Over the past 60 years, governments have embarked on a global ‘war on drugs’ which has entirely failed to achieve its stated goal of a ‘drug-free world’. Instead, these policies have only succeeded in stimulating highly coercive state responses that prioritise surveillance, punishment and criminalisation while increasing harms.
This punitive focus is costly and harmful – for those criminalised, their families, and their communities.
Criminalisation is a driver of marginalisation, trauma and risks. It disproportionately harms people already surviving multiple forms of oppression: economic deprivation, patriarchal violence, racism, ableism, serophobia, just to name a few.
Punitive responses also syphon resources away from what our communities really need and rightfully deserve: access to adequate healthcare, nourishing food, stable housing, sustainable livelihoods and caring environments.
This briefing (available in English, French and Portuguese), produced by IDPC and ARASA under the Support. Don’t Punish banner provides an overview of the key questions that drug decriminalisation advocates should consider to demand reform.