Trump Hosts U.N. Meeting on Drug Policy, Calls For Escalation of Global Drug War and a “Drug-Free World”

Press Release September 24, 2018
Media Contact

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Hannah Hetzer 917-701-7060

This morning, President Trump kicked off his appearance at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly by hosting a meeting called “The World Drug Problem”. U.N. Member States were invited to this early morning session at which Trump spoke of “eradicating” drug addiction and creating a “drug-free future” and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley praised Trump for his leadership on this issue in the U.S. and his readiness to “take this leadership worldwide”.

The event was tied to “The Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem,” a document that the U.S. Mission to the U.N. circulated to invited participants to sign in advance. If countries signed on to the document – the text of which diverges significantly from the latest consensus within the U.N. drug policy debates and was “not open for negotiation” – they were promised an invitation to today’s event and photo-op. 

Statement by Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance: 

“This is clearly an attempt by the Trump Administration to use a global platform to feign leadership on an issue for which they have no real solutions. When it comes to the overdose crisis in the U.S., this administration has continually ignored proven, health-centered solutions, while espousing outdated, draconian rhetoric and calling for a ‘drug-free world’.

“From his support for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug war, to his proposal to execute people who sell drugs in the U.S., Trump has shown complete disdain for human rights and international law. President Trump is the last person who should be defining the global debate on drug policy.

“The U.S., which has some of the world’s worst rates of mass incarceration and overdose deaths, could learn a lot from other countries that have significantly lower rates of incarceration and overdose deaths because they reduced the role of criminalization in drug policy.” 

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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