• Latin America’s crackdown on drugs defies its progressive rhetoric

    It is beyond time for Latin American governments to step up and match their discourse with action
    Catalina Pérez Correa & Coletta A. Youngers
    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    women-prisoners-elsalvador“We were having dinner—my daughter, grandchild, and me,” says Ramona, a 67-year-old Mexican woman who is serving a sentence of four-and-a-half years in one of Mexico’s most dangerous prisons. “I was lying on the couch watching a soap opera … when I realized that there were several men inside the house yelling at me to hand over the drugs.”

  • The truth behind the UNODC's leaked decriminalisation paper

    The UNODC claims that the briefing is not a final or formal document, and does not amount to a statement of its policy position
    Steve Rolles (Transform)
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    decrim-unodc-transformThe UN Office on Drugs and Crime has responded to the 'leak' of its paper calling for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. The document was to be presented by the UNODC at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and an embargoed copy had already gone to select media (the norm for such publication events). When it was then pulled at the last minute, the BBC, which had already filmed a news segment on it, decided to release it anyway. Richard Branson was filmed for the segment, and was sufficiently annoyed when the UNODC backtracked, that he broke the story himself on his blog.

  • The seven steps of drug policy reform in Ecuador

    Recent History and a Look toward the Future
    Jorge Vicente Paladines Rodríguez
    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    correa-efeEcuador has entered a new era in drug policy and legislation. Twenty-five years after the last major legal reform, brought about by the famed Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Law (Ley de Sustancias Estupefacientes y Psicotrópicas, Law 108), which took effect on September 17, 1990, the National Assembly is about to debate—for the second and final time—the draft Law on Prevention of Drugs and Use or Consumption of Substances Classified as Subject to Oversight (Ley de Prevención de Drogas y Uso y Consumo de Sustancias Catalogadas Sujetas a Fiscalización.)

  • Video report of the UN drug debate

    On the way to UNGASS 2016
    Drugreporter HCLU
    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    This March, our video advocacy team attended the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the largest drug policy gathering in the world, to find out how governments and NGOs feel about the prospects of drug policy reform. We produced a series of short thematic videos, to give you an overview of the current state of political debate on the burning issues of international drug control.

  • "There must be no new thinking and no new ideas"

    UN Debates on Drugs
    Ann Fordham
    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    "There must be no new thinking and no new ideas." This statement is not necessarily one that you might expect from an intergovernmental forum on a hot topic of international policy - except perhaps when that policy is about drugs. This statement sadly, but also neatly, encapsulates the sense of frustration that I can often feel at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) - the annual meeting of the UN on all matters related to drug control, which took place last month in Vienna.

  • Another UN agency savages the drug war

    The UNDP argues that “new approaches are both urgent and necessary”
    George Murkin
    March 17, 2015

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN agency charged with developing strategies to reduce global poverty, has strongly criticised current international drug policy, highlighting the disastrous costs it is producing – particularly for the world’s poor. In the agency’s formal submission to the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs (PDF), launched at the annual UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs which began last week in Vienna, the UNDP argues:

  • The ketamine controversy, continued

    UN legal opinion adds confusion while China changes its scheduling proposal
    Martin Jelsma
    Friday, March 6, 2015

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna will decide next week between two opposite proposals by China and the WHO about international control of ketamine, an essential anaesthetic in human and veterinary medicine. China originally proposed bringing ketamine under the 1971 Convention’s most severe control regime of Schedule I, which would dramatically affect its availability for surgery in poor rural settings and emergency situations. The WHO Expert Committee reviewed all the evidence and advised against any international control of ketamine, arguing it would trigger a public health disaster.

  • Reguleer wiet, en niet alleen de achterdeur

    Een zorgvuldige nieuwe wetgeving zou eigen teelt, cannabis clubs en coffeeshops met gereguleerde achterdeur mogelijk moeten maken
    Tom Blickman
    Woensdag, 25 februari 2015

    oped-spong-nrc-thumbDe advocaten Spong, Smeets en Vis houden een pleidooi voor het reguleren van de achterdeur van de coffeeshops in een opiniestuk in het NRC. Zij zetten zich af tegen de criminologen Fijnaut en De Ruyver die bepleiten dat cannabis social clubs het alternatief zijn voor de coffeeshop. De advocaten noemen de cannabis club "een doodlopende weg". Met het reguleren van de achterdeur is niets mis, maar waarom zou het daartoe beperkt moeten blijven? Waarom zouden coffeeshops het monopolie op de verkoop van wiet moeten hebben?

  • The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs in 2016

    In the war on drugs, as was the case with the HIV epidemic, the poorest and most vulnerable around the world are paying the greatest price
    Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch
    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    In April 2016, representatives of the world’s nations will gather to evaluate drug policy in a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). While prohibitionist policies are still the norm, a rising tide of voices are demanding evidence based responses that respect human rights, promote public health, and reduce crime.

  • CND decision to schedule ketamine would undermine WHO treaty mandate

    The UN Commission considers to bring ketamine under the control of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances contrary to WHO recommendations
    Martin Jelsma
    Monday, February 16, 2015

    The 58th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2015 has been asked to consider a Chinese proposal to place ketamine – an essential medicine used for anaesthesia – in Schedule I of the 1971 Convention (E/CN.7/2015/7 and E/CN.7/2015/81). Ketamine is the only available anaesthetic for essential surgery in most rural areas of developing countries, home to more than 2 billion of the world’s people. Scheduling ketamine under any of the 1971 treaty schedules will reduce its availability and further deepen the already acute crisis of global surgery.


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