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A progressive drug policy is in the spirit of Kofi Annan

In Geneva, representatives of all countries meet next week for the world health Assembly. However, one of you has done a lot to ensure that the world community of health to address burning problems instead of ignore, is missing: Kofi Anna, died last summer. An event in the UN building in his memory. His Beliefs, his commitment to remain an incentive for health care policy at the service of all, without discrimination on the basis of income or of prejudice.

Kofi Annan was just before the Millennium, Secretary-General of the United Nations of turning. At the time, ignorance and denial of HIV/Aids were widespread epidemic is still far, and the number of new infections increased rapidly. Poorer countries and poorer sections of society around the world, access to the expensive anti retro was blocked viral drugs.

"Every President, every Prime Minister, every parliamentarian and politician to act decisively and proclaim: "Aids stops with me! Aids stops with me!""Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan helped to break the taboos around Aids. He used every diplomatic means and its personal charisma in order to convince leading politicians – and if this not helped, then Kofi Annan directly: "friends, we know what is necessary for a reversal of the trend in this epidemic. Every President, every Prime Minister, every parliamentarian and politician to act decisively and proclaim: "Aids stops with me! Aids stops with me!""

And Kofi Annan demanded that action. Than a year less than a billion dollars was spent for the prevention and treatment of HIV/Aids epidemic, he called for tens of billions of and had an effect on the Powerful, until the global Fund has been founded to fight Aids, tuberculosis and Malaria. As Secretary General, he negotiated with the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the prices on vital anti-retroviral drugs so far that you get over 21 million people.

drug use is a disease

not to advocate for people affected by HIV, was the beginning of his tenure, of course. They were seen as marginal and stigmatised. But under Kofi Annan's leadership, the world saw that sex workers(indoor), homosexuals, Transgender people and others may not be ignored and we must with them their rights, according to the demand. He summed up his Vision thus: "It is my aspiration that health is no longer seen as a blessing one wishes for, but as a human right for which to fight."

In his last years, he has used for another group whose rights are not always recognised: people who consume drugs. In many Parts of the world, drugs are stigmatised users, imprisoned and even killed. Fear of to seek medical help.

today's international drug policy more harm than good, but to discuss scientifically-based Alternative was, and is, in many countries there is still a political taboo. Therefore Annan, a group of former heads of state or heads of government with other famous personalities, Kofi and I included – in the global Commission on drug policy found together, in order to allow these moral barriers to break through, and a reason-based discussion.

As in 2011, we published our first report, we learned the world's attention the fact that someone like Kofi Annan, according to he added that the current drug policy has failed and it needs to be radically changed. Together, we demanded, first of all, that the health policy will be granted the highest priority in drug policy.

Switzerland as a model

In Switzerland since the end of the 80s, a process of rethinking in the aisle. When I was a councillor, we had the largest drug market in Europe under the open sky, and the citizens saw drugs as one of the most pressing problems of the policy. But after we had driven drug users and dealers from one place, only to see again and again that the envelope was place at a different location, than the Suffering of the people, the HIV infections were due to unclean injection equipment, and death by drugs for all to see, heard the policy on activists and people from the health sector, the police, and, ultimately, to the drug users themselves.

our small country was the first in the world in the protected consumption rooms were opened and we were the pioneer for measures of treatment and social integration, such as the heroin assisted therapy, on the several times it was voted on. The Swiss drug policy with its four pillars (prevention, therapy, harm reduction and Repression) is exemplary. to break

"the Power of the cartels, will be in need of state-controlled drug markets."

And so invited me to Kofi Annan, our Swiss drug policy in his home region of West Africa, to present and support the work he founded the West African Commission on drugs. The Region is deeply religious. Drugs not to be seen mostly as a by the devil sent Evil, so that alone pragmatic arguments reach all of them.

Even more important, it was also here that he himself and – at his suggestion – other well-known personalities from West Africa, taken a clear stand for the human rights of drug users position. Meanwhile, in Senegal, the first state-based program of harm reduction, and methadone therapy, and Kofi Annan's home country of Ghana discussed in Parliament a comprehensive reform of the drug laws.

Complex problems understandable to all

health policy measures is not sufficient to overcome the damage and the contradictions that arise from the Prohibition,. There is a need for the decriminalization of drug use and possession for own use, in order to enable a fear-free access to the health facilities. And government-regulated drug markets are necessary to break the Power of the cartels, and to banish the most dangerous products from the market. Also, these claims had the full support of Kofi Annan.

He had a natural Talent for complex problems to the point and make it understandable to all. This he did for the drug policy when he said: "I believe that drug many people have destroyed life – but false policy on the part of the governments has destroyed much more."

The original aim of all drug policy is stated in the preamble to the 1961 concluded "single Convention on narcotic drugs" to "the health and welfare of mankind" to protect. These targets were missed by far. It is time for the reforms that Kofi Annan has greatly made.

Ruth Dreifuss is Chairman of the global Commission on drug policy, former Federal President and the head of the Federal Department of the Interior.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 17.05.2019, 19:54 PM

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