Global Commission Report: War on Drugs A Failure

The Global Commission on Drug Policy has just released a report finding the War on Drugs is a failure. The report is available here.

The report says some drugs should be legalized and calls for the decriminalization of drug use. Who's on the commission? Among others: Former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, the former President of Colombia Cesar Gaviria, the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

The BBC reports:

Their report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths...."Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.


On drug users:

Instead of punishing users who the report says "do no harm to others," the commission argues that governments should end criminalisation of drug use, experiment with legal models that would undermine organised crime syndicates and offer health and treatment services for drug-users.

The report is very critical of the U.S. and called on the U.S. to "abandon anti-crime approaches to drug policy and adopt strategies rooted in healthcare and human rights."

The Obama Administration's reaction? It rejects the report, which it labels "misguided."

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    Shocker (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:48:31 AM EST
    Administration announces report that proves their policies don't work as "misguided".  Jesus, I would expect as much from the previous admin, but this is pathetic.  At least give us a response that makes sense.

    How do you keep a substance illegal, yet decriminalize usage as the report suggests ?  Treatment ?

    I was reading this story about Oxy in the south and the Sheriff said something about not having the man power to save people from themselves.

    Man did that tick me off, a person who ruins lives thinking he is actually saving people from themselves.  So better he ruin my life then me, WTF are these people thinking.

    They also have to pay for the test (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Amiss on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:04:12 PM EST
    themselves upfront, if found drug free, then they are "supposed" to be re-imbursed. "Rick Scott give money back to people who are in desparate straits to begin with? Heck, that is how he has made his living............off the poor.

    The war on drugs is a crime against (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by observed on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:53:11 PM EST
    humanity---and I say that as someone who doesn't even approve of pot use.

    The Demos should grab this and run with it (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:00:56 PM EST
    They would be shocked to see what support it would have.

    Will they? No.

    Why not the "Repubs"? n/t (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:10:13 AM EST
    That works for me (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:14:25 AM EST
    But the chances are slim and slimmer that the Repubs would embrace such a policy beyond the Rep Libertarians.

    The Demos, on the other hand, have the White House and the Senate.

    But they don't have the nerve.


    Oh, it's worse than that (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:16:32 AM EST
    We are too busy being very very good Christians now lest someone accuse us of being Muslim.

    Puleeeeezzeeee, MT (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:39:03 PM EST
    Ya gotta know better than that.

    Pffft (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:10:02 PM EST
    I gotta a President who prays in public at the drop of hat right now cuz you guys won't quit calling him a Muslim.

    And "the word" is always Jesus (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:11:58 PM EST
    Never just God....cuz God knows there are many Gods he could be accused of talking to.

    Puleeeezzzeeee, MT (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:42:03 PM EST
    I know you are frustrated over Obama not performing but this continual not accepting responsibility for what is happening "today" is making him look juvenile.

    Of course I would be happy to "look" juvenile since we both have our birthdays on the same day.... but mine is 40 years or so earlier!



    He prays to Jesus at the drop of a hat (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:56:16 PM EST
    this whole year.  He has outprayed George Bush in public now.

    I wish he'd talk more about (none / 0) (#24)
    by Raymond Bell on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 07:50:24 PM EST
    responsibility, and not just his:

    "I love the folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy,'" the president told an outdoor crowd at Macomb Community College, veering off his scripted words. "That's fine. Give it to me. My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and harp and gripe."

    Obama on Responsibility

    God-bothering won't save Obama, it didn't save the Republicans in 2006-2008.


    "Slim and slimmer"?!? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:10:29 AM EST
    How about "none to nonner"?

    Neither the Dems or Repubs would attempt to use this to legalize drugs ... I just think it's funny (and telling) that a "social liberal" would try to lay it at the feet of the Democrats, despite the fact that the strongest opposition to any legalization is from the Republicans.


    Uh, I think it is obvious that (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:37:03 PM EST
    you are always looking for something to disagree with me about.

    My point remains. The Demos have the pulpit and the Senate. Yet all I see is Bush on steroids.

    So don't blame the Repubs for opposing a policy that the Hope and Change boys and girls have not launched, discussed or even whispered about.


    No need to "look" (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:26:31 PM EST
    Just the way it is ...

    My point also remains.  For someone who claims to be a "social liberal", it's just funny to hear you faulting only Democrats on the drug war, when it was Republican presidents who created and preach the loudest about it.  Also funny, since most Democrats are in favor of marijuana legalization, while most Republicans oppose it.

