LIVE Enjoy Science - The Appeal to the Member States of the United Nations Sign Now

Save the Date: 30 March from 6 to 8 pm CET – The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs: Sixty Years of an Epic Fail?

Sixty years have passed since the adoption of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Despite the continued relaunch of the war on drugs the international drug control regime has been unable to reduce or contain the presence of psychoactive substances all over the world.

The Single Convention, amended in 1972 and the other Conventions adopted in 1971 and 1988 have virtually had no effect on the world drug market creating widespread and systematic human right violations at the trans-national level. 

After to Special Sessions of the UN General Assembly in 1998 and 2016 entirely dedicated do drugs, in 2019 Governments themselves, meeting at the United Nations in Vienna admitted that:

Both the range of drugs and drugs markets are expanding and diversifying; the abuse, illicit cultivation and production and manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as the illicit trafficking in those substances and in precursors, have reached record levels, illicit demand for and the domestic diversion of precursor chemicals are on the rise.

Increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in persons, trafficking in firearms, cybercrime and money-laundering and, in some cases, terrorism, including money-laundering in connection with the financing of terrorism, are observed all over.

The value of confiscated proceeds of crime related to money-laundering arising from drug trafficking at the global level remains low; the availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, including for the relief of pain and palliative care, remains low to non-existent in many parts of the world.

Drug treatment and health services continue to fall short of meeting needs and deaths related to drug use have increased; the rate of transmission of HIV, the hepatitis C virus and other blood-borne diseases associated with drug use, including injecting drug use in some countries, remains high. 

The adverse health consequences of and risks associated with new psychoactive substances have reached alarming levels; synthetic opioids and the non-medical use of prescription drugs pose increasing risks to public health and safety, as well as scientific, legal and regulatory challenges, including with regard to the scheduling of substances.

The criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug-related activities is increasing; the geographical coverage and availability of reliable data on the various aspects of the world drug problem requires improvement”[1].

We have witnessed decades of a war on people, even bigger than the one on substances, a violent war that has caused tragedy, such as recently in the Philippines. 

This epic fail is also the very cause of health, social, environmental and economic problems all over the world due to the implementation of repressive drug policies derived from the UN Conventions. 

The cradle of the war on drugs is opening up, if not leading the way, to the legal regulation of some substances, the consensus at the UN is no longer there – and the vote on cannabis on 2 December 2020 is a testimony to that – it is therefore necessary to further motivate and mobilize civil society to urge governments around the world to face the facts and the evidence and demand new drug policies that put human rights and people first.

[1] Ministerial declaration on strengthening our actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem, Vienna March 2019

 30 March 2021 from 6 pm to 8 pm CET


 Webinar on Zoom platform + live streaming
Simultaneous interpretation English – Italian

Chairman: Marco Perduca, Science for Democracy 5 minutes

6 pm: International Conventions and the global drug control system
– Grazia Zuffa, la Società della Ragione 10 minutes
– Martin Jelsma* TNI 15 minutes

 6:30 pm The impact of global drug policies
– Marie Nougier* IDPC Taking stock – 10 minutes
– Prof. Francisco Thoumi*, Science, research, access to drugs – 10 minutes
– Julie Hannah*, Director of the International Center on Human Rights and Drug Policy, Human Rights – 10 minutes
– Neil Woods*, UK LEAP, Law Enforcement  – 10 minutes

Questions and answers 10 minutes

19:10 pm Reforms and struggles for alternative global policies – the agenda of social movements:
– Ann Fordham* IDPC 10 minutes
– Steve Rolles Transform 10 minutes
– Kassandra Frederique DPA 10 minutes
(alternatives Lisa Sanchez MUCD, Nazlee Maghsoudi Center on Drug Policy Evaluation, Alejandro Madrazo DPA) 

7:40 pm Debate

8 pm conclusions
– Susanna Ronconi, Forum Droghe

Promoted by: Luca Coscioni Association, CGIL, Forum Droghe, Società della Ragione, Science for Democracy.