United Nations General Assembly Special Session, or UNGASS, is a meeting of UN member states to assess and debate global issues, and, last week, there was a special session held on global drug policy at the UN headquarters in New York. The last time a special session on drugs was held in 1998, its focus was the total elimination of drugs from the world. Today, after almost two more decades of a punitive international drug war that has led to more than a hundred thousand deaths in Mexico alone, many countries are realizing we cannot continue to afford, economically or socially, the costs of prosecuting this war. Several countries called for this meeting, and there was intense and fractious debate over the three days of hearings.
JCPA Director of Legal Affairs and Policy Development Hanna Dershowitz attended, hearing speakers from dozens of countries discussing the global drug architecture. Many of them espoused positions close to those of JCPA, seeking a more compassionate, just, and health- and human rights-centered approach. Click here to read the interfaith letter JCPA joined calling for more public health- and harm reduction-centered approaches rather than criminal justice and incarceration approaches.