On air: Should there be a global drug policy now we’ve lost the war?

Bolivian man at Coca market in La PazWe are losing the war on drugs in almost every country according to a European Commission report out yesterday. There’s a major international conference in Vienna today to decide how the UN should to tackle the international drugs trade and according to the report the UN’s drug strategy has been a definite failure so far. So why is it so difficult to tackle the international drugs trade? This guardian reporter traces the international trail of destruction left by Latin America’s most profitable drug, cocaine.  The Bolivian leader Evo Morales wants the raw ingredient for cocaine recognised as a legal drug. To draw attention to this he  chewed Coca leaves at the UN summit on drugs yesterday. If we can’t beat the drugs trade, should we join it by legalising and controlling supply? Do we need a single global policy on drugs?


Three years in jail for throwing a pair of shoes. The Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi has just been sentenced to three years in jail for throwing his shoes at former US President Bush on a farewell trip to Iraq in December. Muntadar al-Zaidi told the judge: “My reaction was natural, just like any Iraqi.” He was criticised by the Iraqi government, but became a hero to millions.  (Have a look at this site inspired by al-Zaidi, people against the war in Iraq sending in photos of themselves with shoes.)  Is this sentence an overreaction? The Iraqi bloggers at freealzaidi.com think so.  Even George Bush didn’t seem too concerned about ducking the journalists shoes, he made jokes about it at the time but did this attack need a strong response? He was given the three-year sentence for assaulting a foreign head of state during an official visit. Does it matter that President Bush’s life was not at risk?


60 Responses to “On air: Should there be a global drug policy now we’ve lost the war?”

  1. 1 Dan
    March 12, 2009 at 10:42

    The drug policies of the United States, designed to frighten little old ladies, is archaic and definitely counter productive.
    Recognizing this fact New York State is dismantling the draconian Rockefeller drug laws.
    Drug laws across America has resulted in a prison system that is so overcrowded that being in prison is “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” in and of itself.
    It is the nature of humans to alter their reality thru almost any means. Controlling rather than punishing will eliminate major crime outlets and increase State revenues. Additionally it will provide relief for cancer sufferers nearing the end of their life who are looking for some relief so they may come to the end their days with dignity.
    It is time to change the drug laws.

  2. 2 Marge
    March 12, 2009 at 11:54

    Muntadar-al Zaidi got a minimum sentence. Perhaps in the three years in jail he will have time to reflect on why Iraqis kill each other.
    Who will he blame for the murderous Iraqi suicide bombers who kill and maim anyone -, from women shopping, children going to school, policemen etc.
    He had better start throwing his shoes at them – but then, they would kill him wouldn’t they, and any way, he would not have enough shoes. Tell me, Is this the will of Allah?

  3. 3 Ibrahim in UK
    March 12, 2009 at 11:56

    3 years for throwing a pair of shoes at the occupier of your country? The sentence, and the physical abuse where he was being beaten to an inch of his life is more than just an overreaction. Imagine if Mandelson’s custard assailant received the same treatment.
    Iraq has changed. No one would have dared try something so audacious to Saddam’s guests, but then again, Saddam would not have invited the occupier of his country and the person responsible for countless Iraqi deaths to be his guest. The brutality has reduced moderately, but Iraq’s honour and national pride has been abandoned to jail.

  4. 4 Marge
    March 12, 2009 at 12:11

    I agree that little has been achieved with drug laws except overcrowded jails and crime.

    Alcohol is a major contributor to the drug scene and we don’t criminalize that, even though it is responsible for many road accidents., domestic violence, brawls at sporting venues etc.

    Time for a rethink on the drug scene. Perhaps people who want to stuff up their lives with drugs should be allowed to do so.

  5. 5 Count Iblis
    March 12, 2009 at 12:27

    The war on drugs can never be won in a free democratic country. Suppose that you are someone who would rather have that no one uses drugs. But your best friend smokes pot and your uncle, who is a very nice guy, trades in pot and supplies your best friend wit pot at a reasonable price. He also supplies patients who need pot giving it away for free if they can’t pay for it.

