Drug Policy Reform: Related websites and documents

17 November 2005

Useful web resources on drug policy reform

 


Drug Policy Reform Organisations

General

  • DrugText
    Drugtext, the site of the International Foundation for Drug Policy and Human Rights, houses various government documents, court decisions, laws, statistics, graphs, links to drug policy and human rights organisations, and articles written by Europeans, Americans and Australians. It also contains extensive information regarding Dutch drug policy.
    Language: English, French, German, Dutch and Portuguese
  • International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    The IHRA is an international association concerned with the development of drug policies to reduce the harmful consequences of drug use and current drug policies. IHRA publishes the International Journal of Drug Policy.
    Language: English
  • International Coalition of NGO's for Just and Effective Drugs Policy (ICN)
    ICN is committed to reform of International Drug Control. ICN was created as an effort to present a coalition of citizens at the United Nations' General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in June 1998 (UNGASS 1998). On that occasion, a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drugs Policy was presented. Since then ICN formulated, in five languages a document containing basic Guidelines for Alternative Drugs Policy in the 21st century [PDF document].
    See also: Vienna 2003: A Chance for the World
    Website of the International Coalition of NGO's for a Just and Effective Drug Policy (ICN) on the UNGASS Midterm Review. Another drug policy is possible.
    Language: English and Spanish
  • Senlis Council Drug Policy Advisory Forum
    The use of licit and illicit drugs is a harmful societal reality with potential negative impact on individuals and communities and needs to be tackled in a more realistic, dynamic way. Policies based solely on criminal sanctions have failed to demonstrate effectiveness: economic corruption increases, organized crime prospers and developing economies are hard hit by military and environmental (crop eradication) interventions. At the same time the marginalisation of drug-users is compounded. It is now widely recognized that an effective international drugs policy should be based on the minimization of harm both to individuals and to the community at large.
    Language: English

North America

  • Canada: Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
    The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy (CFDP) is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by several of Canada's leading specialists in drug policy. Canadian advocates of drug policy reform had long recognized the need for an independent body to address drug policy issues. Here you will find some of the major press releases and statements they have made about drug policy issues.
    Language: English
  • Canada: Canadian Media Awareness Project
    Canadian news clippings and Canadian links.
    Language: English
  • United States: Drug Policy Alliance
    The Drug Policy Alliance is working to broaden the public debate on drug policy and to promote realistic alternatives to the war on drugs based on science, compassion, public health and human rights. The Alliance was formerly known as The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation. The Lindesmith Center, created in 1994, was an independent drug policy reform institute in the United States. The Drug Policy Foundation, founded in 1987, represented over 25,000 supporters and was the principal membership-based organization advocating for more sensible and humane drug policies. The two organizations merged on July 1, 2000 with the objective of building a national drug policy reform movement. The guiding principle of the Alliance is harm reduction, an alternative approach to drug policy and treatment that focuses on minimizing the adverse effects of both drug use and drug prohibition.
    The site has an Online Library.
    Language: English
  • United States: DRCNet: The Drug Reform Coordination Network
    The Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) is the communications hub of the drug policy reform movement, hosting email discussion groups, producing a newsletter, and coordinating reform efforts. The Druglibrary is the largest on-line library on issues relating to all aspects of drug policy. Druglibrary indexes the sites of several major Internet Information resources.
    Language: English
  • United States: Drug Sense
    DrugSense and the Media Awareness Project (MAP) exist to provide accurate information relevant to drug policy in order to heighten awareness of the extreme damage being caused by the current flawed and failed "War on Drugs." This site aims to inform the public of the existence of rational alternatives to the drug war, and to help organize citizens to bring about needed reforms. It maintains a growing, easily searched, database of current news and opinion articles as a research and educational tool. Drug Sense maintains the Drug War Clock: updated data on money spent on the War on Drugs, people arrested for Drug Law Offenses, etc.
    Language: English
  • United States: Common Sense for Drug Policy
    Common Sense for Drug Policy is a non-profit organisation dedicated to expanding discussion on drug policy by resonating the voices of those raising questions about existing law and educating the public about alternatives to current policies. They provide advice and technical assistance to individuals and organisations working to reform current policies. They facilitate coalition-building among like-minded groups and educate the public by disseminating research, hosting public forums and informing members of the media.
    Language: English
  • United States: Drug War Facts
    Updated regularly, Drug War Facts provides reliable information with credible citations on important criminal justice and public health issues. Facts with the body of the relevant citations are carefully compiled and then scrutinized as to accuracy before being posted.
    Language: English
  • United States: National Drug Strategy Network
    Look for the link to News Briefs. This site provides complete citations to news stories, journal articles, research, legislation and regulations on drugs.
    Language: English

