Drugs & Democracy Works on
4 July 2012
Drugs & Democracy works on a range of subjects and issues.
Drugs & Democracy works on a range of subjects and issues. The main issues can be summarised in the following area's:
- Aerial Interdiction/ Spraying of drug crops
- Alternative Development
Alternative Development programmes, aimed at encouraging peasants to switch from growing illicit drugs-related crops, play an important role in UN drug control strategies. The record of success, however, is a questionable one. Decades of efforts to reduce global drug supply, using a combination of developmental and repressive means, managed to shift production from one country to another, but have failed in terms of global impact. TNI argues for de-linking alternative development from the threat of forced eradication and law enforcement and guaranteeing peasants the support required for a sustainable alternative future.
- Cannabis (Marihuana)
- Drugs Supply Reduction
- Harm Reduction
- Human Rights
- Proportionality of Sentences
- Reclassification of Substances
A more refined distinction is required to define appropriate drug control measures according to the specific characteristics of drug substances, their health risks, the dynamics of their markets and their user groups. The existing classification schedules for drugs from the UN 1961 and 1971 Conventions do not provide sufficient differentiation. The consideration of such diverse substances as coca, cocaine, cannabis, opium and heroin in the same schedule, hampers effective policy responses that can properly take into account the different properties of drugs and the reasons people use them.
Consensus is growing that the prohibition on production, supply, and use of certain drugs has not only failed to deliver its intended goals but has been counterproductive. Evidence is mounting that this policy has not only exacerbated many public health problems, but has created a much larger set of social harms associated with the criminal market such as violence, corruption, organised crime, and endemic violence.
- Unscheduling of the coca leaf
The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm and is probably beneficial to human health. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to cocaine or heroin. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the list of narcotic drugs raises questions about the logic behind the current system of classification under the UN conventions. TNI believes we can find a more culturally sensitive approach to plants with psychoactive or mildly stimulant properties, and should distinguish more between problematic, recreational and traditional uses of psychoactive substances.
- War on Drugs
The war on drugs is waged at its worst in the source zone of production. Major consumer countries - the US in particular - think they are able to tackle drug consumption at home by reducing the supply from the "source zones" such as the Andean region - Colombia, Bolivia and Peru - and Central and South-East Asia - Afghanistan and Burma. The primary goal of the supply reduction strategies is to decrease the amount of drugs entering the major consuming countries and subsequently, because the strategy allegedly leads to higher prices that would lead to lower demand.
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