By  for The Guardian. The year 2008 was momentous. Lehman Brothers collapsed, Radovan Karadžić was arrested, Russian troops massed on the Georgian border, and Barack Obama beat John McCain to the White House.

But 2008 was also significant for something that didn’t happen. It was the year that the world didn’t eliminate the illicit drugs problem. This quixotic goal had been set a decade earlier at a United Nations general assembly special sessionwhen, under the vainglorious slogan “We can do it”, the supranational body pledged that, by 2008, the world would be “drug free”.

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