Thursday, June 2, 2011

A report points to the failure of the war against drugs

Drug enforcement has "failed" and the changes are "urgent" in this area, says a report by the World Commission on Drug Policy (Global Commission on Drug Policy). Several personalities who participated in the preparation of this report, including former Latin American presidents, an advocate of drug decriminalization and legalization of cannabis.

"Fifty years after the signing of the UN Convention on drugs and forty years after President [Richard] Nixon had launched the war on drugs the U.S. government, it is urgent to reform national policies and global control drugs, "the document to be presented Thursday in New York in the presence of former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Former Secretary General Kofi Annan and former Presidents Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico are also part of the World Commission on Drug Policy, like the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru. The report recommends "to end the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people using drugs but that does not cause harm to others," giving priority to an approach "more humane" according to which dependents are considered as patients and not criminals.

"The decriminalization initiatives do not lead to a significant increase in drug use," says the report, citing the example of Portugal, the Netherlands and a province of Australia. The report also "encourage experimentation with models of the governments of legal regulation of drugs [especially cannabis] to reduce the power of organized crime and protect the health and safety of their citizens." The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, said Thursday open to the analysis of a "new direction" in the fight against drugs.

Juan Manuel Santos said that for his country, this fight was a matter of "national security, drug trafficking remains the source of funding for violence in Colombia, where guerrillas and gangs made up of former paramilitaries live partly of this traffic. Actress Judi Dench, billionaire Richard Branson and Sting are among the signatories of a letter sent Thursday to British Prime Minister, David Cameron, calling for the decriminalization of drugs.

The letter, also signed by three former police chiefs, asking the Prime Minister to review the effectiveness of current drug laws in the fight against abuse and addiction. The United States has presented this summer a comprehensive anti-drug flights to Latin America, bringing together key aid plans currently in force for the region, said Thursday a senior U.S.

government. "We hope to complete this drug plan this summer," he assured before a Senate committee Gil Kerlikowske, Chief of the U.S. agency responsible for national drug policy (Office of National DrugControl Policy). This plan will bring together the Merida Initiative for Mexico and Plan Colombia, but also other programs for Central America and the Caribbean.

According to UN data, consumption of opiates increased by 35.5% between 1998 and 2008, cocaine by 27% and cannabis 8.5%.

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