The Economist: Stop the war on drugs

March 6, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

How is the war on drugs going, really?  According to The Economist, things are not going well.

[T]he war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.

How can one quantify this illiberal, murderous and pointless struggle?

The United States alone spends some $40 billion each year on trying to eliminate the supply of drugs. It arrests 1.5m of its citizens each year for drug offences, locking up half a million of them; tougher drug laws are the main reason why one in five black American men spend some time behind bars. In the developing world blood is being shed at an astonishing rate. In Mexico more than 800 policemen and soldiers have been killed since December 2006 (and the annual overall death toll is running at over 6,000) . . .  [F]ar from reducing crime, prohibition has fostered gangsterism on a scale that the world has never seen before.

In this article, The Economist points out that it has maintained this same position for 20 years, and it is more evident than ever that the “drug war” is a disaster.

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Category: law and order

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    There was a time when a heroin shortage caused a drop in it's popularity. What caused the heroin shortage? Apparently, McDonalds restaurant franchises, which at the time preferred locally grown potatoes for their fries were paying the farmer more money to grow potatoes than the drug cartels were paying them to grow opium poppies.

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