United Nations Leading International War on Drugs
Curbing drug use isn’t something that can be solely dealt with at a national level. Effective policies must be put in place on a global scale. In 2010, approximately 5 percent of people all over the world, or 230 million individuals, admitted to engaging in illegal drug use at least once.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been working since 1961 to control drug use in order to preserve public health and welfare. Each year, illegal drugs claim the lives of around 200,000 people. So many of these individuals might not have had to die had they received the help they needed.
Since its inception, the organization has made an effort to combat this issue not only with law enforcement, but also with policies that would address the deeper core issues of health and addiction.
According to Reuters, the UNODC global drug conventions that took place in 1961, 1971 and 1988 have helped standardize the world’s drug regulation policies, reducing the proliferation of illegal drugs. In fact, even as the world’s population has continued to multiply over the last hundred years, global production of opium, for instance, has decreased by 80 percent.
Many individuals addicted to drugs are sick and do not belong in a prison with hardcore criminals. While there are those who would say that legalizing drugs is the answer to combat the international drug problem, proponents of the UNODC efforts say that current measures are working.
But for these measures to continue being effective, countries around the world must offer education, rehabilitation, and social reintegration programs to drug offenders rather than prison sentences. Receiving these individuals as patients instead of criminals presents the greatest opportunity for change so that everyone has the chance to lead a healthy life free from drugs and crime.
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