Presente | President Obama: Help end the international war on drugs
  1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

President Obama: Help end the international war on drugs

Sign the Petition

    • Your personal comment: (optional)
    †Mobile alerts from Presente. Periodic messages. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 225568 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 225568 for more information. Terms & Conditions.

    The Message

    Dear President Obama,

    I'm writing to ask that you personally address the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in April and call for a change of direction from the failed "War on Drugs" towards common sense drug policies that prioritize public health, harm reduction, and human rights.

    The war on drugs has been an objective failure — even on its own terms — with disastrous consequences. At the last UNGASS meeting on drugs, convened in 1998, world leaders set a goal of complete eradication of illicit drug markets by 2008. Not only has this not been achieved, illicit drug markets and the networks that supply them are more wealthy and influential than ever. After decades of using the same approach rooted in prohibition of drugs and racial targeting, criminalization, and incarceration of drug users, we need new approaches to managing and reducing the potential harms of drug use.

    We applaud your administration's stated commitment to "coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health and public safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences." But this stated commitment will ring hollow if the United States fails to vociferously advocate for these approaches at the United Nations. Your voice and influence could so profoundly change the course and tone of the debate that your presence is necessary and your silence would be powerfully irresponsible.

    Thank you,

    [Your name]

    The disastrous, brutal, and failed war on drugs has been especially punishing for Latinos in the US and across Latin America.

    In Central and South America the drug war — fueled for decades by racist United States policy — has led to misery, corruption and widespread violence. In the United States it has led to the criminalization and incarceration of generations of people, mostly for low-level and nonviolent drug crimes; and discriminatory enforcement that sees poor neighborhoods and communities of color more heavily targeted by police despite their using drugs at lower rates than their wealthier and/or white counterparts.

    This April, world leaders will gather at the United Nations to debate drug policy for the first time in nearly 20 years at an international convening known as UNGASS 2016. The stakes of this meeting are high — the outcomes could further entrench the world in the failed policies of the past, or they could signal the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.

    President Obama is still very influential internationally. If he were to speak out in favor of common sense drug policy, his voice could help to ensure a strong outcome. That's why we're asking him to address the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs and call for global drug policies focused on public health and human rights, not punishment and criminalization.

    Back to Top