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UK seeks changes in drug laws

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British parliamentarians seek new guidance on interpreting the UN Drug Conventions….reports Asian Lite News

London sunsetThe Chairs of The All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, Baroness Meacher and Caroline Lucas MP call for a global transformation of drug policy from blanket prohibition to a framework based upon human rights and public health.

Their call comes with the publication of the Group’s Guidance on interpreting the UN Drug Conventions. The guidance has been prepared by the Group with the support of officials and experts from Latin America and Europe. It demonstrates the extent to which reform of national drug policies can be accommodated within current conventions. It is a contribution to the debate on the UN Drug Conventions which will begin at the UN General Assembly in September and culminate in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drug Policy in March 2016 where Member States will be considering a number of policy approaches

The Guidance provides a radical re-interpretation of the UN Drug Conventions.   It is not, for example, justified to violate human rights in the quest to comply with the conventions on drugs. Blanket aerial coca crop eradication in rural areas is unacceptable when this leaves families and whole communities without access to clean water or a livelihood.

Likewise, denying terminally ill people access to essential pain relieving medicines, in the interests of upholding the UN drug conventions cannot be justified.   And yet this is commonplace in 160 UN Member States.   In total, 5.5 billion people, including 5.5 million with terminal cancer live in countries with low or non-existent access to controlled medicines.

Britain's Green party MP Caroline Lucas
Britain’s Green party MP Caroline Lucas

Across the Globe, children and young people are being criminalised for using small quantities of drugs.   This prohibitionist approach to use leads to greater use of the most dangerous Class A drugs; higher levels of addiction and long term damage to the prospects of the children and young people affected

Baroness Meacher and Caroline Lucas claim that” the prohibitionist interpretation of the UN drug conventions and the ‘policing role’ of the International Narcotics Control Board, both play a part in this human catastrophe.   Change is necessary and urgent”.

The UN drug conventions permit drug supply and possession for ‘medical and scientific purposes.  The Guidance proposes that a modern interpretation of the term ‘scientific purposes’ enables drug reforms to be introduced and evaluated, thus contributing to creating a new experimental and evidential ethos and improving the knowledge base on the efficacy of drug policies.