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This is the International Network of People who Use Drugs’ (INPUD) Consensus Statement on Drug Use Under Prohibition. It focusses on human rights, health, and the law in relation to people who use drugs. The document is informed by the perspective of those who are so catastrophically impacted by global prohibition and by the so-called ‘war on drugs’: people who use drugs themselves. It stems from four regional consultations conducted by the INPUD Secretariat in 2015 with representatives of 24 drug user organisations from 28 countries. Consultations took place in Dar es Salaam, Bangkok, London, and in Tbilisi, and we also conducted a virtual consultation.

This document highlights the outcomes of the war on drugs. It makes clear that the war on drugs is, in reality, a war on people who use drugs, and a war on the communities in which they live. It is a war that has had appalling impacts upon health, welfare, and human rights. Instead of laws and policies designed to prioritise health and safeguard wellbeing, people who use drugs are criminalised, and the drugs they use are criminalised and controlled. These have resulted in substantially creating and exacerbating the harms and risks associated with drug use. Though different contexts and regions are marked by varying legislation, policy, and understanding, there are considerable commonalities the world over in criminalising legislation, endemic stigma, and discrimination.

This Consensus Statement not only establishes the context of oppression and human rights violations in which people who use drugs live, but also sets out the imperative changes necessary to mitigate the harms and human rights violations to which they are subject. In short, therefore, each section of this document:

1. Sets out the current situation of people who use drugs in relation to a specific human right, and
2. Sets out requirements for this human right to be protected and realised, and for the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs to be prioritised.

This document asserts that people who use drugs are entitled to the recognition of their human rights.

This document asserts that the lives of people who use drugs are as valuable as the lives of all others, that their wellbeing and health is as important as that of all others.

This is a statement of essential demands. These demands must be met if the harms experienced by people who use drugs are to be ended.