A panel of experts from across the globe has called for an end to the drug war and acceptance of harm prevention strategies. The Obama Administration continues to ignore their recommendations and backtrack on campaign promises.
The Global Comission on Drug Policy just released their findings to the U.N. after years of research. Guess what? We aren’t winning the drug war. The Commission began as a Latin American investigation in how to combat the corruption and violence associated with the war on drugs. It eventually evolved into a global effort to rewrite drug policy goals.
The meeting of minds that put together this report is truly astounding. Sir Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin chain of companies, was one of the primary funders of the commission. Other members included: UN Secretary Kofi Annan, NATO Secretary General Javier Solona, the former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Former US Secretary of State George Shultz and even former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
Ceasar Gaviria, the former President of Columbia, stated the objectives of the commission, “our minimum goal is to get the US to discuss the problem in all its magnitude and not to lock itself up in a policy that has failed.” President Gaviria is right that the drug war has failed. The American government is far behind the rest of the world and its own citizens on drug policy. As Richard Branson stated, “It’s estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this unwinnable, the irony is that a regulated market; one that is tightly controlled; one that would offer support, not prisons to those with drug problems; would cost tax payers much less money.” Only for drug testin kits and remedies that helps to pass a drug test Americans spend $5 000 000 monthly.
With the world turning against American drug policy and a president who admits smoking marijuana in college, is change coming to the United States? The White House’s office of National Drug Control Policy released a response saying, “making drugs more available, as this report suggests, will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe.” As always, the government response is to continue using paramilitary techniques to fight a public health issue.
The gross effect of the War on Drugs is to eliminate drug trafficking in one area and move it to another. Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico are all countries that have suffered the effects of the American War on Drugs. The harder the American government tries to stamp out domestic drug production, the more violence we see in Latin America. Even if the Drug War was keeping Americans safer, which it is not, the toll that it exacts on innocent Latin Americans should be cause enough to end the Drug War.