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Schleifer, Rebecca and Sagredo, Javier and Avafia., Tenu (2015) Addressing the development dimensions of drug policy. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

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The relationship between drug control policy and human development is complex and multifaceted; both share a common objective to reduce drug-related harms. Yet policies aimed at prohibiting and punishing the cultivation, sale and use of certain drugs have played a disproportionate role in shaping the international approach to drug control and country responses, irrespective of countries’ development goals. Drug control policies have been justified by the real and potential harms associated with illicit drug use and markets, such as threats to safety and security, public health, crime, decreased productivity, unemployment and poverty.

However, evidence shows that in many countries, drug control policies and related enforcement activities focused on reducing supply and demand have had little effect in eradicating production or problematic drug use. Various UN organizations have also described the harmful collateral consequences of these eff orts: creating a criminal black market; fuelling corruption, violence and instability; undermining public health and safety; generating large-scale human rights abuses, including abusive and inhumane punishments; and discrimination and marginalization of people who use drugs, indigenous peoples, women and youth. Evidence shows that in many parts of the world, law enforcement responses to drug-related crime have created or exacerbated poverty, impeded sustainable development and public health and undermined human rights of the most marginalized people.

1. Introduction p.9
2. The Impact of Drug Control Policy on Human Development p.12
2.1 Poverty and sustainable livelihoods p.13
2.2 Impact on public health p.15
2.3 Impact on the formal economy p.20
2.4 Impact on governance, conflict and the rule of law p.22
2.5 Human rights implications of drug policy p.24
2.6 Gender dimensions p.26
2.7 Impact of drug control policies on the environment p.27
2.8 Impact of drug control policies on indigenous people and traditional and religious practices p.28
3. Sustainable Development Approaches to Drug Policy p.30
3.1 Development-sensitive policy and programming p.32
4. Opportunities to Address Development Dimensions of Drug Control Policy p.35
4.1 New metrics to evaluate drug control policies p.35
4.2 Drug policy and the post-2015 agenda p.36
4.3 The road to UNGASS 2016: an opportunity to increase coherence in the UN system p.37
5. Conclusion p.39


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