4/19/16 ABC News
The first U.N. special session to address global drug policy in nearly 20 years is expected to feature a debate over whether countries should emphasize criminalization and punishment or health and human rights.
Hundreds of government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and individuals from civil society will attend when the General Assembly convenes Tuesday for a three-day special session at U.N. headquarters on the world drug problem.
Since the last special session on the topic in 1998, which ended with the lofty but unattainable goal of ridding the planet of illegal drugs by 2008, a growing number of government officials, drug policy analysts and individuals have criticized the international drug control system.
Last month, The Global Commission on Drug Policy — whose members include former presidents of Mexico and Brazil, as well as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson — said in a statement that discussions in Vienna drafting the special session’s outcome document relied too heavily on an outdated law-and-order approach that emphasizes criminal justice and prohibition.