It's official: The war on drugs has failed
Let's end this failed policy
A report came out today from a group called The Global Commission on Drugs Policy that says what most of us have known for years—the drug war is lost. This commission, which is made up of former leaders from developing nation declares that, “that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won.” The White House has called the report misguided and I call that pandering to the right.
Here are some facts that the Commission pointed out:
- opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008,
- cocaine by 27%, and
- cannabis by 8%
It also points out that those people who are mostly arrested for drug offenses are marginalized already and further cut off from society by drug arrests. The commission ask that these non-violent offenders be treated as if they are ill and not put in jail. It just so happens that most of these offenders throughout the world are minorities.
In a nutshell, here is what the commission says happens. I am paraphrasing. Drugs are sold into, mostly the United States and other large nations, by large cartels. The war on drugs barely reaches these upper-echelons of power. Instead, our prisons are filled with low-level dealers and addicts—people the powers that be can easily replace.
What should be happening according to commission is a rethinking of the drug policy that would take us making criminals out of drug users who hurt no one but themselves. It is especially critical of the US policies and asks that our country go to a model that favors healthcare and human rights.
Almost 35,000 people died in Mexico alone because of the drug war in the last four years. That is 60% of the people that died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. What most people do not realize is that Mexico legalized drugs for personal use in 2006. Most of the drugs that are trafficked through Mexico come to the United States. We could end the power the cartels hold over Mexico by simply legalizing marijuana. You would think that we would have learned our lessons about prohibition with the failed attempt to prohibit alcohol in the 1920s, but here we are at the same crossroads again.
Americans need to grow up about many issues, but this is one whose time has come. It is time to end our prohibition of drugs and move toward a model of healing and humanity. The war on drugs has failed and it is time that we stop playing politics and end a failed policy.