Opinion: Falsehoods and facts about drugs and the people who use them

The issue of drug use is not fundamentally complicated: People will use psychoactive substances, and the first step to more effectively addressing them is to decriminalize their use and possession…
A woman drinks yage in Colombia. Drugs are generally accepted when they are consumed in a traditional manner that a particular culture understands. Source: EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images

A new survey of Americans shows that many regard addiction as a behavioral failing, and most would not welcome those suffering from addiction into their neighborhoods, workplaces, or families. Such attitudes toward addiction, which mirror those in many other countries, perpetuate the abundant false narratives about drugs the world over.

Misrepresentations about drugs fuel stigma and discrimination towards the people who use them. I see this all the time in my work as a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. This hinders effective reform and undermines human dignity and the rule of law.

We must find ways to counter prejudice against drug use with facts and break this vicious cycle: drugs are evil and should be illegal → individuals who use them are immoral because drug consumption and possession

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