The UN Drug Summit Was A Failure

Press Release June 9, 1998
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Ethan Nadelmann, Director of the Lindesmith Center, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the UN General Assembly Special Session, “the Drug Summit.” “Like the drug war itself, the UN drug summit was a failure – it was a bad pep rally for a bad policy. Rather then producing the intended unity, the Drug Summit exposed deep divisions between the United States and Mexico, between producing and consuming countries, and between the drug war zealots who advocate more spending on a failed policy and the reformers who want new approaches to protect our countries and our children. Because the credibility of the UN as an institution is so important to preserve, I predict the UN will never again hold such a one-sided promotional event for this failed policy.

“At the same time, this is a turning point in the development of a truly international movement for the reform of drug policy. More then 500 global leaders signed a letter to the UN saying ‘the drug war is now causing more harm then drug abuse itself.’ We — scientists and physicians, elected officials and law enforcement experts, public health and public policy experts – are now being heard. Common sense approaches – from medical marijuana to needle exchange – are now within the mainstream of public debate.”

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

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