    Are you then going to say that the law is the law, so you are going to inform the police about the activities of your uncle amnd your best friend?

    Of course not! So, the fact that drugs use and even drugs dealing is not considered to be a priori criminal, means that repressive laws against drugs use/drugs dealing cannot be maintained as that would require the population to act as informers.

  6. 6 Steve in Boston
    March 12, 2009 at 12:35

    The shoe-thrower assaulted the President of the United States. He should have been shot on the spot by the Secret Service. Three years? He’s one lucky dude.

  7. 7 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 12, 2009 at 12:38

    In the wee hours of last night (11/12 Mar 2009) I heard Charles Krauthammer (a syndicated columnist with ‘The Washington Post’) talk about drugs in the USA in reference to the ongoing violence in Mexico and USA’s border States.

    What he essentially said was that either the USA ,“did a Singapore” on drugs i.e. have the death penalty for trafficking in, or being in possession of drugs above a specific weight which varies with each drug or if the USA did NOT do so then the current problems would just continue. [BTW even consumption of very small quantities of drugs in Singapore leads to jail terms and compulsory Drug Rehabilitation programs!]

    I think his remarks were insightful!

    BBC: Do we need a single global policy on drugs?

    In the light of Mr. Krauthammer’s remarks and the facts as they exist on planet Earth, I think the answer is YES!

    The whole world “does a Singapore” in terms of fighting drug addiction and trafficking.
    The whole world legalises drugs.

    The ‘in between’ situation which we have now is a complete failure simply because the drug traffickers exploit:

    >Weak ‘Rule of Law’ in countries without a tough stance on drugs.
    >Corrupt cops and drug enforcement officials in various countries.

    >Lack of extradition treaties in some cases and complex international laws.
    >Countries such as Afghanistan or failed States where tribal warlords or the Government itself may be implicitly supporting drug trafficking.

    On the lighter side of life: Perhaps people do need drugs to escape poor governance, oversight & regulation as the recent sub prime crisis has shown! Or the sub prime crisis is evidence that bankers were high on something very strange!

    [MaxMaxmilianMaximusI], Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  8. March 12, 2009 at 12:47

    2.5 Million Opium Addicts in Iran
    TEHRAN – Afghanistan is currently producing 10,000 Tons of opium a year, half of it earmarked for the Iranian market. It’s profitable! Everyone wants it. Who is going to stop it?
    The same pattern probably governs EU and US coke consumption.
    The China is the only one to have wiped out the opium trade, going to war in 1850 to stop it.
    We’re helpless, Afghanistan needs the money. Opium lulls people to sleep. It’s an ideal way for the government to keep discontent in check and lull political activists to sleep.
    Can we fight it? Not unless there is a comprehensive, international attempt to rehabilitate addicts and seclude hopeless cases.

  9. 9 Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    March 12, 2009 at 12:59

    We ned to lift the drugs bans. I am aganst the use of drugs, however I have come to realize that We (The US) waste billions of dollars on this un winable war every year. That Money could be used to jump start our economy. Also, If the drugs become legal, then there is no more black market for it. The drug gangs would have to find something else.
    I do worry about more people using. But, If some one wants to destroy themselves with drugs, so be it. If they area legal the addicts are less likely to rob or kill for them.

  10. 10 Bob in Florida
    March 12, 2009 at 13:20

    In spite of the successes on the part of Homeland Security as seen on the TV program by the same name in the US we still have a big problem with drugs coming across the borders. More and better enforcement is needed.

    But in this discussion of drugs let’s not forget about crack and meth manufactured in homemade labs across the country and the epidemic in the abuse of perscription drugs.

  11. March 12, 2009 at 13:26

    Hi Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    We shouldn’t lift the drugs ban since drugs kill. We should speak more openly on the effects of drugs and offer clinical help to addicts.
    Opium is on sale in numerous places in Tehran and across the country. There are no drug lords in the South American sense of the term. Anyone can go to the Afghan border and purchase a batch. It alleviates poverty in rural areas. It is simple to grow and profitable for farmers. But long-term use of opium destroys families and erodes the health of individuals.

