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March 2012
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Red Cross

Red Cross Weighs in on Drug Criminalization

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is one of the oldest and most eminent global health organizations in the world. IFRC influences the community-level services of millions of health professionals in its local and national chapters and is a respected leader in emergency health services. It was therefore of note that at the recent annual session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the IFRC representative spoke not only about the harm reduction work that the organization has long supported but about drug policy more generally.

In particular, the IFRC called on the member states of CND to turn away from criminalization of drug use in their national policies. […]

To conclude, the IFRC, on behalf of the most vulnerable people affected by drug use, strongly calls upon key stakeholders and donors to exert all possible efforts to gather knowledge on the scale of the drug use epidemic at country level and decide on the proper response accordingly. Criminalization, discrimination and stigmatization are not such responses. Laws and prosecutions do not stop people from taking drugs. Neither does the cold turkey methods of detoxification that can be potentially life-threatening. On the contrary, governments should recognize once and for all that a humanitarian drug policy works!

Good to see. And the Red Cross has huge respect globally.

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10 comments to Red Cross

  • Curmudgeon

    Is it my imagination, or are those bricks falling out of that wall?
    thud, thud, thud…

    • Good call Curmudgeon… I was just gonna warn folks to don those hardhats. I like the sound of multiple thuds.

      I swear… swing those hammers lads and lassies!

      When will we reach that Berlin Wall moment of critical mass? Can’t say. But I can say we’re building a formidable momentum and there’s one of them thar laws of psychics that very well explanationizes what happens to stuff standing in front of large speeding objects… we be da objects, we already have reached impact speed, we’re aimed dead center and every bit of added mass (like the Red Cross, the NAACP, Pat Robertson…) ensures that damn wall will go.

      What a great year to have a massive smoke-in. Somewhere, everywhere…

      And it bears repeating, in all of the concerts and festivals I’ve worked RockMed in a decade, I know of one incident where a cannabis induced intoxication needed intervention… and that was someone who was not a cannabis consumer but was dosed with a heavy weight baked goodie. Which, as we all know, is most definitely very uncool.

      I know, I know… I’ve a history of saying “if I had [place prohibitionist name here], I’d lock them in the closet with me while I smoke the gas mask pipe and get them so stoned…” Well, tho’ I know the temptation would be darn near heart attack strong, I just couldn’t do it (I’m an older, more mature man these days… wink wink, nudge nudge)

      I couldn’t waste the smoke I mean…

      • Duncan20903

        I would never force anyone to get high on an illegal drug., even a prohibitionist. I’d hook the gas mask up to a gallon of high test gasoline and let them enjoy an absolutely 100% legal way to get high.

  • Peter

    I’m glad they mentioned discrimination and stigmatization, as well as criminalization. In many cases the greatest harm done to the victim of drug war policy is the after-effects of criminalization, which lasts a lifetime. The prohibs like sabet who minimize the effects on the individual of an arrest for cannabis need to be countered with the facts of their discrimination: eviction from public housing, lifetime denial of food stamps and other financial benefits like educational funding, immigration benefits, voting rights, etc. etc. It is no longer legal to discriminate against a prospective employee on the basis of race or sex, but it is still permitted to refuse to hire anyone who has a felony drug conviction, and this includes possession of even the tiniest amounts. Jim Crow laws went away and came back in a new guise, the wosd. The more respected medical organisations like the Red Cross and the California AMA get involved in pointing out this injustice the quicker the civil rights atrocity of prohibition will be seen for what it is.

    • Peter

      I should have included the stealing of the individual’s children by social services following a drug conviction as one more consequence

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Tough drug laws harm health and safety, doctors say
    Governments urged to consider new approaches
    CBC News Posted: Mar 28, 2012 3:53 AM ET

    Criminalizing the use of marijuana and other tough on crime approaches haven’t worked, say public health doctors from across Canada who propose taxation and regulation instead.

    The chief medical health officers in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan wrote a paper reviewing the evidence on Canada’s current illicit drug policies in Wednesday’s issue of the journal Open Medicine.
    /snip/
    ——
    /snip/
    Looking at illegal drugs solely based on a criminal justice approach has failed, said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical health officer, a co-author of the paper.

    “For the last decade, Portugal has decriminalized all drug use and they have some of the lowest rates of drug use in Europe and they have some of the least amounts of harm from drug use,” Strang said.

    In contrast, drug use hasn’t decreased since the $1-trillion US “war on drugs” was declared and aggressive drug law enforcement began.
    /snip/

  • claygooding

    In my young adult days they worried about hippies with flowers in their hair and in order to protect America from them they created a black market for herb and now instead of children being raised on songs of self expression and love they get rap promoting violence and disrespect for the law,,they call this progress?

  • Ed Dunkle

    So, in about 500 years the Pope will be against prohibition. The Catholic Church has to be the ultimate lagging indicator.

  • Emma

    This is really significant. There are so many medical professionals who are sympathetic to drug reform but have been silent because they don’t want to look like irresponsible fringe freaks (or perhaps trigger colleagues to wonder if they a pot smoker). With an endorsement from IFRC, actual drug reform, and not just some half-way bandaid, is now the starting point for discussion.

    When prohibitionists are forced to defend themselves, it’s obvious they don’t have anything but outdated hysteria.