Magazine article Geographical

New Ideas in Drugs War

Magazine article Geographical

New Ideas in Drugs War

Article excerpt

Next month will see a pivotal UN summit review strategies to combat the criminal drugs trade. Could the new Sustainable Development Goals lead the way?

The so-called 'war on drugs' has become a lightening rod for all sides of the political spectrum, conjuring images of heavily armed gangs and aggressive military actions.

The question now is not whether to end the war on drugs, but what to replace its failed policies with,' insists Dr John Collins, coordinator of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project and editor of a report recommending adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed at the 70th UN General Assembly meeting, as a new core strategy for combating the drugs trade.

'The path to drug peace becomes clearer if we look to the SDGs as the way to address the root causes of many socioeconomic problems, one of which is problematic drug use,' says Collins 'A distinction remains between drug policy and everything else. You need to focus on the things that actually matter for human development making sure the development goals are prioritised above drug control This is not a supply reduction issue or demand reduction issue--its first and foremost a sustainable development issue. If states pursue prohibitionist policies in the absence of development and political integration, the result is usually instability, violence and failures on drug control goals.'

A UN General Assembly Special Session CUNGASS) on drugs takes place 19 to 21 April a meeting originally scheduled for 2019, but brought forward at the insistence of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia "When member states come together at the UNGASS,' explains Michael Cox, Director of LSE IDEAS, they won't have to look further than Colombia to see that the current strategy is well and truly broken. …

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