  12. 12 Maccus Germanis
    March 12, 2009 at 13:46

    No global drug policy is needed. Even a national policy in the US prevents local governance in California from making their own peace in the drug war.

  13. March 12, 2009 at 13:53

    We do much too little here in the States regarding research into drug rehabilitation. Even alcoholism is woefully under researched, as is also the social interplay between drugs and poverty. We can’t begin to stem the tide of drug trafficking if the demand remains — because of self medicating, because of financial struggles. Focusing on the symptom does not cure the illness. And boy do we have a sick nation.

  14. 14 Count Iblis
    March 12, 2009 at 13:56

    Steve, but then some other Iraqi officials were sentenced to death on the grounds that they were involved in sentencing people to death. So, if you are consistent, you should also say that after killing the man who assaulted the US President, the people involved in his killing should receive the death sentence.

  15. 15 Roberto
    March 12, 2009 at 14:07

    RE “” So why is it so difficult to tackle the international drugs trade?””

    —————- For the same reason it takes a couple of dozen years and a thousand and one usual reports to the usual highranking political honchos, it’s the insipient failure of the democracies to fairly regulate the driving human need to ingest whatever it is that they like, whether that be drugs, food, or drink.

    Instead, the democracies have enabled through generous financial support the largest human labor smuggling networks in world history in conjuction with the largest drug smuggling networks in the world.

    US leads the pack in insipient stupidity, or used to. We don’t know if it can ever recover from it’s adulterated toxic mortgage derivitives it poisoned itself and the world with. The US went from mass spraying of Agent Orange herbicide in Vietnam era cold war to spraying herbocides on poor Mexicans, Columbians, and Peruvians without missing a beat.

    With the various states at the brink of collapse like Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan and most all other states in similar straights, these smuggling cartels are sitting in high cotton with a ton of cash reserves and their own armies as they are dominating global trade.

  16. March 12, 2009 at 14:54

    Either immediately execute any and all possessors of drugs or tax it.

    Or Make it so cheap, that drug dealers won’t be able to turn a profit.

    Use all media and society to make fun of low life forms who throw away opportunity and potential by reverting to drugs.

    Present day alcoholics and smokers also should be mocked from the start.

    We really should make fun of those people who need chemicals to make their useless existence bearable. Get out of the way and stop contaminating my space sort of attitude.

    The last and worst alternative would be to poison all drugs so that users quietly die off.

    They say Mao ended up killing some 60 million drug addicts, and prostitutes and other real social problems, and then, after the main social problems were dealt with they could start from scratch to build a society of people who were not burdaned with such horrible problems. That all happened at a time of limited communication, and isolation. It is doubtful that any system could get away with that sort of approach today. They were effective at addressing their drags on the society.

    In America we do not have the courage and the will to set up real dragnets and ambushes to kill off the real criminals that spill over from gutless law enforcement and serious consequences for drug dealing.

    The bad guys get worse more inhumane and the law enforcement folks get good at simply ignoring the problem and turn their backs on the growing mess. The attitude becomes why endanger yourself. The courts and people don’t care, so put your time in, collect your pay and let someone else deal with it all.

    troop on the Oregon coast

  17. March 12, 2009 at 15:03

    There is one other more progressive method of dealing with the drug problem.

    Capture any and all drug users, dealers, sellers. Throw them into a prison, train them as attack forces with bayonets and single shot rifles, cordon methods and parachute them into the heart and soul of drug growing areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tell them to attack and take all the resouces of the war loards, and keep amassing their wealth until they dominate the area and totally eliminate all the jihad wackos. Plenty of people already in prison on drug charges to begin this and plenty more to be rounded up especially in cities and on the boarders of Mexico and America.

    Main thing is to use drug people as a resource and allow them to fight for freedom.


  18. 18 Allan
    March 12, 2009 at 15:47

    On the shoe issue. I can only imagine the sentence was had something to do with the defendant’s poor aim. I’m sure if he’d hit his target he’d have been given an important government job and a reward.

