Editor’s note: Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, are members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
(CNN) — Each year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from preventable drug-related disease and violence. Millions of users are arrested and thrown in jail. Globally, communities are blighted by drug-related crime. Citizens see huge amounts of their taxes spent on harsh policies that are not working.
But despite this clear evidence of failure, there is a damaging reluctance worldwide to consider a fresh approach. The Global Commission on Drug Policy is determined to help break this century-old taboo. Building on the work of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, our first report — The War on Drugs — demonstrated how repressive approaches to containing drugs have failed.