From a new report by >"/>
Attention, choir! We have a new international team of pastors in church today, and they'd like to preach to you.
"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.
. . . Forty years after President Nixon launched the US government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."
Such is the tone much of this 24-page document, commissioned by a who's-who of international governance, including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and former Mexican President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
It paints a broad and well-sourced picture of how criminalizing drugs has only made organized crime richer and more violent, while leaving users less able to cope with addiction and contribute to society.
Meanwhile, the report says the drug war has sucked resources and taxed citizens for enormous amounts of money while creating countries that are less safe and less healthy.
Here are some interesting facts:
In multiple US locations, as well as in Sydney, Australia, the researchers found that increased arrests and law enforcement pressures on drug markets were strongly associated with increased homicide rates and other violent crimes.
In the 2008 Report of the Cannabis Commission convened by the Beckley Foundation, the authors reviewed research that had been undertaken to compare cannabis prevalence in those states that had decriminalized with those that maintained criminal punishments for possession. They concluded that:
"Taken together, these four studies indicated that states which introduced reforms did not experience greater increases in cannabis use among adults or adolescents. Nor did surveys in these states show more favorable attitudes towards cannabis use than those states which maintained strict prohibition with criminal penalties."
Countries that implemented harm reduction and public health strategies early have experienced consistently low rates of HIV transmission among people who inject drugs. Similarly, countries that responded to increasing HIV prevalence among drug users by introducing harm reduction programs have been successful in containing and reversing the further spread of HIV. On the other hand, many countries that have relied on repression and deterrence as a response to increasing rates of drug-related HIV transmission are experiencing the highest rates of HIV among drug using populations.
In fact, countries with harm-reduction strategies, like the UK, had nearly three times fewer cases of IV drug-related HIV.
It's all quite infuriating.
Everyone should read it.