How to stop the drug wars

A HUNDRED years ago a group of foreign diplomats gathered in Shanghai for the first-ever international effort to ban trade in a narcotic drug. On February 26th 1909 they agreed to set up the International Opium Commission—just a few decades after Britain had fought a war with China to assert its right to peddle the stuff. Many other bans of mood-altering drugs have followed. In 1998 the UN General Assembly committed member countries to achieving a “drug-free world” and to “eliminating or significantly reducing” the production of opium, cocaine and cannabis by 2008.

That is the kind of promise politicians love to make. It assuages the sense of moral panic that has been the handmaiden of prohibition for a century. It is intended to reassure the parents of teenagers across the world. Yet it is a hugely irresponsible promise, because it cannot be fulfilled.hm36drugs are bad posters How to stop the drug wars

Next week ministers from around the world gather in Vienna to set international drug policy for the next decade. Like first-world-war generals, many will claim that all that is needed is more of the same. In fact the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.

“Least bad” does not mean good. Legalisation, though clearly better for producer countries, would bring (different) risks to consumer countries. As we outline below, many vulnerable drug-takers would suffer. But in our view, more would gain.

The Economist
Everyone knows this to be true, but only a few say it out loud. The hypocrisy is killing people.

 How to stop the drug wars
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5 thoughts on “How to stop the drug wars

  1. Was catching up on Democracy Now (9-3-3, at about 52min in)in a interview with Jamie Fellner

    she is asked who are the drug users and sellers, and their proportions relating to race:

    JAMIE FELLNER: Blacks and whites engage in drug offenses at about the same rate. They use drugs and they sell drugs at about the same rate. Since there are six-and-a-half times as many whites in this country, you would think there would be then proportionally six-and-a-half times as many whites being arrested on drug charges.

    But that’s not the case, because the police aren’t going into white homes, white bars, white neighborhoods, white offices to make drug arrests. They’re going into black neighborhoods. And if you go into black neighborhoods, that’s where you’ll be arresting black people. And I don’t think that’s—I mean, I hate to say it, but it’s not coincidental.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

    followed by a crewman’s laugh.. and some smooth tiptoe talking.


  2. That was an interesting video, and enlightening. I was aware that blacks are arrested and charge much more often than whites. I didn’t know that 80% of all drug arrests are for possession. That’s disconcerting. I’ve got some huge problems w/ our prisons and this only adds to it.

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