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What DW readers think about drugs

Conor Dillon
April 20, 2016

With the UN special session on on drugs underway, DW is publishing the results of three separate Twitter polls. They show how Twitter users around the world really feel about drugs and contain a few surprises.

Image: Getty Images/U.S. Customs/Newsmakers

What should governments do about drugs?

It's a question the UN is addressing over the course of three days this week as hundreds of government officials convene for a special session in New York - the first of its kind in nearly 20 years.

But it's also a question most of us have a very strong feelings about.

The UN is now focused on health and human rights, as the approach based on "law-and-order" and its emphasis on repression has now been largely discredited, while the US' war on drugs is now widely considered a failure.

Ahead of the session, DW asked Twitter users to weigh in on three different polls.

The first issue up for a vote: marijuana.

Roughly two in three Twitter users think cannabis should be legalized in some form or another.

Infografik DW Twitter-Umfrage Drogen Cannabis legalisiert Englisch

One passionate DW user responded directly to that poll, saying the term "drug" didn't apply to marijuana.

When it comes to punishment for drug use or possession, roughly one in five are still in favor of very strict punishments - even including the death penalty.

But a wide majority are for rehabilitation programs or no punishment at all.

Infografik DW Twitter-Umfrage Drogen Drogengebrauch bestraft Englisch

Finally, we asked Twitter users whether they agreed with one of the UN's stated goals, namely, that we should live in a drug-free world.

The most popular answer was "Yes, drugs ruin lives."

Infografik DW Twitter-Umfrage Drogen UN-Ziel drogenfreie Welt Englisch

But 31 percent also felt they could make that decision for themselves, considering no law necessary and that, ultimately, the choice of whether not to use such substances should fall on legal adults.

The UN, in its last such meeting in 1998, said it was determined to eradicate drugs from the planet by 2008.

Today, the world body is hoping to fight the problem by focusing its efforts on treatment, a liberalization of drug policy and the abolishment of the death penalty.

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