It is essential to stop criminalizing drug users and focus on efficient public health approaches based on proven methodologies
Each year on June 26, the UNODC and its offices worldwide celebrate the World Drug Day in conjunction with Governments, local communities and NGOs. On this occasion many people and organizations around the globe voiced this year's message: it is essential to promote a balanced approach to confront drug supply and drug demand.
The Positioning of Dianova on Drugs & Drug Policies
On the occasion of the World Drug Day, Dianova International and its member organizations have launched a new document dedicated to their common position vis-à-vis global drug policies. Despite many failures in containing drug trafficking and drug use, Dianova considers that the situation of drug users has developed positively in many countries, due among other to the action of NGOs which permitted to look at drug users with different eyes while encouraging governments to adopt essential public health measures such as prevention and harm reduction policies and better access to treatment and rehabilitation.
According to Dianova, these developments are in line with a necessary evolution of the drug control regime. It is essential to stop criminalizing drug users and focus on public health approaches based on proven methodologies.
The positioning of Dianova has been circulated in 7 countries in which the Dianova Network operates: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Chile and Uruguay. The information has been disseminated both online and offline: it was posted on social media and websites and sent to a number of national and international governmental and private agencies, regional federations and public health agencies, reaching a global impact of 68,125 people.
Dianova Positioning on Drug Policies & Addiction – Online Impact
"Support. Don't Punish" Global Action
On June 26, 150 cities worldwide united to end the War on Drugs, as part of the 3rd "Support. Don't Punish" global day of action, a global advocacy campaign calling for better drug policies based on public health and human rights. The campaign aims to promote drug policy reform, and to change laws and policies which are harmful to the affected populations, their families and communities.
Dianova strongly supports the "Support. Don't Punish" Campaign and most of its key messages, in particular:
- The international drug control system is in need of reform
- Drug users should no longer be criminalized
- Drug policies should prioritize human rights and public health
- People involved in the drug trade at low levels should not face harsh punishments.
- The death penalty should never be imposed for drug offences
However, the Dianova Network does not support the proposition that future drug policies should prioritize harm reduction measures only. Even though such approaches are effective and inexpensive, they cannot pretend to respond to the whole gamut of drug users' needs and expectations.
Residential and outpatient rehabilitation programs are comparatively more costly, however they represent a profitable investment in the long run by helping reduce health costs, crime and work absenteeism. This is why Dianova urges decision-makers to implement complementing approaches without favoring one over another. The Positioning of Dianova on Drug Policies and Addiction (Pdf document)
UNODC Events Worldwide
A series of events were organized across West Africa by UNODC alongside governments and civil society partners to draw attention to drug consumption patterns in the gold mining and road transportation industries (Mali). Workers in these industries have a high degree of exposure to drugs due to stressful and physically demanding working conditions.
In Medellin (Colombia), UNODC and government representatives organized a seminar entitled "Experiences and Practices to Address Addictions" attended by 500 health and education professionals and dedicated to raising awareness on the dangers of drug misuse.
The Paraguayan Presidential office in Asunción, Paraguay – the Palacio de López – held a special event attended by President Horacio Cartes, government ministers and diplomats to mark the world drug day and start implement the country's future National Policy on Drugs.
In New Delhi, India, a soccer match was organized under the auspice of the UNODC between community-based organizations' representatives and members of the drug using community to highlight the importance of healthier lifestyles.
During an event at the Bolivian Foreign Ministry, UNODC highlighted some of its most important alternative development projects, i.e. the initiatives which aim to give former coca leaf farmers licit sources of income.