Stop the Harm is a diverse, broad, and powerful movement of NGOs from around the world who have united around one common purpose: rectifying the catastrophic failures of the current global drug policy regime through campaigning for a new course firmly grounded in health, compassion, and human rights.
The global drug policy system is well and truly broken. Despite aiming to ‘protect’ people from drugs, its punitive approach has instead increased the harms of these substances, punishing and demonizing the people and communities most impacted by them. This punishment has disproportionately impacted people and communities of color, indigenous peoples, and the economically marginalized, while stoking public health crises by restricting access to essential medicines and exacerbating the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood borne viruses.
This brutality, cruelty, and inhumanity must be halted now. We cannot wait another day while these abuses are carried out with impunity. The Stop the Harm movement has arrived at a critical juncture for global drug policy. From April 19-21, 2016, a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) dedicated to reviewing progress on ending “the World Drug Problem” is being held in New York. At the last UNGASS on Drugs, held in 1998, global leaders pledged to secure “a drug-free world”— a goal that is not only unrealistic but has given rise to four decades of a global drug prohibition that has been deemed nothing less than a disaster, wasting trillions of US dollars and inflicting untold human suffering along the way.
The 2016 drugs UNGASS debate presents a vital opportunity to highlight the failures of current international drugs framework, give voice to those suffering from it, and shift the drug policy conversation. Through the Stop the Harm campaign, we demand that the United Nations and its member states acknowledge the damage wrought by the current drug control regime and to live up to their professed values by formally incorporating human rights, public health, sustainable development, and harm reduction principles firmly into drug policy across the globe.
While the 2016 UNGASS has the potential to be a ground-breaking moment in shifting the debate, it is just the beginning of the battle for reform. Stop the Harm will continue to highlight local events, actions, and campaigns from across the globe that will be instrumental in ensuring we implement a more humane approach to controlling drugs. To find out how you can get involved, visit (link to relevant section e.g. Take Action, Campaigns or Events sections of the website).