End the War on Drugs

To Ban Ki-moon and all Heads of State:

We call on you to end the war on drugs and the prohibition regime, and move towards a system based on decriminalisation, regulation, public health and education. This 50 year old policy has failed, fuels violent organised crime, devastates lives and is costing billions. It is time for a humane and effective approach.
 
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Update June 5 2011
We did it! Last week Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel hand-delivered our over half a million signatures to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, world leaders and the global media in New York. At the meeting Ban Ki Moon heard our call to action and agreed to create a new UN task force to develop a comprehensive approach to drugs and organized crime. This is a major step forward towards ending the war on drugs as the approach will include a public health, education and prevention focus. We will continue to push to make sure this senseless and brutal war is ended. Stay tuned for how together we can keep up the pressure!

Update June 1 2011
Amazing! In just a few days, we blew past our goal of 500,000 voices calling for an end to the war on drugs. Our message will be hand-delivered to world leaders on Thursday, June 2 at a press conference in New York and to the UN Secretary-General on Friday, June 3. The event will feature a live counter of petition signatures, so every one of us counts -- let's keep spreading the word and building this campaign!

Posted May 30 2011
In 72 hours, we could finally see the beginning of the end of the ‘war on drugs’. This expensive war has completely failed to curb the plague of drug addiction, while costing countless lives, devastating communities, and funneling trillions of dollars into violent organized crime networks.

Experts all agree that the most sensible policy is to regulate, but politicians are afraid to touch the issue. In 72 hours, a global commission including former heads of state and foreign policy chiefs of the UN, EU, US, Brazil, Mexico and more will break the taboo and publicly call for new approaches including decriminalization and regulation of drugs.

This could be a once-in-a-generation tipping-point moment -- if enough of us call for an end to this madness. Politicians say they understand that the war on drugs has failed, but claim the public isn't ready for an alternative. Let's show them we not only accept a sane and humane policy -- we demand it. Sign the petition and share with everyone -- when we reach 1/2 million, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission.

For 50 years current drug policies have failed everyone, everywhere but public debate is stuck in the mud of fear and misinformation. Everyone, even the UN Office on Drugs and Crime which is responsible for enforcing this approach agrees -- deploying militaries and police to burn drug farms, hunting down traffickers, and imprisoning dealers and addicts – is an expensive mistake. And with massive human cost -- from Afghanistan, to Mexico, to the USA the illegal drug trade is destroying countries around the world, while addiction, overdose deaths, and HIV/AIDS infections continue to rise.

Meanwhile, countries with less-harsh enforcement -- like Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Australia -- have not seen the explosion in drug use that proponents of the drug war have darkly predicted. Instead, they have seen significant reductions in drug-related crime, addiction and deaths, and are able to focus squarely on dismantling criminal empires.

Powerful lobbies still stand in the way of change, including military, law enforcement, and prison departments whose budgets are at stake. And politicians fear that voters will throw them out of office if they support alternative approaches, as they will appear weak on law and order. But many former drug Ministers and Heads of State have come out in favour of reform since leaving office, and polls show that citizens across the world know the current approach is a catastrophe. Momentum is gathering towards new improved policies, particularly in regions that are ravaged by the drug trade.

If we can create a worldwide outcry in the next 72 hours to support the bold calls of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, we can overpower the stale excuses for the status quo. Our voices hold the key to change -- Sign the petition and spread the word.

We have a chance to enter the closing chapter of this brutal 'war' that has destroyed millions of lives. Global public opinion will determine if this catastrophic policy is stopped or if politicians shy away from reform. Let's rally urgently to push our hesitating leaders from doubt and fear, over the edge, and into reason.
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