Weblog

  • Putting numbers to faces: a new map of substance misuse, homelessness and offending in England

    Mental health, access to housing and effective offender rehabilitation must all figure in our response to complex needs
    Sam Thomas
    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Statistics can be a limited and limiting way to understand social issues. When we focus on how many people are affected by a problem, or how much the government spends on tackling it, we start to see numbers instead of people. The opposite is also true, though: without statistical evidence, it’s hard to understand the scale of a problem.

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  • Does your politician have a drug policy problem?

    Tell your politicians you won’t sit by while they continue to harm themselves and others
    Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC)
    Wednesday, January 7, 2014

    "Your politician is showing all the symptoms of 'Drug Policy Abuse,'" reads the CDPC website. "They refuse to engage in an open and honest discussion of drug use, and instead rehash outdated, fear-based policies, dismissing research that supports new and innovative approaches." The site goes on to gravely implore readers, "It’s time you had 'the talk.'"

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  • Has the US just called for unilateral interpretation of multilateral obligations?

    It would be unfortunate to see established rules of international law become collateral damage in the fallout of the end of the war on drugs
    Rick Lines and Damon Barrett
    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    These are interesting times for drug law reform, which, as it gathers pace, is asking important questions of international law. A UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is set for 2016 just as national reforms are challenging international treaties that form the bedrock of a global prohibition regime that has dominated since the turn of the twentieth century. States parties to the three UN drug control conventions must now confront the legal and political dilemmas this creates. This is the situation in which the US now finds itself following cannabis reforms in various states that are at odds with these treaties.

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  • The 'Fifth Stage' of Drug Control

    International Law, Dynamic Interpretation and Human Rights
    Rick Lines (University of Essex)

    Writing in 1996, Norbert Gilmore noted that ‘little has been written about drug use and human rights. Human rights are rarely mentioned expressly in drug literature and drug use is rarely mentioned in human rights literature.’ [1] Almost twenty years later, the literature examining drug control issues through the lens of international human rights law has grown, but the total body of peer reviewed commentary and analysis in this area would barely rank the issue as a footnote in the broader human rights lexicon.

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  • Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

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  • Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma Dave Bewley-Taylor Damon Barrett
    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

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  • Pushing treaty limits?

    Encourage policy makers to rule treaty reform in as an option, rather than presumptively ruling it out
    Wells C. Bennett
    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties – ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body does likewise in its annual reporting. This pattern essentially holds year in and year out and from one presidential administration to the next.

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  • Colombia, more than three decades of toxic sprayings. Enough!

    Amira Armenta
    Friday, 26 September 2014

    fumigationMamacocaIt is unfortunate that 35 years after the first chemical spraying in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we are still writing about aerial sprayings in Colombia, demanding the current government – how many governments have not happened since! – to definitely defer an ecocide and incompetent policy. Throughout these years we have seen increasing national and international voices opposing the spraying of coca with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).

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  • Preparing for the 2016 UNGASS on drugs

    An opportunity we can’t afford to miss
    Nazlee Maghsoudi (IDPC)
    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in 2016 is intended to provide states with the opportunity to openly debate the future of international drug policies. An event at UN headquarters in New York discussed precisely what preparations are necessary to make sure the UNGASS accomplishes this objective.

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  • Brazil discusses medical cannabis at international symposium

    Vera da Ros (Rede Brasileira de Redução de Danos e Direitos Humanos - REDUC)
    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    The IV Symposium on Medicinal Cannabis in Brazil focused on patients who need treatment via medicinal cannabis and its components. Today, these patients struggle with access to such treatment, mainly due to bureaucracy. The event undoubtedly generated attitudes in favor of medical marijuana in the country. However, and unfortunately, less than 10 days after the event ended, National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) postponed a vote for the reclassification of cannabis.

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Publications

Regime change

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The international community needs to revisit the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs with a view to correcting past errors and inconsistencies within the regime, particularly those relating to scheduling and traditional drug use.

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TNI Drug Law Reform Project

Drug Law Reform in Latin America is a project of the TNI Drugs & Democracy programme

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"Promoting a more effective and humane drug policy in Latin America"

UN Drug Control

In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.