Supporting Health and Human Rights in Drug Policy: Brief to the Minister of Health and Canadian Delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 62nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna on March 14th and 15th is the next significant meeting of UN Member States to focus on global drug policy. In CND Resolution 60/1, Member States decided that the Ministerial Segment will be the moment “to take stock of the implementation of the commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem, in particular in light of the 2019 target date” that was laid out in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the Commission. The Ministerial Segment follows three years after the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in April 2016.

The Canadian Civil Society Working Group on UN Drug Policy has put together the following priority issues, as negotiations proceed in the lead up to the 62nd session of the CND and its High-Level Ministerial Segment this March.

Summary of Recommendations

  1. Promote and implement a public health approach to drugs, based on scientific evidence and human rights
  2. Respect, protect and fulfill human rights
  3. Support harm reduction as a key component of a comprehensive response to drugs
  4. Pursue and support the decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal consumption as essential to a public health and human rights-based approach
  5. Reflect the realities of drug policies on the ground, both positive and negative
  6. Reject ill-conceived and unrealistic demands for a “drug-free world”
  7. Ensure system-wide coherence by promoting and adopting more comprehensive and sophisticated indicators for evaluating the impacts of drug policy
  8. Ensure full access to essential medicines and facilitate research on potential therapeutic uses of psychotropic substances
  9. Recognize the effect of policies on youth, support evidence-based education, and meaningfully include young people in policy-making discussions
  10. Ensure diverse representation at key international meetings on drugs

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