How to end a senseless war

Lives cut short, communities devastated, economies corrupted and criminal power elites reinforced. Yep, it’s the market in illicit drugs, and the state’s so-called war against it.

From Avaaz

For 50 years current drug policies have failed everyone, everywhere but public debate is stuck in the mud of fear and misinformation. Everyone, even the UN Office on Drugs and Crime which is responsible for enforcing this approach agrees – deploying militaries and police to burn drug farms, hunting down traffickers, and imprisoning dealers and addicts – is an expensive mistake. And with massive human cost – from Afghanistan, to Mexico, to the USA the illegal drug trade is destroying countries around the world, while addiction, overdose deaths, and HIV/AIDS infections continue to rise.

“Meanwhile, countries with less-harsh enforcement – like Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Australia – have not seen the explosion in drug use that proponents of the drug war have darkly predicted. Instead, they have seen significant reductions in drug-related crime, addiction and deaths, and are able to focus squarely on dismantling criminal empires.

“Powerful lobbies still stand in the way of change, including military, law enforcement, and prison departments whose budgets are at stake. And politicians fear that voters will throw them out of office if they support alternative approaches, as they will appear weak on law and order. But many former drugs Ministers and Heads of State have come out in favour of reform since leaving office, and polls show that citizens across the world know the current approach is a catastrophe. Momentum is gathering towards new improved policies, particularly in regions that are ravaged by the drug trade.

“If we can create a worldwide outcry in the next few days to support the bold calls of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, we can overpower the stale excuses for the status quo. Our voices hold the key to change – Sign the petition and spread the word.

Virtually no-one bar politicians in government office agrees with the ‘war on drugs’, yet this senseless prohibition policy continues worldwide. Scientific experts tend to the view that the most sensible policy is to regulate the market in recreational drugs, but politicians dare not address the issue until they retire or are dismissed.

Very soon, an international commission of long-of-tooth politicians now free to speak their minds will attempt to break the taboo, and will call for new approaches including the decriminalisation and regulation of drugs. Similar efforts have in the past been made on national levels, but prohibition is enshrined in international treaty. Until the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and related statutes are overturned, the senseless war will continue.

So put down that spliff for a moment, and sign the petition. Avaaz campaigns are effective.