The international war on drugs is a massive failure and nations should begin experimenting with progressive drug policies, including legalization, an international commission says.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a 19-member panel chaired by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, said the failure of the war on drugs has brought “devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”
The study recommends experimentation with models of legal drug regulation, particularly cannabis. The report notes that decriminalization does not lead to significant increases in drug use.
It also criticizes governments who avoid life-saving public-health measures, like syringe access, in order to maintain a “tough on drugs” image.
There are some shocking figures in the study. One chart in the report shows that between 1998 and 2008 opiate consumption in the United States climbed by 34.5 percent. Cocaine use rose 27 percent during that time. The report even claims that medically prescribing heroin was found to reduce petty crime in the Netherlands, while having “positive effects on the health of people struggling with addiction.”
The commission, which includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, calls for drug policies that are driven by fiscal responsibility and backed by science rather than ideology.
USA Today has a nice roundup of the report’s significant recommendations right here.