Illegal drugs are used by 270 million people and organized crime profits from a trade with a turnover of more than
In 1961, the UN brought its prohibition-based regime under one instrument -- the
The UNODC now acknowledges that choosing an enforcement-based approach is having a range of negative 'unintended consequences'. These include the creation of a vast criminal market, the spreading of the illegal drugs trade to new areas, the stigmatization of drug users and the diversion of money from health services.
It is worthy of note though that, as well as prohibiting production, supply and use of some drugs for non-medical purposes, the
It is, however, unacceptable that neither the UN nor its member governments have meaningfully assessed these 'unintended consequences' to establish whether they outweigh the 'intended consequences' of the current system.
The Alternative World Drug Report released this year on
In light of this evidence, the report called upon governments to explore all the alternative options, including intensifying the war on drugs, maintaining the status quo, health-led approaches and legal state regulation and control.
This call is starting to resonate worldwide. In April, the summit of the
During these discussions, President Obama said: 'I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places.' He had earlier said that he considered legalization an 'entirely legitimate topic for debate'.
As the Home Affairs Select Committee finishes hearing evidence in its inquiry into UK drug policy, it is more important than ever that it calls for a comprehensive evidence- based review of all policy options. The specific frameworks for controlling currently illegal drugs under a legally regulated regime are well known and have been detailed in our book After the War on Drugs -- Blueprint for Regulation.
Fifty years ago
Decoupling drugs policy from crime policy would enable states to focus global enforcement efforts on organized criminals; leaving governments to choose the most appropriate drug policies for their domestic and regional needs.
This is no longer a debate for dinner parties. The Latin Americans are leading the way; it is up to us to follow.
- Testing the Limits of Globalization
- We're Too Tolerant of Corruption at Home
- No Need for a Witch Hunt Over Executive Pay
- Beyond Money
- 50-Year War Against Drugs Has Failed: A New Approach is Needed
- Drugs Legalization Could Make Things Worse
- Time to Separate Drugs Policy from Crime
- Organized Crime Won't Fade Away
- Is Treating The Symptoms The Way Forward?
- Heads of State Show Lack of Faith in Own Health-Care Systems
- On Drugs and Democracy
- Financial Markets, Politics and the New Reality
- BRICs Should Focus on their Own Problems
- The Persistent Threat to Soft Targets
- The Rich Grabbing Bigger Slices of Pie
- 21 Trillion Dollars Hidden in Tax Havens
- Geopolitics The World is Changing Minute by Minute
- Could We Have the Wars Without the Manipulation?
- Blowing Up History
- United Nations Human Rights Council is Irredeemable
- Triumph of Green Capital
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.