UN Agency Says Drug War Has ‘Major Human Rights Impacts,’ Urging Countries To Instead Adopt A Public-Health Approach

Published 3 days ago  on September 21, 2023

By Ben Adlin

A new United Nations report highlights the many human rights concerns raised by the war on drugs, urging member states to shift from punitive drug-control policies to an approach rooted in public health. Dealing with drugs as a criminal problem, the report says, is causing further harm.

“Laws, policies and practices deployed to address drug use must not end up exacerbating human suffering,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said in a statement Wednesday. “The drugs problem remains very concerning, but treating people who use drugs as criminals is not the solution.”

“States should move away from the current dominant focus on prohibition, repression and punishment,” Türk continued, “and instead embrace laws, policies and practices anchored in human rights and aimed at harm reduction.”

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