Drug laws fail to protect children

November 22, 2011

"Would legal regulation and control of drugs better protect children?" is a question posed by former President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso in an editorial to be published in the January issue of Elsevier's International Journal of Drug Policy (IJDP).

The editorial, "Children and drug law reform" follows the March 2011 report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, chaired by Cardoso, which made a series of recommendations for reforms of drug laws, including experiments with legal regulation and control.

"If we believe that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in all policies that affect them, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, then children have the right to be placed front and centre in drug ", writes the former president.

Recognising the harms that have befallen children and young people around the world due to drugs prohibition, and the failure of current approaches to protect children from and drug related harms, Cardoso calls for debate on a range of issues including what legal regulation and control of drugs would mean for children.

"I am convinced that the recommendations of the Global Commission will have significant benefits for children and young people," he writes, "I would not support such policies if I did not believe that current approaches have singularly failed in this respect."

But the former president urges caution in relation to possible future business interests in currently . "Our experiences with and tobacco show that we cannot entrust such to whose interests are in profit maximisation not . We cannot relinquish drugs to the criminal market, nor to an unregulated free market."

"To protect children from drugs it is to my mind now beyond debate that drug laws need to be reformed. From what we already know, the ongoing and future identified harms of current drug policies to our children must be considered not as unintended, but a result of negligence, recklessness or simple disregard," concludes Cardoso.

"President Cardoso's editorial is a challenge to politicians, researchers and activists and is a much needed contribution to an important part of the drug policy debate we all too often overlook", said Professor Gerry Stimson, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Drug Policy. "This is no doubt a very difficult and controversial area and I wholeheartedly agree with President Cardoso, we need to create an environment where it is safer to openly discuss these issues."

Explore further: IAS urges Russian government to radically reassess counterproductive drug policies

More information: "Children and drug law reform"; Cardoso, F.H.; International Journal of Drug Policy (2011); doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.10.004

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3 comments

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Shootist
1 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2011
We cannot relinquish drugs to the criminal market, nor to an unregulated free market."


We have to keep control, because we, the duly annointed, know best.

Forget that there hasn't been an unregulated free market since the 19th century . . . there are two types of people in the world, those who wish to control the actions of others, and those who have no such desire.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2011
We cannot relinquish drugs to the criminal market, nor to an unregulated free market."


We have to keep control, because we, the duly annointed, know best.

Forget that there hasn't been an unregulated free market since the 19th century . . . there are two types of people in the world, those who wish to control the actions of others, and those who have no such desire.


Ummm....maybe you should read either a) the article or b) the full report in Intl. Journal of Drug Policy (link provided) before commenting.

Cardoso actually WAS proposing to make currently illegal drugs legal, which is brand new territory. However, one could make the case that moving from a war on drugs to legalizing them is very similar to massive deregulation, thus he is proposing almost entirely what you have accused him of being against.

Of course, his suggestion was that it's probably not a good idea to sell them to children like candy. What a terrible idea, huh?
Bonkers
not rated yet Nov 23, 2011
good article, nice to see someone talking coherently, logically and dispassionately about this complex topic. We need to take the heat out of it (as it were) in order to have a reasoned debate. Clearly there are downsides to be avoided, and raw freemarket is one of them, even though there was never such a prospect - these substances would be ingested, so regulation at very least equivalent to that of food would be required. Equally clearly, the existing situation of prohibition, war, organised crime, petty crime and contaminated produce is not acceptable.
I like shoot-1st's point, but it is poorly aimed, with a name like that?.. sure there are personal liberty issues, I hold that consenting adults in private can do what they like, but the constraints mentioned here are to do with big business getting into the chain, and needing FDA type regulation, not proscriptive moral-majority standards, for once :-)

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