Endorsed by an impressive roster of experts, economists, and insiders, the document highlights the exploding consumption of illegal substances under the “failed” planetary prohibition regime while detailing a wide range of consequences associated with the war. Among the most troubling: exploding violence, human-rights abuses, criminal empires, corruption, unprecedented incarceration rates, and more.
The report, entitled “Ending the Drug Wars,” argues that the UN’s global war on banned substances “has failed on its own terms.” Citing declining drug prices and increasing purity “despite drastic increases in global enforcement spending,” the “expert group on the economics of drug policy” said it was therefore time for a new strategy. “The United Nations has for too long tried to enforce a repressive, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” said the authors, adding that the UN must accept that different policies will work for different countries. “It is time to end the 'war on drugs' and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis.”
The report was signed by a broad range of political leaders, academics, and five Nobel prize-winning economists. Others signatories who backed the findings include some of the world’s top insiders, such as former Reagan administration Secretary of State George Shultz, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Schultz also served as Treasury secretary under President Richard Nixon. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former NATO and EU foreign policy boss Javier Solana also endorsed the report, along with the former president of Poland and sitting senior Latin American officials.
“The pursuit of a militarized and enforcement-led global ‘war on drugs’ strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage,” the report authors explain in the foreword. “These include mass incarceration in the United States, highly repressive policies in Asia, vast corruption and political destabilization in Afghanistan and West Africa, immense violence in Latin America, an HIV epidemic in Russia, an acute global shortage of pain medication and the propagation of systematic human rights abuses around the world.” Ending prohibition would also save taxpayers a great deal, they said.
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