Read more