Statement by Prime Minister Petr Nečas on the report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy

[Prague] – At the beginning of June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy published a report whichclearly shows that the so-called war on drugs is ineffective. Globally, anti-drug strategy has twopillars – so-called supply reduction (mainly through repressive and inspection measures) and demand reduction (measures leading to prevention and treatment). The war on drugs has been represented mainly by tougher and more expensive approaches focused on wiping out the supply of drugs in the faith that this approach will be the key to decreasing the worldwide drug problem. But the opposite is true. Globally, the problem has grown significantly (for example, the number of current opiate users has increased by around 17 million users between 1998 and 2008).

The report presents as examples of best practices certain European countries and Canada, which, through its approach, has confirmed that a balanced approach which favours measures leading toward decreasing demand for illegal drugs has a chance at success. It is an approach based on pragmatic drug policy, which leads the way toward the decriminalisation of those addicted to drugs, support for preventive programmes and the minimisation of risks connected with drug use (socalled harm reduction). At the same time, the report calls for amendments to legal regulation in relation to certain drugs.

“I consider the report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy to be an important challenge by the heads of state and politicians who have signed it,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas said. “Above all, anti-drug policy should be based on effective and economically efficient preventive andtreatment measures, not on the criminalisation of people who suffer from drug addiction but are not causing harm to others. Czech anti-drug policy is basically going in the right direction, but we mustnot be afraid to promote more effective types of solutions and to be inspired by other states as well.”

“I’m glad the prime minister of the Czech Republic has commented positively on the Global Commission’s report, which has been signed by numerous important world leaders,” said Jindřích Vobořil, the national anti-drug coordinator. “To call for a change in policy direction toward effective prevention and treatment is certainly not new in its content, but primarily by who signed this report at this time. It would appear that changes in current legal regulation is necessary in certain segments of drug policy, which of course does not mean endless legalisation. A paradoxical example of the current insufficient status of legal regulation is on one hand today’s phenomenon of the uncontrolled sale of new synthetic drugs in so-called “Amsterdam shops,” where these drugs are legally sold without any controls as collector’s items due to holes in legislation. On the other hand, there is a legislative ban on the usage of cannabis and cannabis products for medicinal purposes with the risk of criminal prosecution of patients,” Vobořil added.