War on Drugs a Spectacular Failure!

The Merida Initiative, a U.S. Counter-Narcotic...

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A  report from the prestigious Global Commission on Drug Policy told the world what it already knew: the decades-long war on drugs has been a spectacular failure!

  1. Drug policies must be based on solid empirical and scientific evidence. The primary measure of success should be the reduction of harm to the health, security and welfare of individuals and society.
  2. Drug policies must be based on human rights and public health principles. We should end the stigmatization and marginalisation of people who use certain drugs and those involved in the lower levels of cultivation, production and distribution, and treat people dependent on drugs as patients, not criminals.
  3. The development and implementation of drug policies should be a global shared responsibility, but also needs to take into consideration diverse political, social and cultural realities. Policies should respect the rights and needs of people affected by production, trafficking and consumption, as explicitly acknowledged in the 1988 Convention on Drug Trafficking.
  4. Drug policies must be pursued in a comprehensive manner, involving families, schools, public health specialists, development practitioners and civil society leaders, in partnership with law enforcement agenciesand other relevant governmental bodies.In cahoots with cartel

Unfortunately, given the role the Cold War played in promoting the international drug trade – both Russia and the US recklessly denounced the report. The report also advised a strategic approach to tackling criminal mass violence as a distinct problem: Focus repressive actions on violent criminal organisations, but do so in ways that undermine their power and reach while prioritising the reduction of violence and intimidation.

“We have to realise that we are dealing with a global propaganda of illicit drugs here,” said Russia’s federal drug control service head Viktor Ivanov, clearly ignoring the report’s actual content. “This propaganda campaign is linked to the huge profits [from sales of illicit drugs] that are estimated at about $800bn annually,” he said.

The US stopped short of accusing the commission of being in cahoots with drug cartels, but was similarly disengaged from the report’s actual contents.

Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated,” said Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman of the Whitehouse office of National Drug Control Policy. But this argument ignores two key points made by the report: First that only ten per cent of users are drug-dependent, and second, that the current law-enforcement focus makes it significantly harder to provide the successful prevention and treatment that Lemaitre spoke of as if they were already the norm.

After more than 50 years fighting the drug battles of the world, we still can not stop it. We can arrest the drug-lords, kill them and yet, there are 10 more ready to take their places. Eradication of drugs will not end, and the trafficking associated with it, will not happen in the near future. As long,as there is an inherent demand from the rich as well as the poor, this will continue to be a topic for discussion. 

There are no simple answers. The governments of the world speak about the Drug Cartels, in Mexico and the mass killings directly associated with this business. And it becomes rhetoric and results or not forth coming. When Governments exercise its’ authority in many cases it is a cause for escalation, and not eradication of the problem.