The UN had aimed to eradicate the market for illicit drugs by 2019—but a new report from the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) says the black market is only growing.
"What we learn from the IDPC shadow report is compelling. Since governments started collecting data on drugs in the 1990s, the cultivation, consumption and illegal trafficking of drugs have reached record levels," Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, wrote in the report's foreword.
All this growth has happened despite the War on Drugs, which Clark says has had detrimental global consequences.
"Moreover, current drug policies are a serious obstacle to other social and economic objectives and the 'war on drugs' has resulted in millions of people murdered, disappeared, or internally displaced," said Clark.
Over the last ten years, drug-related deaths have increased 145 percent. That includes an astounding 71,000 overdose deaths in the US in 2017 alone. Meanwhile in Mexico, there were 31,174 drug-related homicides the same year—that's a 25 percent increase over 2016's numbers.
These increases in drug-related crimes and health issues only serve to prove that the war on drugs does not serve to protect global citizens, says IDPC Executive Director Ann Fordham. She says governments around the world need to come to terms with the facts and choose another course of action.
"This report is another nail in the coffin for the war on drugs," Fordham told CNN in a prepared statement. "The fact that governments and the UN do not see fit to properly evaluate the disastrous impact of the last ten years of drug policy is depressingly unsurprising."
In March 2019, the UN will hold their Special Session on Drugs to consider their strategy for culling global drug-related issues over the next ten years. And while the IDPC is currently pushing the UN to adopt a different approach to drug policy, Fordham fears the UN will choose to uphold the disastrous drug war.
"Governments will meet next March at the UN and will likely rubber-stamp more of the same for the next decade in drug policy. This would be a gross dereliction of duty and a recipe for more blood spilled in the name of drug control."
And that outcome seems likely given the current political climate. Just last month the US, Russia, the Philippines and Canada moved to support Donald Trump's initiative to renew the war on drugs. That move alone proves that Fordham's fears are entirely justified.