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Rethinking The Drug War Strategy: Winning A Losing Battle

1695 words - 7 pages

The three major international drug control treaties are?
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol (UN, 1961), Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 (UN, 1971), United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. These conventions seek to combat the drug trafficking and drug abuse while ensuring that there is availability of narcotic/psychotropic drugs for medical and scientific use.

Outlining the situation
Today there are between 155 and 250 million people worldwide who have used illicit substances at least once in a year and global lifetime figures are much higher than a billion. Reports claim that drug abuse alone kills more than 200,000 people other than drug violence, etc. Meanwhile, there has been an infringement of human rights and high incarceration rates due to the increasing stringency of drug policies. Without a domestic action, the longer United Nations takes to reach consensus on the issue of “War on Drugs” and modify the conventions according to the present scenarios/local conditions of various countries, the longer the people are exposed to violations of their human rights.
There were recent events such as the Uruguay’s move to legalize the cultivation, sale and consumption of Cannabis and both Peru and Switzerland decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. It begs the question- are policy makers ready to revisit the global drug policy? With many countries slowly opting for change in their national policies, battle – lines have been clearly drawn between proposers and detractors of legalization/ decriminalization of soft drugs and for a reform in the 53 year old drug policy convention. This deadlock in the recent meetings just shows the reality that a common global policy for 184 nations is an unrealistic and unsuccessful one.
By the means of the following analysis the aim of this policy brief is to show that it is in the interest of the main purpose of the convention for the well being of the society and to discourage the illicit drug trafficking and consumption.
The Debate: Should there be significant amendments to the international drug conventions to address the global drug problem?
Analysis of policy options:
The Single Convention of 1961was an amalgamation of its preceding drug treaties. It was extremely influential in standardizing national drug control policies. Though the convention created a much stricter, more prohibitive zero- tolerance control system for limiting cultivation, production, distribution, trade, possession, and use of narcotic drugs. Yet, the 1971 UN convention on Psychotropic drugs designed in response to increasing concern over the diversifying pattern and expansion of drug use imposed a weaker control structure. Succeeding this was the 1988 UN Convention, which represented a significant escalation in the war on drugs approach.
Though an international drug convention policy is...

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