  19. 19 Roy, Washington DC
    March 12, 2009 at 15:48

    something that only affects one’s own self is a waste of time and money, both of which are in short supply right now. Drug addicts should be able to receive help, hard drugs that put others at risk both by users and by manufacturers (e.g. methamphetamine) should be kept illegal…but softer drugs that only affect the user should be made legal. Regulate them, tax them and make money off of them…but legalize them. This way, global resources can be focused on more pressing matters, like the economy.

  20. 20 Ibrahim in UK
    March 12, 2009 at 15:58

    According to both the US and the UN, it was the Taleban that managed to all but eradicate the opium farms (along with everything else). Today, under NATO protection and encouragement, the opium farmers are thriving again and producing at record levels. The warlords depend on the opium production; the US presence in Afghanistan depends on keeping the warlords happy. The World is still living under the philosohy that the “ends justify the means”. The same philosophy that armed and supported the creation of Al-Qaeda to fight against the Soviets, is now arming and supporting opium warlords to fight against Al-Qaeda.

  21. March 12, 2009 at 16:49

    Quarantine and confine all drug addicts on a planet of their own and let them dope themselves to stupor…

  22. 22 Archibald in Oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 17:02

    Eliminate the profit motivations and their will be no need for draconian drug laws. Death penalties and forced military service are not the solution……….Legalization is the only solution, not only would it be a legitimate way to fix the world economy, through regulation and tariff. It would also limit the profits and funding that many rogue and mainstream gov’ts receive from illegal drug trafficking. Alcohol and cigarettes are, hands down, the two most addictive drugs on the market, yet, no one is trying to stop their proliferation, with the exception of a few Islamic states. If you want to see some world chaos, deny alcohol and cigarettes to the numerous, hopelessly addicted masses, which includes many prominent leaders………Hypocrisy reigns supreme, legalize drugs…..

  23. 23 Rose in Florida
    March 12, 2009 at 17:09

    Legalize and TAX! What could be a better way to kill two birds with one stone?

  24. March 12, 2009 at 17:13

    From an Iraqi perspective he threw a show at an occupier. From the view of the Law – in any country and any context – he made a violation. Rather greviously …

  25. 25 Scott [M]
    March 12, 2009 at 17:33

    I’ve never done an illegal drug, not even marijuana. But, yet I say: legalize them all! This is the only intelligent course of action given the circumstances.

  26. 26 Chris Greenwald
    March 12, 2009 at 17:35

    Leap.cc is a website for the recall on the prohibition of drugs

  27. 27 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 17:38

    The war on drugs is a joke. Humans will always find mind altering drugs for recreation use. Heavily tax it and legalize. Instead of a revenue suck on us tax payers we would have a revenue income. Then we could have money to put people away that are breaking laws.

  28. 28 ecotopian
    March 12, 2009 at 17:41

    Legalize it and take the profit out of it. Prohibition isn’t working. Demand will always be there. That’s just a fact. Demand for liquor in the US didn’t really go down in the 20’s, you just couldn’t get any because of Prohibition. Governments are being given a golden opportunity to regulate the supply through legalization. Why aren’t they taking it?

  29. 29 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:48

    I don’t see how you could legalize a drug like cocaine or heroin, in which an overdose can kill you. The only way a drug like marijuana could kill you is if it fell on you, but with heroin and cocaine, there is a very serious risk of death from abusing it.

  30. 30 ecotopian
    March 12, 2009 at 17:48

    Ma’am how dare you say I don’t understand? My dad was a raging alcoholic. So I understand about addiction. Keeping them illegal will do nothing about addiction. We can track the drugs better if they are legal. People will always be addicts, if it’s legal we might be able help them more easily.

  31. 31 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 17:52

    I don’t care if people are addicted. You now have money by legalizing it to support services for those that want get clean. All the laws do now is suck money and it’s not doing anything to help the problems. Amsterdam seems to be doing okay, why can’t the rest of the world.

  32. 32 Luis
    March 12, 2009 at 17:57

    If you legallize drugs you legitimize the drug cartel. What we need to do is start community programs to help the poverty stricken and people with mental issues.

