Reflection on the Global Commission on Drug Policy Report: ‘The War on Drugs Has Failed’

Editors’ Note: We’re delighted to publish a guest post today from Ingrid Walker, an Associate Professor of Arts, Media and Culture in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Tacoma.  Prof. Walker presented a paper, “Between Addiction and Interdiction: A Phenomenology of Using in the U.S. Drug War,” at the recent ADHS conference.  Here, she offers some reflections on the recent report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.  A link to the report is at the end of the post.

While the other passengers on my return flight from the Buffalo ADHS conference dove into summer reading, I expressed my academic geekitude by pulling out a report published in June by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP). From the opening declaration that “the global war on drugs has failed,” I unexpectedly found myself engaged in the policy equivalent of a page-turner. The GCDP’s report is well researched and makes a set of recommendations that fundamentally confront drug control policy and practice in countries that have championed a “war” on drugs. Following the lead of organizations and states that have focused on illicit drug use as a human rights issue, the Commission takes a progressive position on drug use, policy, and interdiction and pulls no punches as it calls for profound revision of drug policies worldwide. The report makes a persuasive call for depoliticized, knowledgeable discourse and action.

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