The drug control regime that emerged during the last century has proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights. Focused overwhelmingly on criminalization and punishment, it created a vast illicit market that has enriched criminal organizations, corrupted governments, triggered explosive violence, distorted economic markets and undermined basic moral values.
Humankind cannot afford a 21 st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s. A new global response to drugs is needed, grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.
The role of criminalization and criminal justice must be limited to the extent truly required to protect health and safety. Leadership must come from those who recognize that psychoactive drug use is first and foremost a matter of health. Drug control efforts must never do more harm than good, or cause more harm than drug misuse itself.
We need to have society focus on helping people recover from drug addiction. The war on the poor and abused in society by our legal system just makes things worse. We need to improve.
The unprecedented list of signatories includes a range of people from Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders to businessmen Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, Barry Diller, actors Michael Douglas and Woody Harrelson, Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, singers John Legend and Mary J. Blige, activists Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gloria Steinem and Michelle Alexander, as well as distinguished legislators, cabinet ministers, and former UN officials.
There is a great deal of human suffering caused by drug addiction and abuse (including alcohol and the abuse of prescription drugs). We need to create solutions to help people avoid ruining their lives and the lives of those they love. Our police attacking those people and wagging war on them is not something society should tolerate.
Related: Funding Drug Addiction Treatment Would Cost 1/7 the Cost of the Current Criminal System Focused Policy – Drug Treatment Funding Can More Than Pay For Itself With Reduced Crime Costs – The Causes of Drug Addiction are Complex – The War on Drugs has been a Huge Failure with Massive Unintended Consequences