  33. 33 Ogola Benard
    March 12, 2009 at 17:57

    There are some countries that where built out of drugs according to releases but i wounder why marijuana is so freely puffed and no legal action taken – I think its a substance to bring about economic recovery! However in Uganda, the jail term is seven years of imprisonment!

  34. 34 Steve
    March 12, 2009 at 17:59

    @ Vanessa

    Amsterdam has major problems and the city is trying to clean it up because of all the crime drugs brings in.

  35. 35 Tom D Ford
    March 12, 2009 at 18:00

    Legalize but don’t commercialize!

    Let the government give out drugs for cost to people who register and take classes about the effects of the drugs and still decide to use.

    But don’t allow advertising to draw in more users!

  36. 36 Puck 101
    March 12, 2009 at 18:00

    We’ll never win the war on anything as long as we leave our borders wide open. We’ll never win if we just give the perpetrators a slap on the wrist . We won’t win if we decide to leagalize anything that we have trouble controlling. They say , leagalize Marijuana.. Well, after that ; what ? Decide that Robbery isn’t so bad, and we can waive the punishment for that ? Next will come murder.. Although we’ve started on leagalizing that with abortion. Next to that will come Euthanasia . Aristotle said : ” Man perfected by society is the best of all animals: he is the most terrible of all when he lives without law, and without justice “..

  37. 37 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 18:09

    @Puck 101,

    That’s a bit extreme don’t you think? You need a little more perspective. Alcohol was legalized, do you have a problem with that? I find alcohol to be worse than some of the illegal recreational drugs people use.

    @Tom D Ford,

    Right on!

  38. 38 Anthony
    March 12, 2009 at 18:26

    Yea, make hemp legal for recreational use, medicinal use, and industrial use. That’s how you get rid of a lot of the problems in the U.S. No one can ever give me one valid why hemp is a schedule 1 drug, especially when you can drink booze and smoke cigarettes!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  39. 39 Ken in Portland Oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 18:32

    I am not, and never have been, a “recreational” drug user. I believe it is one of the most stupid things any individual can do. However, I have no moral right to impose my belief on anyone else.

    It has been proven throughout history that prohibition does not work.

    The best way to deal with this problem is to do the following, worldwide:

    1. Legalize all recreational drug use.
    2. Regulate it and tax it.
    3. All proceeds from taxation is to be dedicated to the development and implementation of programs to a) educate people about the dangers of drug use, and b) help those who have addictions and want help.
    4. Establish severe penalties for crimes and damages committed by anyone who is under the influence of drugs.

    Personal drug use is, while incredibly stupid, a matter of personal choice. Just like alcohol use, if you damage property or injure (or endanger) people while under the influence, the crime is not that you were drunk or high, it is that you injured or endangered others. It is your choice to use drugs. It is your responsibility to accept the consequences of your choice.

  40. 40 Ken in Portland Oregon
    March 12, 2009 at 18:37

    Tom D Ford,

    As long as the source of drugs is restricted, as you suggest, there will be a black market to circumvent it. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is, by state law, the only distributor of hard liquor in Oregon. And there is a black market to circumvent it.

  41. 41 billy
    March 12, 2009 at 18:44


  42. 42 Venessa
    March 12, 2009 at 20:01

    @ Steve ~

    Have you looked at stats compared to the US? You might be surprised at how much worse the crime is here.

  43. 43 ecotopian
    March 12, 2009 at 20:11


    Last time I checked, booze is legal and it can kill you if you drink too much. You know, alcohol poisoning.

  44. 44 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 12, 2009 at 20:40

    Re:Steve March 12, 2009 at 17:48

    “I don’t see how you could legalize a drug like cocaine or heroin, in which an overdose can kill you. The only way a drug like marijuana could kill you is if it fell on you, but with heroin and cocaine, there is a very serious risk of death from abusing it.”
    I just love this *hit (I mean your comment and not hashish or marijuana!)! I don’t remember if I’ve agreed or disagreed with you on past topics BUT that was (almost) exactly what I was going to say if I’d gotten a chance to speak tonight!

