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Unformatted text preview: Sheet1 Page 1 Drug Control, Human Rights, and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health: By No Means Straightforward Issues Saul Takahashi Human Rights Quarterly, Volume 31, Number 3, August 2009, pp. 748-776 (Article) Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/hrq.0.0092 For additional information about this article http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hrq/summary/v031/31.3.takahashi.html Access Provided by Scarsdale High School at 10/29/10 4:11AM GMT A HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Drug Control, Human Rights, and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health: By No Means Straightforward Issues Saul Takahashi* ABSTRACT There has been increasing attention to the importance of respecting the human rights of addicts with regard to illicit drug trafficking and abuse. The debate is multifaceted, encompassing issues involving drug control as it relates to criminal justice, the death penalty, mandated treatment, and, most prominently, the right to the highest attainable standard of health. This article addresses each of these issues, focusing on the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the ongoing international debate surrounding controversial ¡ harm reductionb measures. The applicability of this right to drug control is not as straightforward as is often presented, and some of the arguments put forward come dangerously close to stating that there is a • right to abuse drugs,& which the author disputes. * Saul Takahashi was employed until March 2009 at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as Drug Control Officer in the Convention Evaluation Section of the International Narcotics Control Board Secretariat. However, he started his career working for Amnesty International in the field of refugees, and has always remained a human rights lawyer at heart. Takahashi holds an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, and has taught human security issues at Tokyo University Graduate School. He is Sheet1 Page 2 currently conducting research towards a Ph.D., comparing the effectiveness of the treaty bodies in the fields of human rights and drug control. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the views of the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, or of any other organization or body of the United Nations. Human Rights Quarterly 31 (2009) 748& 776 © 2009 by The Johns Hopkins University Press H 2009 Drug Control and Human Rights 749 I. INTRoDUCTIoN There has been wide-ranging attention in recent months regarding the importance of ensuring respect for human rights in international efforts against illicit drug trafficking and abuse, with some arguing for a “ human rights frameworkd in drug control. While human rights must be taken into account when dealing with illicit drug issues, the conceptual framework for many of these issues is too simplistic. In addition, many of the points raised are not these issues is too simplistic....
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