1. Human rights law is core element of the legal framework for drug policy

This new legal framework should focus on:

  • Public health: develop drug policies that include prevention and counselling, treatment and care programmes, harm reduction, rehabilitation and improved access to essential medicines.
  • Development: refocusing drug strategies on development, poverty reduction, and social and economic development amongst marginalised communities.
  • Human security: refocusing drug law enforcement efforts on those most responsible for controlling and expanding drug markets.

2. (Re)itegration in Society, not marginalisation

  • Drug policies should avoid measures that worsen the marginalisation of people who use drugs, encourage them instead in reintegration and not focus on punitive measures. Drug dependence should be considered as a health problem, rather than a criminal one.
  • Prevention programmes should be designed to avoid measures that inhibit dependent drug users’ healthy transition to adulthood (such as exclusion from school or denial of services).
  • Drug treatment programmes should enable users to reintegrate successfully into society.
  • Representatives of the groups most affected by drug policy should be included in the design and implementation of drug policies and programmes.

3. Policies should focus on reducing the harmful consequences

  • Harm reduction encompasses all measures that reduce the range of economic, social and health-related harms for the individual, the community and the overall population. In adopting this pragmatic approach, governments should start by assessing the drug-related harms that have the most negative impact on their citizens, and then design and implement policies that tackle these specific problems.

4. Open and constructive relationships between governments and civil society orgnisations

  • Engagement with civil society should be premised on the principles of participation, transparency and accountability, and aim at: Facilitating effective communication between policy makers and key civil society stakeholders, making sure that people and communities are involved in planning interventions that will impact on them.
  • Seeking mutually beneficial partnerships with civil society organisations to undertake joint programming and/or act as programme implementers.
  • Stimulating a vibrant network of civil society organisations that can continue to support effective policy design and implementation.
  • Increasing monitoring and evaluation capability.