Econintersect: The London School of Economics has published a comprehensive study on the state of the “War on Drugs”. The conculsion is that the war has been an abject and very expensive failure. The lead statement in the foreword to the report is:
It is time to end the ‘war on drugs’ and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis.
The study was conducted by a thirteen member expert group and is signed by 21 prestigious persona including five Nobel laureates in Economics, several more senior university professors and a number of current and former high level government officials from seven countries.
Note: See also the GEI Analysis article published today: The Economic and Social Case for Legal Recreational Drugs (by Elliott Morss).
The summary of the 82 page report includes:
The pursuit of a militarised and enforcement-led global ‘war on drugs’ strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage. These include mass incarceration in the US, highly repressive policies in Asia, vast corruption and political destabilisation in Afghanistan and West Africa, immense violence in Latin America, an HIV epidemic in Russia, an acute global shortage of pain medication and the propagation of systematic human rights abuses around the world.
The strategy has failed based on its own terms. Evidence shows that drug prices have been declining while purity has been increasing. This has been despite drastic increases in global enforcement spending. Continuing to spend vast resources on punitive enforcement-led policies, generally at the expense of proven public health policies, can no longer be justified.
The United Nations has for too long tried to enforce a repressive, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It must now take the lead in advocating a new cooperative international framework based on the fundamental acceptance that different policies will work for different countries and regions.
This new global drug strategy should be based on principles of public health, harm reduction, illicit market impact reduction, expanded access to essential medicines, minimisation of problematic consumption, rigorously monitored regulatory experimentation and an unwavering commitment to principles of human rights.
The entire report (pdf) can be read by clicking on the cover image below:
- Ending the Drug Wars (John Collins, Editor, London School of Economics, May 2014)
- The Economic and Social Case for Legal Recreational Drugs (Elliott Morss, GEI Analysis, 08 May 2014)