Why Does The United Nations Find It So Hard To Talk About Drugs?

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I have just watched the closing plenary session of the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem here in New York. Presidents and Prime Ministers will now move on to the climate change summit that opens tomorrow, and the thousands of government and NGO delegates who have filled the UN building in Manhattan over the last 3 days will catch their flights back to all corners of the globe. So was it worth it – three years of preparation, tens of millions of dollars of travel and meeting costs, and countless hours of debate and negotiation. Is the international community any better placed to reduce the health, social and economic problems associated with illicit drug markets?

Judging by the consensus declaration agreed here by all member states, the answer has to be no. It is 14 pages of dense text that, despite some welcome statements on...

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