A United Nations Development Chief told Reuters the “war on drugs” approach needs to change. Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Program, said, “There’s no doubt that the health position would be to treat the issue of drugs as primarily a health and social issue rather than a criminalized issue.” A UNDP spokeswoman later clarified that Clark was not criticizing the U.S. policy on the war on drugs, but speaking about the drug trade’s “negative effects” on development in some Latin American countries.
Clark’s comments come as Latin American countries, worn out by violence, consider legalizing drugs. At the last U.N. General Assembly, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the leaders of Guatemala and Colombia called for a new approach after Calderon’s hardline policies failed to curb drug violence. Clark said the regional debate on drug policy is “a very, very useful one.” Although Clark did not endorse legalization, she said “To deal with drugs as a one-dimensional, law-and-order issue is to miss the point.”
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