With the slogan ’Occupy UNODC Vienna 2012’ the critics of current drug policies based on three UN Conventions will unite during the forthcoming annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
Fifty years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, the global war on drugs has failed, and has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide. Use of the major controlled drugs has risen, and supply is cheaper, purer and more available than ever before. The UN conservatively estimates that there are now 250 million drug users worldwide.
Illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world, after food and oil, estimated to be worth $450 billion a year, all in the control of criminals. Fighting the war on drugs costs the world’s taxpayers incalculable billions each year. An estimated 10 million people are in prison worldwide for drug-related offences, mostly “little fish” – personal users and small-time dealers. Corruption amongst law-enforcers and politicians, especially in producer and transit countries, has spread as never before, endangering democracy and civil society. Stability, security and development are threatened by the fallout from the war on drugs, as are human rights. Tens of thousands of people die in the drug war each year.