April 25, 2012

Where can I learn more about international drug policy?

The UNODC has a website where you can find the official documents related to the 1998 UNGASS, the sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the 2009 High Level Segment. Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UNODC has his own blog, Costa’s Corner, with his personal views on the international narcotic control system – unfortunately, he does not allow comments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNAIDS produced many documents in favor of harm reduction and the human rights of people who use drugs.

The European Commission published one of the most comprehensive reviews ever made on the trends of illegal drug markets and the intended and unintended consequences of the international drug control regime. 




The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, EMCDDA has a website with a lot of important data and documents related to European drug policies. EMCDDA's annual reports are the best sources of information on drug related epidemiological, crime and policy response trends in the EU. You can find national country profiles and annual national drug reports made by national focal points as well. 



A number of non-governmental and academic initiatives from all corners of the world are now attempting to articulate the problems of current drug policies on the global and national levels. Their analysis will be made available for to governments and the UN itself. NGOs and researchers have made excellent reports and other papers highlighting the anomalies of the international drug control regime.

The Transnational Institute (TNI), a Dutch drug policy think tank, created a website on the UNGASS review. On this site you can find the key documents of the 1998 UNGASS on drugs, reports on the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) and NGO responses to its annual reports, and a lot of information on harm reduction, and the control of coca leaf, opium and cannabis. It is also the best news update on the UNGASS review process.

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) is a global network of NGOs that specialize in issues related to illegal and legal drug use. Its website is an outstanding knowledge hub with a lot of information on UNGASS issues. The HCLU is also a member of this network.

The International Harm Reduction Development Program (IHRD) of the Open Society Institute works to reduce HIV and other harms related to injecting drug use, and to press for policies that reduce stigmatization of illicit drug users and protect their human rights. 


The International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) recently published a global report on the state of harm reduction and many other important documents related to the UNGASS process. Their harm reduction & human rights blog (hr2) provides very interesting news. Paul Hunt, the human rights commissioner of the UN made a powerful speech on the drug control system at IHRA’s conference in Barcelona - watch our video and learn more!

In October 2007, IHRA’s HR2 (harm reduction and human rights) team and the Swedish Drug Users Union (SDUU) made a joint submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in order to feed into their review of Sweden’s compliance with human rights obligations. The Submission – or ‘Shadow Report’ – argues that, in its failure to provide comprehensive harm reduction measures such as needle and syringe exchange programmes, the Swedish Government is violating the right to health of people who use drugs, placing them at unnecessary and avoidable risk of HIV and HCV infection.