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COMMENT | Health over handcuffs - different approach to drug use

COMMENT | The ambition to achieve a "drug-free society" has shaped drug laws in many countries by prioritising abstinence and criminalisation over public health approaches.

As of 2022, there were 2.2 million people worldwide estimated to be behind bars for drug offences, of which 470,000 have been imprisoned for personal drug use.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, predominantly as a result of its extensive war on drugs, with more than 80 percent of the prison population locked up due to drug possession.

In addition to prisons, compulsory drug detention centres in Southeast Asia have housed nearly 500,000 people who used or were suspected of using drugs.

Despite international calls for the closure of these centres, they continue to...

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