Papers

May 21, 2014

WFAD is guided by the 1961, 1971 and 1988 UN drug conventions and the resolution resulting from the UNGASS-meeting 1998. The UN Conventions provide the necessary platform for international cooperation to reducing non-medical drug use, a major global epidemic with serious public health and public safety consequences.

The preamble of the Single Convention recognizes that “addiction to drugs constitutes a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind”1. Illicit drugs are a threat to the health and welfare of mankind. Recognizing this threat, the global community must work toward the goal of a drug-free world, very much as it works toward the goals of a cancer-free, poverty-free and crime free world. This ambitious goal is neither utopian nor impossible. Too often, we settle for lesser goals which inhibit more effective solutions. Big goals produce big and well-targeted efforts. Small goals lead to small increments only.

Instead of legalizing drugs, an enlightened drug policy can harness the criminal justice system to reinforce prevention, thwart drugs markets, and facilitate entry into treatment – while restricting prolonged incarceration to egregious and repeat offenders. The criminal justice system plays an integral role in drug use prevention by protecting public safety, reducing the availability of drugs and discouraging drug use and leveraging people to treatment.

Seeing the future of drug policy as a choice between the criminal justice system and the health system is not only false, it fails to recognize the complementary nature of these two vital systems. Together they can achieve goals that neither can achieve alone.

The criminal justice system and the medical- and social system in the society must work together to curb illicit drug use. The criminal justice system must empower people to become drug-free and crime-free as well as to be productive and integrated members of society. The world needs a balanced, restrictive drug policy that prevents illegal drug use and that intervenes with drug users to provide them with a path to life-long recovery.

WFAD urges states to use alternative sanctions that enforce abstinence and to use effective alternatives to imprisonment for drug related offenses such as Drug Treatment Courts and HOPE Probation. The world needs a strong, restrictive drug policy that is compassionate, effective and affordable. This better drug policy makes clear that illegal drugs use is unacceptable.

Consistent with this policy WFAD opposes the use of the death penalty for violations of laws prohibiting or regulating the possession, use, distribution, and the manufacture of illegal drugs.