A significant decline in opium production in Burma and Laos, which has been heralded as a major success for international drug control policy, is having a devastating effect on farmers and is triggering worrying consequences for drug users according to a new report released today by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI).
For decades, the United States has been a champion of the global drug control treaty system, which limits the use of marijuana exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and obligates governments to punish and even criminalize recreational marijuana activity. But American attitudes toward marijuana policy are shifting: voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to legalize regulated recreational marijuana in 2012, and recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized.
Amsterdam, 25 June — As the United Nations launches the 2009 World Drug Report this week, more than 40 international groups and experts worldwide today issue a call to action that presses governments to adopt a humane approach to drug policy. The call to action, signed by the Transnational Institute (TNI), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, former president of Brazil Fernando Cardoso, and others, urges governments to enact policies that are based on scientific and medical research rather than politics.
The assumption that reducing opium production would lead to less drug use has been proven wrong. It has instead contributed to a pattern of an increased use of stronger drugs and more harmful patterns of use.
Global drug policy must move away from stigmatizing and criminalizing users and focus on the public health issues at stake, panelists concluded at the third drug policy debate hosted by CEU’s School of Public Policy and the Open Society Foundations’ Global Drug Policy Program on April 11. Panelists expressed hope that the current momentum in this direction will result in significant changes at the United Nations drug policy summit slated for 2016.
An extraordinary documentary marking a new level in broadcast journalism critiquing the international war on drugs was shown on Irish TV last on 3 June 2008. The report is a comprehensive indictment of the global drug war and asks if there is an alternative to this war without end.
This TNI briefing aims at contributing to a better understanding of current market dynamics in Southeast Asia, essential for designing more effective and sustainable policy responses consistent with human rights and harm reduction principles.
Opium production in the Golden Triangle has decreased significantly over the past decade. But the rapid decline has caused major suffering among former poppy-growing communities in Burma and Laos, making it difficult to characterise developments as a "success story".
China is proposing there should be a worldwide ban on ketamine - the class B drug that can lead to users needing to have their bladders removed. But ketamine is used as an anaesthetic drug in much of Africa, and there are fears further international controls could affect medical usage too.