Reform Of Policies Criminalizing Drug Possession Should Promote Human Development, Health

Inter Press Service: Laws Criminalizing Drug Possession Can Cause More Harm
Tenu Avafia, policy adviser in the HIV, Health, and Development Group at the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), and Rebecca Schleifer, consultant at the UNDP

“…Laws criminalizing drug possession for personal use and other non-violent, low-level drug offenses drive people away from harm reduction services, placing them at increased risk of HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and death by overdose. … Many countries are exploring or initiating law and policy reforms with the aim of giving greater prominence to the Sustainable Development Goals … One such example is the case of Jamaica … Jamaica’s reforms recognize that the connection between drugs and crime is not so straightforward. They put people first and in turn promote its citizens’ human development. The implications of this measure, together with others described in a recent discussion paper released by UNDP, will be important as more countries look to make evidence informed, development sensitive changes to drug policy” (4/21).