Wednesday, September 15, 2010

War on Drugs

The British newspaper The Guardian wrote a surprisingly candid and thoughtful article on drugs, its social and political implications and the war on drugs. This Guardian article is entitled "Our 'war on drugs' has been an abysmal failure". It is an excellent summary on the issue and a must-read. It reaches the conclusion that the current political legislation of declaring drugs illegal leads to tens of thousands of deaths annually, 1.5 million prisoners in the US alone, millions of impoverished people, social suffering, corruption of entire states, political instability, crime and criminals, 100s of billions of dollars of spending of tax money of fighting it, and the list goes on. Who benefits? Corporations who provide arms and services to fight wars in and outside the US, a few drug lords, people who are offered employment by agencies like the DEA and similar, politicians who gain rights and are given excuses to more control over society as well as support from corporations in the war-on-drugs sector. The war on drugs cannot be won and should not be carried out. Legalization is the path to reduce the negative effects of the drug business and surprisingly to drug consumption reduction as well, as shown by countries such as Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal.

Independent of this article, a different author published a second - slightly related - article on the topic of drugs in the Guardian on the same day: Hillary Clinton: Mexican drugs war is Colombia-style insurgency. Here are two more articles from the Guardian reporting on the lost war on drugs and calling for an end of drug prohibition: Time to prohibit drugs prohibition and Prohibition's failed. Time for a new drugs policy.

And by the way, war on anything seems to be absurd and misplaced. We should be looking at the approach for tackling difficult issues from a different angle. War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on Hunger, all this indicates a one against another. Problems need a coming together not a fighting each other. A war - no matter on what - can never be a sustainable solution.

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