Vancouver, British Columbia, was the scene this week of an international conference on drug policy, affiliated with the United Nations, that didn't turn out the way the UN imagined it. Organized as part of the UN's Beyond 2008 global forum to review the accomplishments and failures of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, the Vancouver conference sent the UN a strong message: end drug prohibition.
Attended by harm reductionists, treatment providers, prevention specialists, anti-prohibitionists and others from the US and Canada, the Vancouver forum differed greatly in tone and content from the other regional forums held so far as part of a process overseen by the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs, which works with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to incorporate the views of non-governmental organizations and civil society into the crafting of the next UNGASS drug strategy. In other regional forums, drug treatment and prevention forces dominated the conversation, as in the North American forum held last month in St. Petersburg, Florida, where groups like the Drug Free America Foundation held sway.
But in Vancouver, pioneer of the four-pillars policy (prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and law enforcement), home of the continent's only safe injection site, and ground zero for Canada's cannabis culture, it was a different story. Organizers there made sure it wasn't just another prohibitionist gathering.
Read why in the rest of this report from StoptheDrugWar.org HERE