Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.52.53 PM

By Stewart M. Patrick for Council of Foreign Relations. Having been frozen for four decades, a long-deferred debate over the “war on drugs” is finally heating up. Ever since the Nixon administration, the dominant paradigm informing U.S. and global policy towards narcotics has been prohibition. That failed approach is now being challenged by a slew of influential reports, path-breaking national policies in the Western Hemisphere, and state-level experiments within the United States. Just how turbulent the debate has become was clear at yesterday’s roundtable on the future of international drug policy, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The United States will need to chart a new policy course if it hopes to retain credibility and influence as global attitudes toward drugs continue to evolve.

The U.S. law enforcement approach has focused on attacking sources of supply, interdicting shipments of drugs and incarcerating dealers. It has also targeted demand, imprisoning and fining addicts and casual users. And yet these repressive efforts have made little dent in the global drug trade. By artificially inflating profits, prohibition has only incentivized criminal activity. Traffickers have successfully shifted production sites and transit routes in response to crackdowns. Criminality, corruption and violence have destabilized vulnerable governments. Prison populations have swollen with addicts and casual users.  And yet drugs are cheaper and more available than ever before.

Read more… 

Photo: Jorge Duenes/Reuters

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Category

Uncategorized