    BTW - I'm no fan of Obamas, but he never even suggested he would stop the "war on drugs".


    That's not blame (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:45:18 PM EST
    The Demos should grab this and run with it (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:00:56 PM CST
    They would be shocked to see what support it would have.
    Will they? No.

    That's just a statement of fact. And I even agreed re the Repubs.

    So why the disagreement???


    BTW - I'm no fan of Obamas, but he never even suggested he would stop the "war on drugs".

    Thanks for making my point.


    The disagreement is because ... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:55:33 PM EST
    ... you lay responsibility for stopping the "war on drugs" at the feet of the Dems (and condemn them for not having the courage to do so), while letting the Republicans (the staunchest proponents of the WOD) off the hook.

    Pretty funny, ...

    ... especially for a "social liberal".


    That's really disappointing (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:15:43 AM EST
    Few people consider pot out of the norm these days.  Someone put this video up on my facebook this morning and I thought it was really funny but it seems fitting here too.  Even in Russia weed isn't experienced as anything evil on a social level, this anchor woman can't quit laughing thinking about bears having a smoke and guarding the pot plants.

    I guess cutting big govt isnt a priority (none / 0) (#10)
    by PatHat on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:06:26 AM EST
    Think of the savings! And the tax revenue. The govt will get around to this eventually.

    Thanks, Donald (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 12:24:01 AM EST
    I deleted that comment because of the offensive language.

    The drug war, not just an innocent mistake (none / 0) (#25)
    by TheEvilOne on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:06:39 PM EST
    Why if the results of the policy of prohibition are so harmful do nations especially that particular nation the US persist with it? It seems to me that US attachment to the drug prohibition indicates that it must be giving its proponents something that they very much desire.

    Opponents of prohibition point to the harms caused and instead advocate "harm minimization", prohibition supporters react to this ideas with scorn.  Perhaps the reason is that they see the harms from prohibition as a good thing as most who suffer the harm belong to minorities that they dislike and against whom they are in the habit of discriminating. Explicit discrimination by via the law has been replaced by implicit discrimination via the biased application of laws against normal human behaviour.

    The harms from prohibition are not evenly distributed across all ethnic groups and economic strata. If the children of rich white people were having their lives wrecked by the drug laws at the rate that this is happening to poor Blacks, the policy would not last 5 minutes, but they are not.  Laws criminalizing normal human behaviour such as the use of mind altering substances generate so many breaches that the available resources can only detect and prosecute a tiny fraction. It is thus easy for authorities to bias enforcement towards the usual suspects while society pretends to be unaware of the bias. In fact the bias justifies itself by the fact that statistics on convictions and punishment seem to imply that minorities are of inherently bad character.

    I have long suspected that this is how things are firstly from relevant newspaper articles and TV documentaries, and later from internet posts but this kind of evidence is too easily dismissed as anecdotal.  However finally an impressive analyst, Michelle Alexander has written a detailed study including exhaustive documentation of the several strands of how racial malice is channeled and amplified by the criminal justice system, especially its approach to drugs. Her book is titled "The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness".

    One of the strands she documents is how the drug war was ramped up starting in the Regan years with an explicitly racist campaign against the Black community, involving reference to crack, crack babies and crack whores, and this at a time when drug use was declining.  An open minded reader of the relevant chapter cannot fail to see that the war against drugs was the counter-attack against Black people for the limited successes of the civil rights movement of the '60s and '70s.

    When one analyses  the network of causes behind a social problem and finds that the extent of the problem is exactly as one would expect given these causes, one is entitled to assume that advocates of policies resulting in this network of causes want exactly these effects. The history of negro slavery in the US is the prime cause of today's malice by whites against Blacks and the reason the US has inflicted the apparently counterproductive policy of drug prohibition on the rest of the World.

    I get angry when I see people noticing the counterproductive nature of drug prohibition but not its malicious motives.

    Where to find Michelle Alexander's ideas (none / 0) (#26)
    by TheEvilOne on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:28:45 PM EST
    If you cannot get access to the book, "The New Jim Crow" itself, a good alternative is to browse the archives of Alan Bean's "Friends of Justice" website.  The archives contain reviews of the book, many articles prompted by the book and summaries of her arguments by Michelle Alexander herself.