The Paradigma Global Youth Coalition Asks for the 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment

The Paradigma Global Youth Coalition Asks for the 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment

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‘Paradigma’ is a global coalition of youth-led organizations working toward establishing evidence-based drug policies which reduce the harms of drug use and are grounded in human rights principles. The organizations that make up the Paradigma coalition represent thousands of young people in every region of the world. We acknowledge the many impacts of drug use, drug markets, and drug control on our communities, but particularly note that punitive drug policies have failed our generation and our society, impeding the development of young people and our full enjoyment of basic human rights. Governments typically justify their drug policies by invoking the need to protect young people. But we can speak for ourselves, and if policies are being implemented in our name, our voices must be heard.

This document was prepared by Penelope Hill (SSDP Australia), Jake Agliata (SSDP International, USA) and Daniel Nii Ankrah (YouthRise, Ghana); September 2018. You can view and download the full document here.

This document conveys the Asks of the Paradigma Global Youth Coalition to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its Member States in preparation for the 2019 UNODC High-Level Ministerial Segment. We encourage Member States to recognize that goals and targets narrowly focused on eliminating the use, trafficking, cultivation, and manufacture of drugs at all costs has adverse consequences for young people and other affected groups. We invite you to work with, and not for,  the populations your drug control commitments affect the most – young people, people who use drugs, women, indigenous people, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and other marginalized communities.

Ask #1: Model a balanced approach to drugs and drug education

  • Empower young people to properly respond to drugs.
  • Allow and invest in research related to medical benefits of psychoactive substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and MDMA.

Ask #2: Shift drug policies towards public health and human rights based approaches

  • Review and repeal the punitive laws associated with the criminalization of drug use and possession of drugs for personal and medical use.
  • Align supply reduction priorities with those of public health and human rights to create healthy and safe communities.
  • Acknowledge and include harm reduction initiatives in global drug policies and targets.
  • Invest in harm reduction services such as drug checking interventions and early warning systems, needle and syringe provision and supervised injection facilities without age restrictions, educational material about minimizing risks associated with using drugs, and nightlife harm reduction.

Ask #3: Leave no one behind

  • Commit to aligning the UNODC’s approach to addressing the world drug problem with the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Ensure active and meaningful participation of civil society youth and youth-related organizations in the development, implementation, and evaluation of drug policies and drug education programs.
  • Collaborate further with other relevant UN entities for a streamlined, multisectoral approach to drug policy.

For detailed descriptions of each ask and research supporting our positions, please review the document in its entirety. Inquiries can be directed to Jake Agliata (