Blogs

Blog of Robert L. DuPont, Board Member representing North America
Robert L. DuPont, MD,  has for more than 30 years been a leader in drug abuse prevention and treatment in USA. Among his many contributions he was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and was the second White House Drug Chief. Dr. DuPont maintains an active psychiatric practice specialising in addiction and anxiety disorders, and has been Clinical Professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine since 1980. Read more about Mr. DuPont here.
Per Johansson’s recent report from the CND reflects an important new battle line in the global drug policy war based on Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This battle is being waged within the United Nations and in its many agencies.

Harm Reductionists seek to deflect the clear meaning of CRC Article 33. The Convention language is simple and practical: the international community and Member States are obligated to protect children from the devastating effects drugs including their use, production, and trafficking.

State Parties must take vigorous and sustained action to ensure that children grow up drug-free. This needs to be the business of families, governments and all organizations, including NGOs, when it comes to child welfare. Children are the most vulnerable segment of the population at the most common age of onset of addiction. Keeping children drug-free is a priority for everyone and every organization. The widespread failure to achieve this goal is not children's failing; it is a widely shared failing of adult stewardship.

WFAD is the leader in this new campaign sending a clear message to the international community of the universal responsibility to protect children from drugs through implementation of effective programs and policies that are child-centered rather than drug user-centered. Many Harm Reduction policies and programs seek to protect drug use. The CRC rejects this view focusing instead on the requirement that children be protected from drugs as an urgent human rights objective.

The challenge ahead for WFAD, having defined the goal, is to clearly articulate and to forcefully promote the policies and programs required to fulfill the obligations of this human rights Convention, the only UN Convention which addresses the central problem of the harm drugs do to children.


Robert L. DuPont, M.D.