The Heidelberg Declaration
translated from the original German text


We, the participants in the First International Conference on the Victims of the "War on Drugs" (1996-02-25), and others interested in this matter, herewith proclaim ourselves:

Against Jail for Drug Usage

Religious, ritual, hedonistic and medical use of natural drugs, e.g. cannabis and magic mushrooms, have accompanied humankind from its origin. Use of these and their synthetic counterparts, e.g. LSD and MDMA, should not automatically be criminalized. There may be reasonable exceptions but prison can in no case be seen as a real help. The repressive policies of the past, and the resulting black market, cause more individual and social damage than these drugs themselves ever could.

We condemn

the often brutal methods by which people who use or trade in drugs are criminalized and jailed in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the USA and other countries, and sometimes even are sentenced to death. These are irrational acts of social control with no preventive effect and are in violation of human rights. Drug problems cannot be solved by punishment, they can be solved only through therapy. It is thus a task for the whole of society. The same applies for the use of addictive and toxic drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, etc.

We do not recommend

the injudicious use of drugs, neither psychedelic drugs nor legal or illegal addictive drugs. We wish to encourage a reasonable, healthy and responsible use of drugs. Criminalization has the opposite effect.

We strive to

enlighten the public, especially young people. We want realistic and credible information on drug use and its effects and risks to be made available, based on actual experience with drugs, not on obsolete theories or government propaganda. No political power has the moral right to prohibit generally the use of psychoactive substances.

We advocate

giving every competent and adult person freedom to choose among psychoactive substances for the exploration of unusual states of conciousness. This means that conditions must be created in which comprehensive expert guidance can be offered instead of sweeping condemnation.

We demand:

  • An immediate amnesty for victims of the war on drugs.

  • The reformulation of national and international agreements
    that hinder decriminalization.

  • An end to the war on drugs.

We hope for peace.


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