09 February 2008

Cops Say Legalise Drugs.

What with the BBC Horizon programme the other night bursting a few myths with a scientific(ish) countdown of the most dangerous drugs (both legal and illegal) and the repeated calls from police chiefs here for legalisation. I thought I might endulge to quote the US organisation - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at length.

"After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars. Despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier to get than they were 35 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

The stated goals of current U.S.drug policy -- reducing crime, drug addiction, and juvenile drug use -- have not been achieved, even after nearly four decades of a policy of "war on drugs". This policy, fueled by over a trillion of our tax dollars has had little or no effect on the levels of drug addiction among our fellow citizens, but has instead resulted in a tremendous increase in crime and in the numbers of Americans in our prisons and jails. With 4.6% of the world's population, America today has 22.5% of the worlds prisoners. But, after all that time, after all the destroyed lives and after all the wasted resources, prohibited drugs today are cheaper, stronger, and easier to get than they were thirty-five years ago at the beginning of the so-called "war on drugs"."
Says it all, really, don't you think?


  1. Neil, yet again we agree. Whatever your views on drugs per se (I have no opinion, favourable or unfavourable, I just don't really care), the evidence says that prohibition does not work. Ergo, it's time for plan B. Legalisation, regulation and taxation.

  2. Mark, I think people need to be properly educated to the dangers. As is said in the video, legalisation tackles the crime and disorder problem, then we can start using the tax savings to tackle the actual drug problem. Smoking tobacco has been reduced by half in the last few decades by using education (and nicotine is probably the most addictive drug). This is the way to tackle other drugs as well - through education.

  3. I agree with Neil, we do need proper education about drug use. But that won't be enough.

    I've long been an advocated of legalising all drugs. It won't solve all the problems that come with drug use, but a major source of crime could be snuffed out at a stroke.

    Unfortunately the press are such that no one can seriously raise it as a policy option without tabloid hysteria going into overdrive.

  4. Yup, add 'education' to the list, to be paid for out of the taxes on drugs.

  5. Neil - I agree 100%

    All you need to do now is have a word with Gordon and get him to warn the Americans.........