    That is:
    If all/most agree that legalising drugs (i.e. sold by the Government only) with very strict transparency statutes and ‘right of the public to know’ statutes is the solution, then marijuana and hashish are the only drugs with which you can do this experiment or trial of legalisation!

    That too has a caveat! If my limited knowledge of drugs is correct; pure / unadulterated marijuana and hashish are only psychologically addictive and NOT physiologically addictive. The problem IS that most marijuana and hashish are ‘cut’ or adulterated with opium! So users who get addicted are actually getting addicted to the opium and NOT the marijuana and/or hashish! Just to offer a comparison; the nicotine in cigarettes is physiologically
    Not psychologically
    addictive! Being a smoker (of cigarettes) I know exactly what that IS and how true that IS!

    As for cocaine and heroin your comment is right on! Indirectly or directly; legalising cocaine and heroin places any Government in the ‘moral hazard’ position of earning taxes while wittingly or unwittingly causing the death of people/users/its own citizens!

    Indeed a Catch-22!

    [MaxMaxmilianMaximusI], Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  45. 45 Josiah Soap, USA
    March 12, 2009 at 21:00

    It may be best to think what drugs we legalize, many can kill through overdose. If they are legal and one assumes easy to get hold of, then no knowing what could happen. Some drugs like pot could be legalized. However, this wouldn’t crack down on the criminal element associated with the hard drugs. Also in different countries some substances like alcohol or illegal. I don’t like this global policies of the UN. Maybe the UN will make a wonder drug and feed it to us all so we become mindless brain washed morons willing to accept their global governance. Or maybe that has happened already.

  46. 46 Eric Mack
    March 13, 2009 at 00:28

    The sentence on al-Zaidi is ridiculous, bizarre, and barbaric. It doesn’t inspire confidence in justice in the “new” Iraq, or in its Government. Half the world would like to throw shoes at George Bush, whose bull-headed ignorance and ineptitude has left economic and social disaster in its wake, globally. Islamic societies should be focusing on the fundamentalists who now endanger their societies, and others globally – not just impulsive and harmless gestures.

  47. March 13, 2009 at 04:33

    Dear Sir,

    I feel that the incident of throwing of the shoe at Bush is drawn out of proportion.

    If Bush did not think it worth acknowledging why are we?

    The punishment is out of proportion with what Bush has said/

    Lets us accept Bush’s statement and forget the whole incident.


  48. 48 Dave in Florida
    March 13, 2009 at 12:11

    There would not be a problem and these drug gangs would not exsist if it were not for one thing — drug users. It’s time we stop looking at drug users as the poor vicims of something beyond their control. They are criminals and as long as drugs are illegal, they deserve to be treated as the criminals they are.

  49. 49 Dennis Junior
    March 13, 2009 at 14:23

    Do we need a single global policy on drugs?
    Yes….Having different policy on drugs is often confusing and; does not always works….

    -Dennis Junior-

  50. 50 Tony Parkes
    March 13, 2009 at 14:36

    War on Drugs, why is the UN involved in this? Different countries have different rules for drugs. In Holland canabis is not classed the same as in Saudi Arabia or Spain. In some arab or middle eastern countries hashish is not classsed as a drug while it is in some european countries.

    The irony with all of this is that in some countries, it is not the possession of drugs that gets you arrested, rather the quantity you are carrying is the qualifier.

    There are so many other conflicting comparisons why a world body is takig this one is odd. How is the UN going to help all of this, i do not know or see. We can proclaim that some drugs are worse than others or whatever suits our society, however, the reality is that the consensus as hoped by the UN can never be achieved therefore a different approach is needed.

    Make the drugs a tradable and taxable commodity like everything else, this was legitmate and sustainable practice would be in place and goverments through agreements can decide to make this acceptable for their citizens e.g. certain hand guns, due to import restrictions and laws, a citizen of the UK unable to purchase some types which his counterpart in the US may be allowed to have. In some cases, it will lead to illegal activity, however, this will be much reduced as this is a natural reasource and not a manufactured one.

