Pubdate: Tue, 19 Apr 2016
Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Copyright: 2016 The Commercial Appeal
Author: Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post


The global war on drugs has proved "disastrous" and "humankind cannot 
afford a 21st century drug policy as ineffective and 
counter-productive as the last century's." So say more than 1,000 
world leaders, including 27 members of the House of Representatives 
and six U.S. senators, in a letter to the United Nations ahead of a 
major international drug summit happening this week.

The letter's signatories also include 24 current and former law 
enforcement officials, 37 members of the clergy, more than 230 health 
and medical professionals and a colorful slate of celebrities, 
athletes and business leaders, including DJ Khaled, Michael Douglas, 
Tom Brady and Warren Buffett.

"The drug control regime that emerged during the last century has 
proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights," the 
letter states. "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."

The U.N. General Assembly will hold a special session on global drug 
policy in New York this week. The purpose of the meeting is to set 
the tone and focus of global drug policy for the coming decades.

The last time the U.N. held such a session was in 1998. Proceeding 
under the official motto of "a drug-free world - we can do it," 
member states vowed to "promote a society free of drug abuse" and to 
"develop strategies with a view to eliminating or significantly 
reducing" the production and use of illicit substances by 2008.
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