The Vienna Declaration: A Global Call to Action for Science-based Drug Policy

In lead up to XVIII International AIDS Conference, scientists and other leaders call for reform of international drug policy and urge others to sign-on at www.viennadeclaration.com

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Final Report of the Latin American Comission on Drugs and Democracy

 After a year of studies, interviews, meetings and debates, the Latin American Comission on Drugs and Democracy launched a final report, evaluating the current Drug Policy and its impacts on Latin America. 

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Legislative Innovation in Drug Policy

By Martin Jelsma.

This briefing from the Latin American Initiative on Drugs and Democracy and summarizes good practices in legislative reforms around the world, representing steps away from a repressive zero-tolerance model towards a more evidencebased and humane drug policy. The examples provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches and their impact on levels of drug use and drug-related harm to the individual and society.

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A criminally stupid war on drugs in the US

By Clive Crook
Financial Times - April 12 2009 

How much misery can a policy cause before it is acknowledged as a failure and reversed? The US “war on drugs” suggests there is no upper limit. The country’s implacable blend of prohibition and punitive criminal justice is wrong-headed in every way: immoral in principle, since it prosecutes victimless crimes, and in practice a disaster of remarkable proportions. Yet for a US politician to suggest wholesale reform of this brainless regime is still seen as an act of reckless self-harm.

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We tried a war like this once before

By Mike Gray*

Washington Post - Sunday, April 12, 2009

In 1932, Alphonse Capone, an influential businessman then living in Chicago, used to drive through the city in a caravan of armor-plated limos built to his specifications by General Motors. Submachine-gun-toting associates led the motorcade and brought up the rear. It is a measure of how thoroughly the mob mentality had permeated everyday life that this was considered normal.

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The lost war on drugs

Three former Latin American presidents call for a new strategy to combat drug trafficking and its consequences, violence and corruption

El Pais.Com - International - 03/26/2009

By José Miguel Larraya - Madrid

For decades, violence in Latin America was associated with armed insurrection and military repression against a communist revolution. Today, with former rebels in government offices, another ghost took the stage: armed violence associated to drug trafficking. A violence that fuels a multimillionaire industry, which projects insecurity and fear in large and small towns, and drains massive amounts of resources from states.

And what’s worst: far from receding, it is multiplying and threatens the stability of governments. Three former presidents from Latin America – Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil; César Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico – have certified in a comprehensive document, the defeat of law enforcement authorities in their war against drugs. This does not mean they have raised the white flag against organized crime. They demand a new political and Police strategy that results from a broad social debate, to which they invite every social force on the continent. They also expose their data and arguments in the report “Drugs and democracy: toward a new Paradigm”, prepared by the Latin American Commission Drugs and Democracy, where highlighted 17 independent personalities debated and studied the issue. They demand a new approach with less emphasis on punishment/repression and more on health and education policy. They also include a recommendation – the decriminalization of possession of marijuana, which by its midiatic appela may overshadow a reflection of greater scope.

 To read the full article, in Spanish, click here

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Drugs: the same route, new winds

by Andrea Domínguez*

Even though the UN held its prohibitionist drug policy, a dissident group gathering 26 countries, led by Germany stated will adopt a “Harm Reduction” strategy, which was excluded from the Political Declaration, showing a deep division within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

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How to stop the drug wars

the-economist-capa2.jpgProhibition has failed; legalization is the least bad solution

from The Economist (March 7th-13th 2009)

the-economist-capa.pdfthe-economist-capa.pdfA HUNDRED years ago a group of foreign diplomats gathered in Shanghai for the first-ever international effort to ban trade in a narcotic drug. On February 26th 1909 they agreed to set up the International Opium Commission – just a few decades agter Britain had fought a war with China to assert its right to peddle the stuff. Many other bans of mood altering drugs have followed. In 1998 the UN General Assembly committed member countries to achieving a “drug-free world” and to “eliminating or significantly reducing” the production of opium, cocaine and cannabis by 2008.


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The Final Report of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy

After a year of researching, interviewing experts, holding meetings and debates, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy publishes its final report, evaluating the current Drug Policy and its impacts on the Region. From the struggle against narcotics to the international interactions associated with this issue, including the efforts to curb illicit drug porduction, transportation and commerce, this document sets the Latin American countries in the international drug trafficking context, exposing failures and successes, and shedding light on ways to end this scourge.

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United Nations drug policy review: Out of ideas and out of touch

By The International Drug Policy Consortium(IDPC)*

As political leaders from around the world gather this week in Vienna to review the last
decade of international drug control, and set a framework for the next ten years with the
signing of a Political Declaration, any hopes for progress or a new pragmatism in approaches to the world drug problem are fading fast.

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