Report says global war on drugs has failed

KamloopsNews.caopinion/letters
July 26, 2011 .   Geoff Eggleton

Your editorial of July 21, “Drugs: Illegal For a Reason,” raises a number of interesting arguments to maintain the way in which we manage this problem.

You may, however, be interested to consider the report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy headed “War On Drugs.” This report, completed in June, 2011, can be found at www.globalcommissionondrugs.org. The commissioners included 19 leading international political and social representatives.

The report’s executive summary states, in part, that:

* The global war on drugs has failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.

* Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption.

The Report also contains a number of significant recommendations as well as analysis of decriminalization initiatives by a number of countries. The significant recommendations include:

* End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.

* Encourage experimentation by governments with model of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.

* Offer health and treatment services to those in need.

* Abolish abusive practices carried out in the name of treatment, such as forced detention.

* Invest in activities that can both prevent young people from taking drugs in the first place.

* Law enforcement efforts should focus not on reducing drug markets per se but rather on reducing their harm to individuals, communities and national security.

Geoff Eggleton, Kamloops

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