It seems to me that a question we have to grapple with, no matter where we live and what the circumstances, is whether the criminalisation of drug use and possession among adults is justifiable on the grounds of protecting children. I think it's not.
Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy
Damon Barrett is a co-founder and Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy and a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He is researching a PhD on international law and drug control at Stockholm University. Views expressed here are his own.
The ambassador of Indonesia will make his allotted intervention at the beginning of the Commission meeting with the usual self-congratulatory script that most governments will follow. So it always proceeds. But it will be all the more difficult to stomach this year. It takes just one representative to stand up and walk out to make a diplomatic statement far greater than any consensus resolution.
26/02/2015 12:19 GMT
For governments, in an effort to avoid political controversy, the four pillars may seem attractive. For those who support drug policy reform they may seem progressive. But this is no win for drug policy reform or progress towards policies grounded in evidence and human rights.
18/11/2014 15:08 GMT
There are multiple imbalances of focus here. Funding of health versus enforcement. Policing individuals versus traffickers. The policy space taken up by cannabis versus important health harms associated with other substances.
25/06/2014 15:40 BST
If drugs issues are to be included in the SDG targets then ideas must come from official, considered sources, including NGO consultations. They must be based on what is really happening, and real solutions, not the same discredited fantasies of the past. Drug use is not a sustainable development issue. The war on drugs certainly is.
27/05/2014 13:03 BST
Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
14/03/2014 13:31 GMT
At the 2016 summit human rights must be central to any evaluation of the drug control system. As usual many states will resist and will claim that human rights are not relevant to drug control. This is false. They will claim that this 'politicises' a technical issue. It's already political (and not very technical because of that).
10/12/2013 12:38 GMT
Neuroscientist Professor Barbara Sahakian is concerned about university students using Ritalin and other 'smart drugs' (a daft label) to improve concentration. Many, myself included, share that concern. It clearly shows the stresses and pressures students are under, likely made worse by the knowledge that the job sector is worse than it has been for a long time.
05/07/2013 11:16 BST
Torture and ill-treatment in the war on drugs is... often invisible, hidden behind a narrative of existential threat, and behind the systematic dehumanisation and marginalisation of people who are drug dependent.
05/03/2013 11:45 GMT
Sweden has made the defence of the entire 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs a central part of its foreign policy on drugs. This is unthinking, uncritical and blinkered.
15/01/2013 15:25 GMT
This is the supply-side enforcement approach to drugs that has dominated since the mid 20th Century. We now know this to be quixotic, abusive nonsense even as it remains so vigorously pursued. Today, more than 180 countries have signed up.
07/01/2013 17:59 GMT
Ending the war on drugs, moreover, will be a victory for international human rights law. It will be a victory for international law itself - for environmental law, anti-corruption agreements, international security, for the achievement of international development agreements and improved health - all of which have been damaged by decades of prohibition. Colorado and Washington have taken us one step closer. For that we should all celebrate.
08/11/2012 15:08 GMT
Torture. The Home Office can't deport Abu Qatada because of the very spectre of it. There is an entire international treaty on it. It is a crime no matter who you are or where you live.
03/04/2012 22:09 BST
The <em>Guardian</em>/<em>Mixmag</em> drugs survey, published this week, highlighted the fact that there are many people out there using drugs without significant health harms. Among them are 'legal highs' or, more accurately, 'new psychoactive substances'.
19/03/2012 14:20 GMT
16/02/2012 11:19 GMT
Yesterday, hundreds of police officers carried out dawn drugs raids, serving one hundred warrants in three districts in Manchester, and addresses in Bolton, Stockport and Salford.
07/12/2011 13:46 GMT
This 1 December, as with every other year, will see political speeches and statements from high level UN officials and others in positions of power and influence reaffirming their commitment to stopping HIV in its tracks, and sending out messages of hope and how much we've achieved.
30/11/2011 17:27 GMT
Is demand for cocaine here in the UK and elsewhere contributing to violence and environmental damage in Colombia? Yes. It is nonsensical to deny this. We are all responsible for our own actions. That prohibition makes things vastly worse says nothing about a personal choice made in the knowledge of the damage the drug trade inflicts today.
22/11/2011 16:12 GMT
One of the greatest myths of drug prohibition is that it protects children.
07/09/2011 09:28 BST