PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING THE BECKLEY FOUNDATION DRUG POLICY PROGRAMME
The aim of this programme is to assemble and disseminate information
and analysis that supports the rational consideration of drug policies,
and leads to the more effective management of the widespread use
of psychoactive substances.
It is governed by the following principles:
- That the current global drug control mechanism, (as enshrined
in the three United Nations Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988),
is not achieving the core objective of significantly reducing
the scale of the market for controlled substances, such as heroin,
cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis.
- That the negative side effects of the implementation of this
system may themselves be creating significant social problems.
- That reducing the harm faced by the many individuals who use
drugs, including the risk of infections, such as Hepatitis C and
HIV/AIDS, is not a sufficiently high priority in international
policies and programmes.
- That there is a growing body of evidence regarding which policies
and activities are (and are not) effective in reducing drug use
and associated health and social problems, and that this evidence
is not sufficiently taken into account in current policy discussions,
which continue to be dominated by ideological considerations.
- That the current dilemmas in international drug policy can only
be resolved through an honest review of progress so far, a better
understanding of the complex factors that create widespread drug
use, and a commitment to pursue policies that are effective.
- That analysis of future policy options is unlikely to produce
a clear 'correct' policy - what may be appropriate in one setting
or culture may be less so in another. In addition, there are likely
to be trade-offs between policy objectives (i.e. to reduce overall
drug use or to reduce drug-related crime) that may be viewed differently
in different countries.
- That future policy should be grounded on a scientifically based
scale of harm for all social drugs. This should involve a continuous
review of scientific and sociological evidence of the biological
harm, toxicity, mortality and dependency; the relation to violent
behaviour; the relation to crime; the costs to the health services;
the general impact on others; and the total economic impact of
the use of each individual drug on society.