… and the drug war makes that practically impossible.
Just saw another of many international stories of how drug users and addicts are treated: Pakistan drug rehab kept addicts in chains
Pakistani police say they have discovered drug addicts held in chains at an Islamic seminary in Karachi that offered rehabilitation services.
Police officer Akram Naeem said Tuesday that the parents of the 60 young men held at the seminary paid it to cure their children, or simply to take them off their hands.
Sound familiar? We had our own experience with torturing children in the name of fixing their drug problems with programs like Straight.
This is a continuing problem all over the world.
For years, Human Rights Watch has noted the problems of conditions in Vietnam drug detention centers.
We uncovered strong evidence that these facilities force detainees to produce goods for local Vietnamese companies, some of which supply multinational companies, under dangerous and degrading conditions for little or no compensation.
This past week, it seemed that maybe we were going to do something about this, with tweets from Rafael Lemaitre of the ONDCP (“ONDCP and NIDA Voice Concerns over #Vietnam’s Approach to Drug Treatment…”) and Kevin Sabet (“ONDCP/NIDA condemn inhumane drug treatment conditions in Vietnam. Good stuff…”), pointing to the White House blog: ONDCP and NIDA Voice Concerns over Vietnam’s Approach to Drug Treatment. The indication was that a letter had been sent.
Ah, a letter.
If a foreign country doesn’t jump in and fight the drug war to the satisfaction of the U.S., it can face decertification and severe sanctions.
But lock drug users up and use them for forced labor, and you get a letter. Maybe. As Transform asked “Have they made similar statements about the similar HRW reports re China and Cambodia?”
Here’s the real kicker, though.
I assumed when glancing at the blog that ONDCP and NIDA had sent a letter to Vietnam protesting their human rights abuses. Weak, perhaps, but at least something.
No, they sent a letter to Human Rights Watch.
In the blog post they noted that “The United States does not in any way condone the forced labor or inhumane conditions described in Human Rights Watchâ€™s report on drug rehabilitation facilities in Vietnam.”
But the real reason for the letter to HRW was to defend themselves against accusations that Vietnam was justifying their actions based on NIDA principles.
NIDA’s Principles of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment includes: “Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.” This statement is apparently being used as a justification by other countries.
So the bulk of the ONDCP/NIDA letter to HRW about the Vietnam situation was to explain that they really don’t mean it that way.
“We were also concerned to hear that the research-based guidelines enumerated in NIDA’s Principles of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment were being misinterpreted to justify practices that do not appear to be primarily focused on providing addicted individuals with the best available treatments. Far from providing a justification for violent of punitive coercion, the principle stating that “Treatment does not have to be voluntary to be effective” is based on evidence that treatment entered as a result of a criminal justice mandate to avoid imprisonment, or even within a criminal justice setting, can be successful.”
Why tell this to Human Rights Watch? Tell Vietnam to stop it!
You’re the government of the most powerful country on earth. You control the international drug war and have your own drug war offices in 62 countries.
If you really care about human rights, you could do something about it.