Prohibitionist love-fest (updated)

Our Drug Czar’s been in Sweden, hobnobbing with Queen Silvia and having a great time with a supportive audience at the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) World Forum Against Drugs.

Naturally, it’s a one-sided gathering of all the worst of the prohibition world. They’re overarching theme is to completely turn the definition of human rights upside down, by apparently saying that human rights means protecting children from the existence of a world where adults use drugs. It’s taking the old, tired “think of the children” mantra to new and even more frightening levels of unreality. In fact, the whole thing was framed around the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

They dragged out the old Drug Czar under Nixon, Robert L. DuPont (who bears a whole lot of responsibility for the current mess), who spewed a bunch of nonsense, such as:

Would anyone faithful to human rights conclude that adult child pornography readers’ right to privacy trumps children’s right to protection from sexual exploitation as contained in CRC Article 34? Of course not. Why should it be different for drug policy?

Yes, he went there.

Of course, Gil gave a speech. He couldn’t pass up this opportunity to promote his “third way” nonsense that he got from Mark Kleiman. (And yes, he used the “silver bullet of legalization” phrase again.)

He took this opportunity to roll out some new bit of nonsense called “Principles of Modern Drug Policy.”

Principles of Modern Drug Policy

The three United Nations drug control conventions are the foundation of the global effort to reduce drug use and its consequences. To implement the conventions in the 21st century, the United States commits itself to the following principles and encourages other nations to do the same:

  1. Ensure Balanced, Compassionate, and Humane Drug Policies. Modern drug policies must acknowledge that drug addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated. Public health and public safety initiatives are complementary and equally vital to achieving reductions in drug use and its consequences. The drug policy challenge facing the world today is not a choice between an enforcement-only “war on drugs” on the one hand and the extreme notion of drug legalization on the other. Rather, the challenge lies in combining cost-effective, evidence-based approaches that protect public health and safety.
  2. Integrate Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Services into Public Health Systems. Public health approaches, such as evidenced-based prevention, screening and brief interventions in healthcare settings, drug treatment programs, and recovery support services, are vital components of an effective drug control strategy. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that drug prevention, treatment, and recovery services are cost-effective ways to reduce drug use and its consequences.
  3. Protect Human Rights. Respect for human rights is an integral part of drug policy. Citizens, especially children, have the right to be safe from illegal drug use and associated crime, violence, and other consequences— whether in their family or the community. Drug-involved offenders who have contact with the criminal justice system deserve to be supervised with respect for their basic human rights and be provided with services to treat their underlying substance use disorder.
  4. Reduce Drug Use to Reduce Drug Consequences. The best way to reduce the substantial harms associated with drugs is to reduce drug use itself. Public health services for drug users, including HIV interventions for people who inject drugs, should be implemented in the context of comprehensive, recovery-oriented public health systems that also provide drug users access to treatment for addiction. Policies and programs such as injection rooms, drug distribution efforts, and drug legalization should be opposed because they tolerate drug use and allow the debilitating disease of addiction to continue untreated.
  5. Support and Expand Access to Medication-Assisted Therapies. Recent innovations in medication-assisted therapies have demonstrated increasing effectiveness in reducing drug use and its consequences. These medications should be further studied to identify new therapies and best practices in program implementation.
  6. Reform Criminal Justice Systems to Support both Public Health and Public Safety. Criminal justice systems play a vital role in breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest. While individuals should be held responsible for breaking the law, the criminal justice system should help bring them into contact with treatment services if they are suffering from a substance use disorder. This includes providing treatment services in correctional facilities, providing alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts for non-violent drug- involved offenders, and using monitoring, drug testing, and other means to ensure recovery from illegal drug use.
  7. Disrupt Drug Trafficking. Transnational criminal organizations should be targeted with a focus on the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of drug traffickers, the seizure of illegal assets, disruption of drug production networks, control of precursor chemicals, and the eradication of illegal drug crops. International cooperation on information exchange, extradition, and training and technical assistance should be strengthened to eliminate safe harbors for transnational criminal organizations.
  8. Address the Drug Problem as a Shared Responsibility. Drug use, production, and trafficking are increasingly globalized problems and pose challenges to all of our nations. Because of the global nature of today’s drug markets, international cooperation is essential to protect public health and safety.
  9. Support the UN Drug Conventions: The three UN Drug Conventions are the foundation of our global drug control efforts and are effective in their current form. Efforts to renegotiate the Conventions should be opposed.
  10. Protect Citizens from Drugs: Drugs are illegal because their use is dangerous not only to users but to society as a whole. We are committed to protecting all citizens, including those in recovery, from the tragic consequences of illegal drug use.

That last one is particularly outrageous (though not particularly surprising) in that it specifically denies the existence of non-harmful use of currently illicit drugs when it comes to the Drug Czar’s view of drug policy. #10, along with #3 and #4 attempt to invent harm from the non-problematic recreational use of illicit drugs.

And of course, the harms of prohibition are almost entirely ignored.

Update: Check out the seriously deranged rantings of the Russian Drug Czar:

It is more than illustrative that the so-called Global Drug Politics Commission, which directly promotes drug legalization, last year hit upon the idea to present its definitely provocative and favoring drug legalization report on the 1st of June – on the International Children’s Day!

No doubt this large-scale and highly aggressive PR-campaign on drug propaganda is directly or indirectly related to enormous drug business income estimated by experts as 800 billion US dollars per year.

The mentioned report should be unambiguously regarded as a kind of a manifest of drug legalization supporters. [...]

The objective of drug legalization supporters is to legalize transnational organized crime, a global criminal international, to make drug trafficking smooth and comfortable.[...]

Today we can see how powerful our antidrug front is. And we should pass to victories over drugs, to resolutely reject decadent moods and conciliation with the drug mafia’s initiatives.

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