Today, someone I never had the pleasure of knowing should have been celebrating their 18th Birthday, Martha Fernback.
However, I count myself incredibly lucky to now know and be helping her mother fight a very personal cause that has become her life. So I was heartened last week to read in the news about a most timely sign from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that Anne-Marie will see change in her lifetime.
I would suggest that I am also feeling moved by my trip to the cinema last night when I watched the film Suffragette.
So I am minded of the quote "deeds not words" and whatever your views on drugs I do believe we need to listen to more people like Anne-Marie and consider why our first response is always to feel threatened and why we seem willing to sit back and wait for another Emily Davison to give their lives so we do listen.
I do believe by working together we can achieve great things...
As reported by the BBC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the agency that has overseen the global drug war for 50 years, has been blocked from announcing its momentous new position – that all countries should decriminalise the possession of drugs for personal use. A short briefing paper (PDF) which states that: “Member States should consider the implementation of measures to promote the right to health and to reduce prison-overcrowding, including by decriminalising drug use and possession for personal consumption”. In a devastating critique of the harms caused by criminalisation, the UNODC states: “Protecting public health is a legitimate aim, but imposing criminal sanctions for drug use and possession for personal consumption is neither necessary nor proportionate. On the contrary, punishment aggravates the behavioural, health and social conditions of the affected people.”