Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Policies on Young People

Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Policies on Young People

Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Policies on Young People

Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Policies on Young People

Excerpt

The drugs law will save our children and young generation

Andi Mattalatta,
Indonesian Law and Human Rights Minister

We are all children of the drug war. While the term was coined by President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, the seeds of the “war on drugs” had been sown many decades earlier. International drug conventions began to be adopted at the turn of the twentieth century, and the bedrock of the international system of drug control, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, is fifty years old in 2011. Certainly, for any of those born in the latter half of the twentieth century, whether they noticed it or not, they were growing up in the midst of the war on drugs. Whether they noticed depends on many things, in particular, where they grew up and under what conditions. For some it depends on who they are. This book is about the impact of the war on drugs on children, young people, and their families today, and the policy questions raised when children are placed at the forefront of the debate.

Whether or not to reform drug laws is not the focal debate of this book. That is a debate that has been widely covered. Indeed, at the time of writing it is high on the agenda in various parts of Europe and Latin America, as well as the United States and Australia. In October 2010, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Anand Grover, submitted a report to the UN General Assembly calling for an overhaul of the international drug control system. At present, more than 17,000 individuals and organizations, including ex-presidents and Nobel laureates, have signed the Vienna Declaration—a global call for a fundamental shift in drug policy in order to tackle HIV/ AIDS. And in November 2010, Californians went to the polls to vote on proposition 19 to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis sales. It lost by a narrow margin, and is expected to be tabled again in 2012, along with similar propositions in multiple states.

It is accepted that change is needed, but how should laws and policies be reformulated if children and young people are, this time, to . . .

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