For a change in global drug policy: the necessary development approach

May 6, 2024 | Publications, Working Papers (en) |

Francisco Javier Sagredo Fernández

The need for drug policy reform is crucial to improving global governance. This reform must consider both compliance with international conventions and the contradictions of the international drug regime with other global frameworks and agendas, such as human rights and sustainable development. It is also imperative to recognise the profound impact that drug policies have on democratic governance in many countries, which underlines the importance of broadening and deepening the debate and knowledge on this issue.

Javier Sagredo proposes changing the global punitive approach to drugs, which has historically promoted prohibition and criminalisation. This approach has proven to have negative effects on the fulfilment of sustainable development goals and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. Substantial changes are therefore required in the rules and institutions that shape the international drug control regime.

This issue, although rooted in past decades, remains extremely relevant today due to the challenges faced by some democratic governments in responding effectively to the growth of organised crime and increasing violence. It is vital to encourage the participation of various development actors in the creation of a new generation of public policies and regulations on drugs that promote the improvement of the living conditions of affected people and communities, especially the most vulnerable. Developing and reforming national drug strategies or plans with a focus on substantially improving outcomes for human rights and sustainable development is not only interesting, but politically feasible. In this context, this working paper aims to bring an innovative approach to drug policy that opens up the possibility of developing and testing new and more effective public policy strategies that are also more humane.


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