HCLU criticises the 2005 report of the INCB because of its negative attitude to harm reduction and decriminalization.HCLU criticises the 2005 report of the INCB because of its negative attitude to harm reduction and decriminalization.
The 2005 annual report of the International Narcotic Control Board can be downloaded here!
National drug policies
· the Board condemns the efforts of some countries (like the Netherlands and Canada) to lift the criminal sanctions against drug users. It does not to appreciate though that these countries operate progressive and succesful social and health care services for drug users and forgets to mention that these law reforms are fully in accordance with the UN drug conventions. Even the 1988 Treaty allows member states to decide if the criminalization of drug users is conformed to „constitutional principles” and „basic concept of the domestic legal system”.
· in addition, the Board „notes the commitment” of the government of the Russian Federation to „addressing the problems of drug abuse”. HCLU beleives that the drug policy of the Russian Federation failed to address the growing health and social problems related to injecting drug use, what is more, the government is largely responsible for the escalation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is mostly driven by unsafe injecting practices. Methadon substitution programs, which could have a crucial role in preventing blood blorn infections according to WHO and UNAIDS recommendations, still have an illegal status in Russia.
Medical Use of illicit substances
· the Board criticises countries which legalized the medical use of cannabis in their attempt to provide access to this medication for people living with incurable diseases. HCLU points out that there is substantial scientific evidence about the relative effectiveness and safety of cannabis-based medicines in treating several health conditions. Further research on this issue is often witheld by national governments which have not been providing the necessary funding for the research on the medical use of illicit substances.
· the Board appreciates the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which confirmed the right of the federal authorities to prosecute seriously ill people using cannabis for medical purposes. The criminalization of those people who use drugs in conformity with state legislations violates their basic human rights.
· the Board reiterates its position that safer injection rooms contravene the major principles of the UN drug treaties, therefore they encourage governments to close them. However, according to a recent study conducted by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) these services are effective in reducing the harmful consequences of drug use (e.g. overdoses and infections), while they do not accelerate drug use itself.
HCLU emphasizes the grave responsibility of the INCB in obstructing the introduction of effective HIV prevention programs supported by WHO and UNAIDS. The Board plays a crucial role in maintaining the mass criminalization of drug users all around the world.
Article on the most popular Hungarian newsportal, citing the HCLU release word by word: