June 26th, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD) asks for radical change in current drug policies and claims more just and effective policies to manage the production, trade and consumption of drugs, and to reduce related harms. Civil society must participate in the design and evaluation of these policies. ENCOD is a pan-european network with more than 150 social organisations and individual experts.
ENCOD denounces that prohibitionist drug control policies, based in the International Conventions on Drugs (1961, 1971 and 1988); have not only proven unsuccessful in countering the illicit drugs trade, but, to the contrary, have contributed to its increase. ENCOD notes that the weakest links of the illicit drugs chain (drugs consumers, couriers, and rural populations involved in the cultivation of illicit drugs-linked crops) suffer a disproportionate amount of the negative consequences of drugs control policies.
According to Virginia Montañés (president of ENCOD), anti-drugs strategy has turned throughout the years into an open warfare against users. Persons affected by drugs suffer the deterioration of their health, the effects of exclusion and stigmatisation, and the violation of their most elementary rights due to a policy imposed by international organizations -International Narcotics Control Board (INCB),the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and by our own country. Joep Oomen, coordinator of ENCOD, states that the increase of the benefits of drug traffickers is directly related to the deterioration of drugs users’ health.
ENCOD regrets the stubbornness of international and national authorities in expensive drug policies (70 billion euros per year, according to Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance), without any scientific basis and that have failed in all their objectives, instead of developing real policies centered on the public health, based on human rights and sensitive with the gender differences.
Due to this, ENCOD considers urgent and necessary a real change on drug policies. Alternative drug policies must not harm drug users’ health, must not threaten the livelihood of Southern countries’ peasants, must respect citizens’ human rights and to take into account gender differences.
ENCOD also claims changes in the law that stop the massive entrance of drug users in prisons, the opening of the social debate with all the community agents on the regulation of ilegalized substances; the redefinition of prevention strategies targeting young and adult persons, based in integral, realistic and participative criteria, and with gender perspective; innovation and extension of treatments to the whole affected population, specially the most vulnerable, like consumption rooms or controlled distribution of drugs.
ENCOD regrets the lack of interest of governments and international Community in facilitating the participation of civil society in the design and evaluation of drug policies and demands the effective participation of entities and persons affected in the drugs policy making spaces in the UN, the European Union and each countries governments.Republish