  51. 51 D in Hope, Idaho
    March 13, 2009 at 19:39

    Depends on what the single drug policy turns out to be. I think we need to have a comprehensive public disclosure and informed debate and then we need to have a public policy discussion in order to determine the best solution, just in case there are any people who are still in doubt that legalizing drugs is the right thing to do. But, that is only part of the solution. It has taken far too long for mental illness of any form to be accepted as an integral part of our health program even though keeping it separate has been self-defeating and a total failure. We really need an enlightened panel of policy debaters and makers. People who are not in a hurry to assume that any part of the question does not deserve sincere consideration and will take the time to look at the entirety of the issue. There is no room for mistake in finding the best solution to the question of legalizing drugs. This is a momentous undertaking – late in coming, but still a very big deal.

    The largest and strongest opposition to overcome will be the U.S. Government’s mentality on drug legality. At first, I did not believe the rumors that the CIA was trafficking in drugs from the Far East and South and Central America, but since hearing about it in the ’60’s, I have read several accounts and even “60 Minutes” had a segment on this outrageous behavior of our government agencies. This demoralizing fact alone will make it very difficult to create a sensible drug policy. Legalizing drugs will lower their profits drastically and it is in the U S government agencies’ interest to keep them high because they are using the profits from trafficking to help finance “black ops” supposedly in the interests of the notorious sacred cow of national security. Well, I think we have seen and now understand that almost anything done in the interest of our “national security” has turned tail on us and struck back with a vengeance. It’s more than time to take an honest look at our “national security” behavior and come clean. There can be no justification for our behavior other than the powers that be thought their position of power gave them the right to be bullies through out the world. The CIA and other law enforcement agencies are the ultimate example of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Additionally, we have the DEA which is hell bent on spreading disinformation on industrial hemp in order to maintain its command over the sky to investigate marijuana fields. When it comes to military and police activity we hear they must have the best equipment for their job. I believe they must have the best equipment suited for what they are supposed to accomplish. Would you use a nail to comb your hair? Why would you use an airplane to search for marijuana if you couldn’t distinguish it from industrial hemp in the air? There is a difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, but the police will tell you there is not because then they can’t justify using airplanes to conduct surveillance. We have more than a few things backwards, but the agencies are so entrenched in their empire building ways that they can not easily change even if it is the right thing to do for the whole country or the entire world.

    Prohibition has never worked. Not for alcohol, not for prostitution, not for anything that humans really want to do. It is so against nature to prohibit, but so unreasonable and unrealistic to prohibit out of prejudice and fear. Prohibition has never been successful. That’s why we have laws – they cannot protect, they only make it possible for us to punish in an orderly fashion whether reasonably or not. It is time for an enlightened view to take precedence at our policy making sessions so that the result is reasonable with justice for all – not just some special interest group or groups – but instead, what is best for the entire population. We must choose what we criminalize wisely and we must recognize what is illness and what is not with information, education, compassion and understanding.

  52. 52 Emile Barre
    March 14, 2009 at 13:00

    As long as alcohol is still not treated as a drug in the same way as the “conventional” meaning of that word, the hypocrisy, which is current global drug policy, will continue.

  53. 53 Tom D Ford
    March 14, 2009 at 18:07

    If you legalize drug use and only the government can supply it AT COST to people who register, take classes about drugs use, and are given licenses to use, the people who will use drugs no matter what the law will get their drugs without having to commit crimes, the drug dealers and smugglers will go out of business, crimes committed to get drugs will stop, the international drug trade will stop, thuggish dictators who arm themselves through drug money and rule through fear and intimidation funded by drugs will have to change their ways, and the massive amounts of money currently spent on police and prisons can be spent on other things or not even be collected as taxes.

    Let’s just acknowledge that some people are going to use drugs no matter what, and let’s just give them their drugs in a way that save all the rest of us from the detrimental problems associated with outlawing drugs and the subsequent “Drug Wars” problems.

