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Global Commission On Drug Policy Members Discuss Illicit Drug Policy Reforms In Opinion Pieces

BMJ Opinion: Why doctors should support regulated markets in illicit drugs
Michel Kazatchkine, doctor and former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; Pavel Bém, doctor and former mayor of Prague and drug czar of the Czech Republic; Helen Clark, former minister of health and prime minister of New Zealand and former administrator of the UNDP; and Ruth Dreifuss, former minister of health and president of Switzerland; all members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy

“…[Drug policy] reform must start by redefining drugs as primarily a health and social, rather than a criminal, matter. For several years, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has been calling for an informed and evidence-based global drug policy debate, and the commission recommends prioritizing individual and public health and safety. … [T]he control of drugs should shift from unregulated criminal markets to government, with regulation similar to that for other risky products, including alcohol, tobacco, and some legal drugs. … There is still a long road ahead before drugs, starting with the less harmful ones, are legally regulated. Implementation will have to be incremental, careful, and continuously and independently evaluated. Yet it is time to begin the journey towards new policies that will bring together in a coherent manner, responsible management of drug-related risks by governments and better individual and public health. Drug policy has huge health implications, and doctors have an essential part to play in its reform” (9/24).

Project Syndicate: West Africa’s Failed War on Drugs
Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, chair of the West Africa Commission on Drugs, and member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy

“…[M]any governments treat drug addiction as a moral failure rather than an illness. This has created an environment of fear in which governments are unwilling to import and doctors do not prescribe legitimate medications, owing to the widespread concern that some could be diverted and they could be perceived and prosecuted as drug dealers. … [I]t is clear that West Africa’s drug laws are doing more harm than good. We need a new approach, one that decriminalizes drug use and prioritizes treatment. … Earlier this month, the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) … published the Model Drug Law for West Africa, an online tool designed to help regional policymakers rewrite their drug-enforcement playbooks and deliver policies to protect the health and welfare of every citizen. … Still, much work remains; the WACD’s model drug law is only a starting point. To protect our communities, leaders must muster the political will to defend the security, health, human rights, and well-being of all West Africans — including those addicted to drugs…” (9/24).