Women’s Declaration Calling for Global Drug Policies that Support Women, Children, and Families

by *** | 4th November 2015 10:11 am

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On the occasion of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, organizations from around the world working toward gender equality call on the international community to end punitive drug policies that threaten the rights, health, and wellbeing of women, children, and families

More than 50 years after the international community adopted the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, calling addiction “a serious evil for the individual and a “social and economic danger to mankind,” our understanding has evolved. As recognized by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:

The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. . . . fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.

Punitive drug control policies have especially failed women and families. The current global drug control regime institutionalizes laws and practices that disempower women, and violates the principles and values fundamental to women’s equality.

We recognize that:


These failures have come at enormous cost to women. In almost every nation, punitive drug policies have the greatest impact on women who are coping with poverty, histories of physical and sexual violence, untreated mental health concerns, inadequate support systems, and marginalization due to race or ethnicity. As we look to the future, we have the opportunity to rethink how to treat and effectively serve women who use drugs, sell drugs, or are linked to others who do.

We therefore call on policymakers to end the injustice perpetuated by global drug prohibition and instead support drug policies grounded in science, compassion, and human rights by:


  1. Incorporating a gender analysis in all conventions, declarations, and reports on drugs.
  1. Prioritizing alleviation of the social and economic conditions that contribute to problematic drug involvement.
  1. Approaching problematic drug use as a health issue and scaling up resources for supportive health interventions.
  1. Eliminating the use of incarceration and punishment for drug offenses. Incarceration should be viewed as a scarce and expensive resource that should be used only for persons who pose a serious public safety threat and then only for a reasonable amount of time sufficient to eliminate the threat. Incarceration of pregnant and parenting women should be rare and exceptional
  1. Eliminating any post-conviction sanctions that exacerbate the punitive impact of drug offenses. These sanctions often extend far beyond a given sentence or punishment and further marginalize women, children, and families.
  1. Ensuring that all drug treatment services are evidence based and  meet women’s specific medical, psychological, and social needs, especially during pregnancy and parenting.
  1. Undertaking research into the impacts of punitive drug policies on women, children, and families, and use it to inform and improve policymaking.
  1. Meaningfully involving women who use drugs in policy and program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

**To have your organization join this Declaration, please visit: http://bit.ly/UNGASSwomen

Source URL: https://globalrights.info/2015/11/womens-declaration-calling-for-global-drug-policies-that-support-women-children-and-families/