“Execution impossible, decriminalization necessary.” – Global Commission on Drug Policy calls for ending all penalties on people who use drugs

30 November 2016

In a new report, the Commission suggests international drug control policies be changed and penalties for possession and use of small doses of drugs be abolished.

From 2003 till 2014 the number of people aged 15-64 who took illegal drugs over a 12-month period rose by 33%, to 247 million worldwide. Estimates suggest that penalties used by governments lead to 200 thousand of deaths every year. It’s obvious to the experts of the highest international level, members of the Global Commission of Drug Policy that the state punitive measures are harmful to people and the society as a whole. During its 140-year history, the prohibition policy hasn’t worked, led to multiple human rights violations – from capital punishment and reprisals to torture, police violence and forced treatment of drug addiction and the so-called “global HIV and Hepatitis C pandemic”. Former UN Secretary general Kofi Annan expressed a very strong view of the issue: “I believe that the drugs have destroyed many lives but wrong government policies have destroyed many more.”

A number of countries have decriminalized possession and/or use of drugs, and it has proved beneficial for those countries’ social welfare and economy. However, there is a growing need for global reforms for harm reduction at the national and regional levels around the world and the abolition of the existing penalties.

In its report, the Global Commission urges to get rid of prejudice against people who use drugs. They should be treated as equal and responsible members of society who possess full rights and human dignity.

“I wish our governments would listen to the Global Commission on Drug Policy!  In recent years governments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been increasingly tightening drug policy, basing it on populism rather than the economic needs and the value of human life. Currently EHRN members are carrying out an advocacy campaign in the region to introduce alternatives to imprisonment, and to decriminalize consumption and possession of drugs. Such a clear message from key international experts in drug policy is an excellent starting point to have a serious conversation with politicians. "- says Anna Dovbakh, the head of the EHRN Secretariat.

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