Europe

  • Germany: Die Cannabiskampagne
    Seite von akzept e.V. (Bundesverband für akzeptierende Drogenarbeit und humane Drogenpolitik) für einer Cannabisreformpolitik.
    Language: German
  • Germany: Cannabis Legal
    The most comprehensive German language cannabis reform related website available. The site contains a large library of scientific studies, political statements, media reports, debate manuals, facts and figures.
    Das Cannabisverbot funktioniert nicht: 3 Millionen Deutsche verwenden Cannabis, prozentual nicht weniger als in den Niederlanden, wo es seit 26 Jahren toleriert wird. Internationale wissenschaftliche Studien zeigen, dass Repression nicht funktioniert. Das Verbot verhindert keine Probleme sondern schafft nur zusätzliche Probleme!
    Language: German
  • Italy: Fuoriluogo
    Il sito fuoriluogo.it un portale sulle droghe che, col tempo, possa rispondere alle curiosità di quanti sono interessati a informazioni e dibattito, notizie e confronti con le esperienze di altri paesi.
    Language: Italian and English version
  • Spain: Asociación de Estudios sobre el Cannabis (ARSEC)
    ARSEC es una organización no gubernamental que tiene por objetivo el estudio e investigación de todas las cuestiones relacionadas con el cáñamo o marihuana y sus derivados. Nos interesa conocer una planta que ha sido usada provechosamente por la Humanidad durante miles de años y que hoy en día se encuentra injustamente criminalizada.
    Language: Spanish
  • Spain: Cañamo
    La revista de la cultura del cannabis.
    Language: Spanish
  • Spain: Grupo Igia
    Grup Igia se propone generar desde un contexto asociativo de carácter interdisciplinar espacios de encuentro e instrumentos para la reflexión y el debate en torno a los diversos aspectos relacionados con el fenómeno de las drogodependencias.
    Language: Spanish, english
  • French and English

  • Switzerland: DroLeg
    Information about the background, the goals and the chances of the Swiss peoples initiative for a reasonable drug policy, which has been approved by the Swiss people on November 29, 1998.
    Language: German, English, French, Italian
  • United Kingdom: Transform
    Transform, based in the UK, is campaigning for a truly effective drug policy based on humanity, common sense and honest information, instead of propaganda, punishment and fear: "Join others across the country campaigning for a safer, fairer future. What justification can there be for maintaining a drug policy that channels billions to organised crime, maximises the harm drugs cause, creates crime, denies our rights and has been a complete failure? It's time for a change."
    Language: English
  • United Kingdom: Forward Thinking on Drugs
    A review of UN progress in combatting the global drug problem. Forward Thinking on Drugs was commissioned to bring together the evidence base to create a critical dialogue, and to give UN delegates to the April 2003 mid-term review meeting of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) a clear and rigorous summary of the state of knowledge on the drug issue to date.
    Language: English
  • United Kingdom: Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Drug Legalisation Project.
    Since the 1980s, drug policy in England and Wales has trailed the American model of the ‘war against drugs'. However, successive inquiries, committees and senior figures have challenged the wisdom of an approach which relies heavily on the criminalisation of drug users, which in turn can have damaging consequences for individuals and society as a whole. We cannot pursue a rational debate about the right way forward for drugs policy without fully understanding the different options for reform. There is a particular gap in research and public policy on how legalisation would work in practice and what its implications might be. IPPR's project aims to fill this gap. IPPR is an independent think tank on the centre left.
    Language: English

Drug Policy Reform Debate

The wisdom of the UN Drug Conventions is increasingly being questioned. In some countries NGO's and parliamentary commissions held inquiries on the reform of national drug policies that also touch on reform of the UN Drug Conventions:

