Responsible regulation transforms people’s lives. Transform works to make this happen by calling for drug policy that protects people. This means persuading those in power to be innovative when what they are doing clearly doesn’t work. We encourage them to follow the evidence – even when it goes against what they have been led to believe.
We work to transform lives at three levels: global, national and local.
Governments from around the world meet at the UN to draft and sign up to treaties that lay out which drugs and drug-related activities are banned. Transform participates in a range of UN forums on drug policy, collaborating with other NGOs. Together we put pressure on governments to design drug policies that protect people better.
Transforming lives nationally.
Transform carries out national level advocacy directly in a number of countries. Our own policy specialists work in collaboration with – and act as consultants for – governments and NGOs. For example, we recently advised both the governments of Canada and Uruguay on the legal regulation of cannabis. We also share expertise with NGOs and policy makers across the world, including in Ghana, Thailand, New Zealand, Norway and Denmark.
Steve Rolles giving evidence in Canada.
Transform’s Anyone’s Child campaign brings together families who have suffered as a result of current drug policy – prohibition. It forms a powerful part of our work. This courageous group speaks out against the stigmatisation and criminalisation of people who use drugs, and use their personal stories to call for strict legal regulation. They call for safer, more just drug policies by reminding policymakers that people are being harmed and that they have the power to stop it.
This has proven highly effective at all levels of policy making. At the UN General Assembly, in front of world leaders, Canadian mother and Anyone’s Child Canada co-ordinator, Donna May, was addressed personally from the podium by her own Health Minister, Jane Philpott – who referred to Donna’s story as she announced Canada’s reform programme.
Layla Moran MP tells the story of Martha Fernback
In the UK, multiple MPs named Anyone’s Child as influencing their opinion on policy during the 2018 parliamentary drugs strategy debate. Anne-Marie Cockburn from Anyone’s Child UK was in the public gallery to hear her own MP tell the tragic story of Anne-Marie’s daughter, who died at just 15 from an accidental ecstasy overdose. A cross party drug policy reform event attracted MPs from five political parties, who all spoke of the impact of meeting Anyone’s Child families.
Latin American Partnership
In Mexico, we collaborate with our partners at Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia (MUCD) on issues that affect their country and Latin America more widely. For several years we worked together to push for drug policy reforms in Mexico and across the wider region through bodies such as the Organisation of American States. More recently, MUCD have concentrated successfully on bringing court cases to challenge the law in Mexico.
Transforming lives locally.
Transform has played a leading role in making sure that the police, police and crime commissioners (elected officials), local authorities and service providers have access to up to date evidence and best practice from across the world. We put people in touch with each other where no connection exists; we organise events to stimulate dialogue; and we champion whatever works – whatever offers the best chance of transforming lives.
UK local reforms.
The UK government has – until very recently – been unwilling to consider any alternatives to criminalisation and total drug prohibition. However, regional and city-level innovations with a real chance of protecting people better have emerged. We have seen schemes to divert drug users away from the law courts and towards medical treatment (Bristol police scheme), feasibility studies on drug consumption rooms, drug safety testing at festivals, and heroin assisted treatment.