Drug policy with perspective

International drug policies with perspective

Drug policies with a focus on sustainable development, oriented towards public health and human rights – this is what the GPDPD advocates on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and under the patronage of the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, in international dialogue and in cooperation with partner countries and organisations.

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The debate on drug policy issues is more topical and urgent than ever. The development of recent years is clear: The cultivation, production and use of illicit drugs is increasing. The illegal cultivation of coca and opium poppies is at an all-time high. Marginalised regions in developing and emerging countries are particularly affected. The regular seizure of large drug supplies, such as cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin worldwide, further illustrates that production and trafficking are flourishing. At the same time, drug use is increasingly shifting to countries in the global south, which are having to deal with this new challenge.

Alternative Development

Alternative Development helps farmers to escape the poverty trap of illegal drug crop cultivation.

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In the last ten years the illegal cultivation of drug crops such as coca and opium poppy has increased massively worldwide. Many countries are reacting with repressive measures and are destroying the plants. In the short term, cultivation is curbed, but its root causes are often ignored - if not exacerbated. Illegal drug crop cultivation is a symptom: The Alternative Development approach sees the reasons for this in development deficits and addresses them.

Human rights and drug policy

Why upholding human rights is indispensable for a sustainable drug policy

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Serious human rights violations are common in the fight against illegal drugs: torture, mass arrests, extrajudicial killings, years of imprisonment without trial and death sentences for suspected drug users or micro-dealers, denial of basic rights – to name but a few. We need to rethink international drug policy. Safeguarding human rights is a basic prerequisite for development. If they are not respected, there can be no sustainable changes.

For gender-sensitive drug policies

From drug cultivation to drug use – different realities require different political responses.

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Influenced by pop culture and the news, when we think of drug economies we first, if not exclusively, think of men. But both men and women are engaged in the entire value chain: from the cultivation of illegal drug plants and their processing into illegal substances to drug trafficking and use. Their roles and experiences differ considerably. However, programmes for sustainable development of drug cultivation areas or addiction aid services are in many cases not tailored to the realities of women's lives. The GPDPD on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) wants to change this and advocates for gender-sensitive drug policies.

Health-oriented drug policy

Minimising the risks of drug use worldwide


Drug use involves manifold risks both for the individual and the society. The GPDPD on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) promotes health-oriented drug policies at the global level because they have been proven to mitigate risks. Therefore, the Harm Reduction concept trialled in Germany is fundamental.


The EU Drugs Strategy 2021-2025 is an important milestone in the global momentum towards decent drug policies and sustainable development. Through the stories of Ana, Mila and Kofi we learn how effective people-centred drug policies are.