  54. 54 benjy
    March 16, 2009 at 00:28

    Unfortunately, when it comes to drug control, especially on the supply side, there is simply too much resources that the government needs to expend to get rid of the problem totally. Factor in corruption and it really is a hopeless situation. On the demand side as well, therapy and intervention for drug abusers are sadly not on the priority list for many countries. Personally, I have met many who feel that these people got their “just desserts.” A very elitist and pragmatic way of looking at things that is very unfortunate.

    I am working in a hospital in Singapore, where there are very stiff penalties against drug taking. We are a small country and comparatively, control is easier. Having said that, there are still quite a number of them who come in for symptoms related to drug abuse and honestly speaking, the only effective treatment for drug abusers is to restart their life completely. No matter how much therapy one goes through, if he or she goes back to where they come from and meet with the friends who abuse drugs, they will go through the entire cycle again.

  55. 55 Dora
    March 16, 2009 at 17:08

    @Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I

    really….all laced with opium, I think not.

    Maybe the key is to look at countries with low drug-addiction problems and assess what we can learn and implement that. Not just the laws but also the social environment and education policies.

  56. March 17, 2009 at 12:04

    No one can blame this man for his anger towards the person, who was the reason for the loss of thousands of life in his country.

    Yet, assaulting the Head of State, is a disgraceful action.
    He should definetly answer to his action.

    Yes! three years imprisonment sounds good.

  57. 57 VELU
    March 19, 2009 at 07:05

    Drugs are more important aspect of living in any species and human life. So, don’t produces of drugs I say’s we are shouldn’t distrub they life. Once I’ll say’s we are don’t credit; but,destroyed it of the lifes.

  58. 58 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 21, 2009 at 14:46

    @ Dora March 16, 2009 at 17:08

    really….all laced with opium, I think not.

    Ms. Dora, what I said is: “The problem IS that most marijuana and hashish are ‘cut’ or adulterated with opium!”

    I’ve used the word ‘most’ NOT all.

    As you can read in many newspaper reports as well as watch in any ‘Crime’ TV documentary ALL drugs sold on the street are ‘cut’ with something. In any case the concept of psychological or physiological or psychological AND physiological addiction aren’t mine but are what I’ve read in ‘op ed’ pieces or other articles/papers based on research done on drugs.

    I DO agree with the second paragraph of your comment, though!

  59. March 30, 2009 at 07:56

    wrong analysis and wrong perspectives has made the world legalise the wrong thing….TOBACCO.

    tambua village

  60. 60 globalcomedy
    April 6, 2009 at 05:05

    The policy should be to legalize drugs. This takes the profit out of it for drug cartels. The govt. should regulate it and tax it as high as possible. Then, use this money to pay for education and treatment.

    Part of the education should be this. Saying drugs AND alcohol is hypocritical. Alcohol is a drug. So why the seperation? The usual answer is, well, both has different sets of problems. Which means you need to differientiate.

    No you don’t. Calling all drugs what they are would be a good step. Also, drug addiction is a health problem. Why are so many people of color in jail under draconian drug laws when many whites aren’t? Why does the govt. have a marijuana farm that they use to dispense it all over the country? But you can be busted for possessing a tiny amount?

    If you do legalize everything, what else will happen? Will everyone be an addict? No. How many addicts are there now that need help and aren’t getting it? As usual, it comes down to money and power.

    If drugs are legalized, should a city have a shooting gallery where addicts can safely go to use? In Switzerland and in Canada, they’ve had these galleries for a long time. Have these totally destroyed tourism in Canada and Switzerland? No.

    How many drug companies will jump at the chance to get their share of this new legal market?

    If you use nicotine or caffeine every day, you’re a drug addict. How many fine, upstanding people like this will admit that?

    Why is it that there are AA meetings where you can go and use two other drugs (caffeine and nicotine in a smokers meeting)? Wouldn’t it make more sense to not have drugs there for recovering alcoholics to substitute? When I’ve asked other alcoholics about this, many look at me like THE NERVE OF SOME PEOPLE! How dare you criticize this! This is THE BIG BOOK. It’s ALWAYS been this way! They literally can’t conceive of another idea that could help a lot of people.

    But to solve all of these things, legalization is the first step.

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