Dependent on Rights: Assessing Treatment of Drug Dependence from a Human Rights Perspective

All people have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. For people who use addictive drugs, treatment for drug dependence is an essential element of this human right.

But social attitudes toward, and criminalization of, people who use illegal drugs have apparently influenced the practice and policy of treatment for drug dependence in many countries. The already precarious human rights situation of people who use drugs is compounded by the inability of a large percentage of them to receive humane, effective, timely and affordable treatment for their addiction.

This paper seeks to apply human rights law and principles to an assessment of practices and guidelines in the treatment of drug dependence.