The 'war on drugs' around the world

The 'war on drugs' around the world

A major international discussion on drug use is underway, prompted by United Nations talks.

Here in New Zealand, 49 percent of adults have done drugs at some point in their life, and 17 percent used drugs in the past year.

The Ministry of Health's Drug Harm Index suggests the most harmful drug in terms of dependency, economic costs and crime is alcohol, at 72 percent. That's followed by heroin on 55 percent. Cannabis sits on 20 percent.

In 2001, Portugal decriminalised personal drug use and invested in harm reduction. They've since seen a reduction in HIV cases, and levels of drug use are below the European average.

Meanwhile, other countries like Singapore have taken a hard-line approach. People convicted of carrying large amounts of drugs can be executed.

Julian Lee takes a look at how different countries approach drug use.

Watch the video for the full Story report.