  • Senlis Council: The UN Drug Conventions Regime and Policy Reform
    Draft Legal Opinion to the Senlis Council by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, by Mads Andenas & David Spivack
  • United Kingdom House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: The Governments Drugs Policy: Is It Working?.
    The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee report was published in May 2002. The report concluded that modifications in UK drug policy towards a more lenient approach "... could be implemented without breaching the treaties or requiring their renegotiation. In the long term, however, we believe the time has come for the international treaties to be reconsidered. We recommend that the Government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways -including the possibility of legalisation and regulation-to tackle the global drugs dilemma."
    In July 2002, the UK Government decided to reclassify cannabis to a Class C drug. The decision was based on scientific advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, following their detailed scrutiny of all the available scientific and research material. See: The classification of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 [PDF document]
  • Cultivation of cannabis - Harm reduction in the market place by Mike Hough, Director of the Criminal Policy Research Unit, South Bank University, London
  • Canada: Senate Special Special Committee on Illegal Drugs.
    The Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs released its final report on cannabis in September 2002. In an exhaustive and comprehensive two-year study of public policy related to marijuana, the Special Committee found that the drug should be legalized. The 600 plus page Senate report is a result of rigorous research, analysis and extensive public hearings in Ottawa and communities throughout Canada with experts and citizens. The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada should inform the appropriate United Nations authorities that Canada is requesting an amendment to the conventions and treaties governing illegal drugs.
    Reports of the Committee.
    Direct link to the Summary of the report [PDF document].
    See also the documentation: Committee Research Papers
  • Canada: House of Commons Special Committee on Non-medical Use of Drugs
    In December 2002, the committee released its final report A Policy for the New Millennium: Working Together to Redefine Canada's Drug Strategy. The report calls for safe injection sites, pilot heroin maintenance programs, decriminalization of cannabis, among other reforms
  • Jamaica: Report of the National Commission on Ganja.
    The National Commission of Ganja, pursuant to its terms of reference and after a period of exhaustive consultation and inquiry from November 2000 to July 2001, involving some four hundred persons from all walks of life, including professional and influential leaders of society, is recommending the decriminalisation of ganja for personal, private use by adults and for use as a sacrament for religious purposes
  • Switzerland: Cannabis Report of the Swiss Federal Commission For Drug Issues [PDF document]
    A report of the Swiss Federal Commission for Drug Issues, May 1999: "Following detailed consideration of the different options, the Federal Commission unanimously recommends the elaboration of a model which not only removes the prohibition of consumption and possession but also makes it possible for cannabis to be purchased lawfully. The model should not be one of free availability but instead should include clear provisions for the protection of the young and the prevention of all the potential adverse consequences of legalization."
    The Swiss Drug Policy Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
  • Der Schweiz: Der Besitz, Erwerb und Anbau von Cannabis sind in der Schweiz noch nicht legal. Im Gegensatz zu Deutschland und Österreich ist sogar der Konsum eine Straftat. All dies soll sich jedoch ändern, wenn es nach dem Willen des Bundesrats (der Schweizer Bundesregierung) geht. Näheres dazu können Sie nachlesen: Cannabis in der Schweiz
  • Die politische Entwicklung und derzeitige Situation in der Schweiz Micha L. Rieser, 28.06.2002
  • Revision Betäubungsmittelgesetz (BetmG), Bundesambt für Gesundheit

In the Media

  • Guardian Unlimited (UK): Special Report: Drugs in Britain
    Website in The Guardian Unlimited covering the drugs debate in UK and other drugs-related issues
  • BBC (UK):  The Drugs Debate
    The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee published its report The Governments Drugs Policy: Is It Working? in May 2002. The report concluded that modifications in UK drug policy towards a more lenient approach were needed. The BBC followed the debate
  • The Observer (UK): Special Report: Drugs Uncovered
    Should the government rethink the drugs laws? Or would liberalisation be a dangerous mistake? This special report contains a selection of the best of The Observer's ground-breaking coverage of the changing drugs debate in Britain
  • The Economist (UK): Articles on Illegal Drugs
    The international pressure to keep drugs illegal April 3, 2003. An article on the UNGASS Mid-term review
    See also the comment: Breaking convention - Time to think again about the rules of engagement in the war on drugs.
    Backgrounder: Illegal drugs September 6, 2002.
    With retail sales of around $150 billion, the trade in illegal drugs is in the same league as consumer spending on legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol. Yet the resulting drugs war is being waged (and lost) at perhaps an even greater cost. Not only are lives lost, but corruption and misguided drugs policies are encroaching on civil liberties. Legalising the possession of and trade in drugs would probably increase the number of users. But it might also reduce crime and poverty, and solve many other problems.
    Survey: Illegal drugs July 28, 2002.
    Moral outrage has proved a bad basis for policy on illegal drugs. Time for governments to go back to first principles

Documents

 

Recent publications from Drugs and Democracy

Drugs, armed conflict and peace

This policy briefing analyses the results of the partial agreement on drugs reached at the talks being held in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the Colombian government.

Scheduling in the international drug control system

Scheduling is mostly priotised in it's repressive pole, though present debates are increasingly highlighting the need to modify the balance of the system in order to affirm the importance of the principle of health.

Bouncing Back

TNI's indepth examination of the illegal drug market in the Golden Triangle, which has a witnessed a doubling of opium production, growing prison populations and repression of small-scale farmers. This report details the failure of ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy and the need for a new approach.

Cocaine: towards a self-regulation model

By taking cues from users’ self-regulation strategies, it is possible to design innovative operational models for drug services as well as drug policies, strengthening Harm Reduction as an alternative approach to the disease model.