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Jakarta Post

Current policies may undermine social cohesion

  • Ruth Dreifuss, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Olusegun Obasanjo

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 9 2017   /  01:06 am

With regional and international heads of state gathering in Manila for the 31st ASEAN Summit on Nov. 10-14, it seems appropriate to examine whether or not there are more effective drug policies than those currently at play in dealing with the harms caused by the presence of drugs in society.

As former heads of state from Africa, Europe and Latin America, we recognize the fear that many communities feel, and the distress of policy-makers in dealing with drugs. Sadly, however, this distress has too often resulted in punitive drug policies, which are based on repression with a view of completely ridding society of drugs.

This aim of creating a “drug-free society” has not always dominated the public and political landscape in Southeast Asia. In several countries, traditional uses of some drugs such as cannabis, opium or kratom were tolerated and accepted. Indeed, the curren...