Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Stop the War On Drugs

The Guardian's recent article on the UK's drug policy starts with a nice bit of sarcasm:

If the purpose of drug policy is to make toxic substances available to anyone who wants them in a flourishing market economy controlled by murderous criminal gangs, the current arrangements are working well. |Guardian|

Sad but true. The law enforcement approach to the war on drugs has been an abject failure. The health care model might prove more useful.

As the article cited above concludes:

The Swiss policy of treating heroin addiction as a health issue rather than a moral or criminal one has been a resounding success with, among other indicators, a 60% reduction in criminal activity among participating addicts. When Portugal legalised the possession of all drugs, it experienced a decade of sharp declines in overall drug use, especially among the young. In Amsterdam, where over-the-counter marijuana sales have been tolerated for decades, rates of use among teenagers are much lower than they are in the US, where harsh penalties abound.

Latin America is advancing the debate, but even in the US there are efforts to undo the damage of prohibition, the most prominent being California's effort to legalise marijuana.

Hopefully, the thousands of Mexicans, Brazilians and people from other parts of the world who have been killed in the insane "war on drugs" will not have died in vain. Their deaths are already showing that it is time to put an end to all the pain and harms caused by drug prohibition; it is time to legalise and regulate the production, the supply and the consumption of all drugs. |Guardian|

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