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    Wednesday, June 27, 2018

    The need for evidence-based approach in the fight against drug abuse

    Photo credit by: Burst.Shopify.com
    On 7th December 1987, the United Nations adopted June 26th of every year as a day set aside for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, this is because the fight against drug abuse has become a global issue; thus, the world must come together – hand in hand, to combat this dangerous conflagration with the aim of reducing it to the barest minimum and preventing it from becoming an uncontrollable paroxysm.
    One significant problem however in the global fight against drug abuse is the inability of governments around the world to device a universal model in its approach to reducing drug abuse and illicit trafficking. While crimes of drug abuse and trafficking are punishable by death in some countries, it attracts life sentences in others and a few, other approaches are employed.
    It brings us to the question of ‘what is the best approach to be employed in the fight against drug abuse?'
    The answer to this question is simple yet complicated. The best approaches are those that have been proven to yield results, and everyone agrees with this; what is posing as a problem, however, are the approaches themselves! Many countries believe that the procedures outlined are against their social values and personal ideologies, so they are adamant in employing them despite their proven track records and the results achieved through them.
    It has in no small way hampered the global fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. One approach which many countries have adopted and are still taking is the criminalization of drug users, and this hasn't helped in any way whatsoever. Countries that have decriminalized drugs like Portugal have recorded mass improvements in their drug battle, but this success is irrelevant if it isn't reflected on the world scale because this is a global fight, not an individual one.
    There is a definite need for evidence-based drug approaches in the global fight against drug abuse, to put an end to the current ‘one step forward, two steps backward' model currently being adopted.
    Evidence-based approaches involve the creation of policies and reforms based on results and shreds of evidence, rather than personal ideologies and assumptions. World leaders hold their citizens the responsibility to protect them from harm even if it means copying a working model from a country they initially do not have good diplomatic relationships with.
    The United Nations must adopt evidence-based drug policies and implemented worldwide if we are serious about winning the war against drug abuse and illegal trafficking. World leaders and governments must put the welfare of citizens above all and agree that every citizen irrespective of their drug use status is entitled to the protection of life and fundamental human rights.
    Evidence-based policies like Decriminalization of Drugs, Harm Reduction, Drug Regulation, Rehabilitation and Support of drug Users, etc. which have yielded positive results in a country like Portugal which is known for its high rate of drug abuse, should be adopted.
    According to the United Nations, the theme for this year's Campaign is ‘Listen First.' World leaders must listen to the cry for help from drug users and accept that these people should be supported, rather than have their problems compounded through arrest and prosecution.

    I will end with the campaign slogan of the International Drug Policy Consortium – “SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH!”

    by: Sebastiane Ebatamehi

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