Drug use should be decriminalized and governments should experiment with drug legalization and regulation, a group of former world leaders argues in a new report published on Monday night.
The recommendations from the Global Commission on Drug Policy reflect the views of the former leaders of some of the countries hardest hit by the illegal drug trade. In the report, they strongly argue that a costly global war on drugs has not only failed but threatens public health, fosters discrimination and fuels the very crime and violence it seeks to prevent.
“The facts speak for themselves. It is time to change course,” former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, one of the commissioners, says in a statement. “We need drug policies informed by evidence of what actually works, rather than policies that criminalize drug use while failing to provide access to effective prevention or treatment. This has led not only to overcrowded jails but also to severe health and social problems.”
The group’s other commissioners include George Shultz, former secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, billionaire Richard Branson and the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland and Poland. They plan to meet on Tuesday afternoon with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson.