The UN's 'Beyond 2008' Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs event threw together a diverse grouping of almost 300 NGOs from around the world, including advocates of legalisation and regulation, harm reduction and human rights activists, and zero tolerance / prevention campaigners who are staunch defenders of the prohibitionist status quo. You would have expected a certain amount of tension and heated debate and would not have been disappointed.
Ultimately the resolution that emerged represented both a consensus position and some kind of progress, although parties from either side of the progressive reform / status quo debate, inevitably perhaps, felt it had been watered down. Such is the way with committees and consensus documents.
In the aftermath of the event the debate has continued within the extensive event's email list that includes all of the participant NGOs (and we therefore take to be public domain). An open email to the list from David Evans of the Drug Free Australia organisation requesting support for the declaration of September's World Forum Against Drugs event in Sweden, for example, prompted responses from some dissenting list members including Alex Wodak and Transform’s Danny Kushlick.
The email debate has recently fired up again following another comment from Alex Wodak fed into the debate recommending a 2-part Youtube video about LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) produced by the HuNgarian Civil Liberties Union's Drugreporter film unit.
Wodak noted - in a further response to Evans - that:
"I hope that as a lawyer you would be prepared to consider the testimony of these brave officers, lawyers and judges. No one can deny their considerable experience. Nor can any one deny their commitment to trying to reduce the problems their communities have faced associated with drugs and also from efforts to reduce drug consumption."
Read the rest as well as see the LEAP videos:
|Liveleak on Facebook|