Human Rights and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

This week, governments and a number of drug policy organizations came together at the 53rd Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Several OSI grantees attended with the aim of increasing civil society input in the process.

A side event on access to opioid medication took place on Monday organized by the WHO, the Vienna NGO Committee on drugs, and Open Society Institute, among others.  Experts from Uganda, India, Panama and Central Asia presented success stories highlighting how the barriers to access were overcome in these respective countries.

At a lunchtime event on Tuesday, the International Drug Policy Consortium launched its drug policy guide for national governments that collates research, best practices, and recommendations for the development of effective drug policy.

An excellent debate on drug treatment took place on the same day, delineating between drug use, drug dependence, and evidence-based interventions required for effective drug treatment. The US deputy drug czar's speech signaled a considerable shift in the United States' position on drug treatment:

The US is seeking policies that will make various types of treatment more available. There's no reason why an addicted individual cannot receive the same kind of care as someone with diabetes or another health condition.

Today the UN Office on Drugs and Crime made its strongest statement yet regarding human rights, presenting a report on mainstreaming human rights within the UN drug control system.

Despite the UNODC's stated enthusiasm for including civil society, the Executive Director's meeting with NGOs was not successful. Mr. Costa lost his cool early on  making for a difficult dialogue.

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