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Drug Policy Reform | Beckley Foundation

Chooper's Guide is Committed to Drug Control Policy Reform


Beckley Foundation   Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform  





WE THE UNDERSIGNED call on Governments and Parliaments to recognise that:

Fifty years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, the global war on drugs has failed, and has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide.

Use of the major controlled drugs has risen, and supply is cheaper, purer and more available than ever before. The UN conservatively estimates that there are now 250 million drug users worldwide.

Illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industix in the world, after food and oil, estimated to be worth over $350 billion a year, all in the control of criminals.

Fighting the war on drugs costs the world's taxpayers incalculable billions each year. Millions of people are in prison worldwide for drug-related offences, mostly personal users and small-time dealers.

Corruption amongst law-entorcers and politicians, especially in producer and transit countries, has spread as never before, endangering democracy and civil society. Stability, security and development are threatened by the fallout from the war on drugs, as are human rights. Tens of thousands of people die in the drug war each year.

The drug-free world so confidently predicted by supporters of the war on drugs is further than ever fromattainment. The policies of prohibition create more harms than they prevent. We must seriously consider shifting resources away from criminalising tens of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens, and move towards an approach based on health,. harm-reduction, cost-effectiveness and respect for human rights. Evidence consistently shows that these health-based approaches deliver better results than criminalisation.

Improving our drug policies is one of the key policy challenges of our time. It is time for world leaders to fundamentally review their strategies in response to the drug phenomenon.

At the root of current policies lies the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is time to re-examine this treaty which imposes a lone-size-fits-all' solution, in order to allow individual countries the freedom to explore drug policies that better suit their domestic needs.

As the production, demand and use of drugs cannot be eradicated, new ways must be found to minimise harms, and new policies, based on scientific evidence, must be explored.

Let us break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now.

Yours Faithfully,


President Juan Manuel Santos  Professor Niall Ferguson   
President of the Republic of Colombia Professor of History at Harvard University
President Fernando H. Cardoso   Lord Rees, OM   
Former President of Brazil Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society
President Lech Wałęsa   Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta  
Former President of Poland, Nobel Prize winner. Professor of Economics at Cambridge
Professor Noam Chomsky   Caroline Lucas, MP  
Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT Leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton
Bernardo Bertolucci    Trudie Styler
Film Director Actress and producer
Mario Vargas Llosa   Professor Robin Room  
Writer, Nobel Prize winner School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
Thorvald Stoltenberg   Professor A. C. Grayling  
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Master of the New College of the Humanities
Michel Kazatchkine  Nicholas Green, QC  
United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS Former Chairman of the Bar Council
Professor Sir Anthony Leggett   Sir Peregrine Worsthorne  
Physicist, Nobel Prize winner Former Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
Javier Solana, KOGF, KCMG   Professor Robert Grayling 
Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Dean of School of Medicine, KCL
Wisława Szymborska   Dr. Patrick Aeberhard  
Poet, Nobel Prize winner Former President of Doctors of the World
Professor John Polanyi   President Otto Pérez Molina  
Chemist, Nobel Prize winner President of the Republic of Guatemala
Professor Thomas C. Schelling   President César Gaviria  
Economist, Nobel Prize winner Former President of Colombia
Professor Lord Piot  President Aleksander Kwaśniewski  
Former UN Under Secretary-General Former President of Poland
Professor Colin Blakemore Desmond Tutu
Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and University of Warwick Archbishop, Nobel Prize winner
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore   George P. Schultz  
Former President of the Royal College of Physicians Former US Secretary of State
Dr. Julian Huppert, MP   Carlos Fuentes  
Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform Novelist and essayist
Professor Jonathan Wolff   Jaswant Singh  
Professor of Philosophy at UCL Former Minister of Defence, of Finance, and for External Affairs, India
Professor Peter Singer   Asma Jahangir   
Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University Former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Execution
Gary Johnson    John Whitehead  
Republican US Presidential Candidate Former US Deputy Secretary of State
General Lord Ramsbotham    Dr. Kary Mullis  
Former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Chemist, Nobel Prize winner
Peter Lilley, MP   Professor Kenneth Arrow  
Former Secretary of State for Social Security Economist, Nobel Prize winner
Tom Brake, MP   Professor Sir Harold Kroto  
Co-chair of the Lib Dem Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Parliamentary Policy Committee Chemist, Nobel Prize winner
President Jimmy Carter   Pavel Bém 
Former President of the United States, Nobel Prize winner Former Mayor of Prague
President Ruth Dreifuss   Professor Sir Peter Mansfield  
Former President of Switzerland Economist, Nobel Prize winner
President Vicente Fox   Professor Martin L. Perl   
Former President of Mexico Physicist, Nobel Prize winner
Sir Richard Branson   Professor David Nutt   
Entrepreneur and Founder of the Virgin Group Former Chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs
Yoko Ono   Professor Trevor Robbins  
Musician and artist Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge
Sean Parker   Dr. Muhammed Abdul Bari, MBE  
Founding President of Facebook, Director of Spotify Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
Sting  Carel Edwards  
Musician and actor Former Head of the EU Commission’s Drug Policy Unit
Louise Arbour, CC, GOQ   Lord Mancroft   
Former UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights Chair of the Drug and Alcohol Foundation
John Perry Barlow   Bob Ainsworth, MP  
Co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Former UK Secretary of State for Defence
Maria Cattaui   Lord MacDonald, QC  
Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce Former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service 
Jeremy Thomas  Tom Lloyd  
Film Producer Former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire
Gilberto Gil   Paul Flynn, MP  
Musician, former Minister of Culture, Brazil Labour MP for Newport West