In 1998, the United Nations committed member states to achieve a "drug-free world", pledging to eliminate or "significantly reduce" use of opium, cannabis and cocaine by 2008. Instead, global opiate use rose by more than one-third over that time, with big rises also for cocaine and cannabis.
Politicians say they fear drug use would rise if prohibition is lifted. Evidence from abroad shows they are wrong. Look at Scandinavia, where the tough Swedes and more liberal Norwegians have similar addiction rates. Or Switzerland, where heroin demand and crime fell sharply following new policies based on public health rather than legality. Or Portugal, where heroin use fell by half after decriminalisation.
So here is a suggestion for our three main party leaders, who are all young enough to know better: why not hoist the white flag and work out a unified way to end a struggle that does so much more harm than good?
The alternative is to carry on fighting like generals in the First World War, ignoring the deaths, the devastation and the wastelands created around the world in a battle than can never be won.
June 5, 2011
From the UK
Ian Birrell give a nice new twist to the same-old-same-old in the Guardian's Observer Magazine:
Labels: war on drugs