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 It’s time to end the failed war on drugs 
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Post It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
Sir Richard Branson wrote:
It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
Treating addicts as criminals has done absolutely nothing to address this crisis, writes Richard Branson.

By Richard Branson
6:26AM GMT 23 Jan 2012

Just as prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States in the 1920s, the war on drugs has failed globally. Over the past 50 years, more than $1 trillion has been spent fighting this battle, and all we have to show for it is increased drug use, overflowing jails, billions of pounds and dollars of taxpayers’ money wasted, and thriving crime syndicates. It is time for a new approach.

Too many of our leaders worldwide are ignoring policy reforms that could rapidly reduce violence and organised crime, cut down on theft, improve public health and reduce the use of illicit drugs. They are failing to act because the reforms that are needed centre on decriminalising drug use and treating it as a health problem. They are scared to take a stand that might seem “soft”.

But exploring ways to decriminalise drugs is anything but soft. It would free up crime-fighting resources to go after violent organised crime, and get more people the help they need to get off drugs. It’s time to get tough on misguided policies and end the war on drugs.

I was fortunate to be part of the Global Commission for Drug Policy, along with the former US Secretary of State George Shultz, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, President Cardoso of Brazil and the likes of the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbor, and the former chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Paul Volcker. We studied international drug policy over the past 50 years, and found that it has totally failed to stop the growth and diversification of the drug trade. Between 1998 and 2008, opiate use increased by more than 34 per cent, even as prison populations swelled and profits for drug traffickers soared.

As these grim trends show, the two strategies at the core of drug control policy have been ineffective. First, prohibition and enforcement efforts have failed to dent the production and distribution of drugs in any part of the world. Second, the threat of arrest and punishment has had no significant deterrent effect on drug use.

Unless this issue is tackled now, countless individuals and families will continue to suffer, no matter how much money is spent. We need a debate on how policy can cut consumption and reduce harm, rather than inflammatory scaremongering. It is not about supporting drug use; it is about solving a crisis.

Drugs are dangerous and ruin lives. They need to be regulated. But we should work to reduce the crime, health and social problems associated with drug markets in whatever way is most effective. Broad criminalisation should end; new policy options should be explored and evaluated; drug users in need should get treatment; young people should be dissuaded from drug use via education; and violent criminals should be the target of law enforcement. We should stop ineffective initiatives like arresting and punishing citizens who have addiction problems.

The next step is simple: countries should be encouraged to experiment with new policies. We have models to follow. In Switzerland, the authorities employed a host of harm-reduction therapies, and successfully disrupted the criminal drug market. In Portugal, decriminalisation for users of all drugs 10 years ago led to a significant reduction in heroin use and decreased levels of property crime, HIV infection and violence. Replacing incarceration with therapy also helped create safer communities and saved the country money – since prison is far more expensive than treatment. Following examples such as these and embracing a regulated drugs market that is tightly controlled and complemented by treatment – not incarceration – for those with drug problems will cost taxpayers a lot less.

Even with these examples, we do not yet know what will work best. New policies should be evaluated according to the scientific evidence. But we can say now that these policies should focus on the rights of citizens and on protecting public health. Drug policy should be a comprehensive issue for families, schools, civil society and health care providers, not just law enforcement.

To evaluate such policies, we should stop measuring their success according to such indicators as numbers of arrests, prosecutions and drug seizures, which turn out to have little impact on levels of drug use or crime. We should instead measure the outcomes in the same way that a business would measure the results of a new ad campaign. That means studying things like the number of victims of drug-related violence and intimidation, levels of corruption connected to the drug market, the amount of crime connected to drug use, and the prevalence of dependence, drug-related mortality and HIV infection.

Many political leaders and public figures acknowledge privately that repressive strategies have only made the drug problem worse. It took 14 years for America’s leaders to repeal Prohibition. After 50 years of the failed drug war, it is time for today’s leaders to find the courage to speak out.

For all the successes I’ve had in business, I’ve also learnt to accept when things go wrong, work out why, and try to find a better way. The war on drugs is a failed enterprise. We need to have the courage to learn the lessons and move on.

Sir Richard Branson will be appearing tomorrow in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into drug policy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... drugs.html

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January 23rd, 2012, 12:21 pm
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
wow..I thought that we stop the declaration of war a long time ago...


January 23rd, 2012, 12:27 pm
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
I pretty much agree with that whole article.

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January 23rd, 2012, 2:52 pm
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
Not sure that I totally agree with the article. I feel pretty confident that you would see a huge spike in first time users, especially if it weren't illegal. the issue is the addicitiveness, most drugs are highly addictive, much more addictive than alcohol alone. So when people plan to use drugs recreational, before they know they are hooked. One of my best friends in my 20's, got hooked on crack and he's never been the same or gotten his life back on track since. Just when he catches a break and starts to get straight, he's ends right back up in relapse. It's been painful to watch over the last 20 years. So I partially agree with getting addicts help, but I don't agree with decriminalizing it.

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January 25th, 2012, 8:15 pm
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
While I agree that you might see a wave of people trying marijuana for the first time, I highly doubt you would see an increase in the use of hard drugs.

Dropping out of HS, for example, is probably much worse for you than trying crack. Yet, millions drop out every year. Making something stupid legal isn't going to change its incidence.


January 25th, 2012, 9:15 pm
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
TNLionsFanatic wrote:
Not sure that I totally agree with the article. I feel pretty confident that you would see a huge spike in first time users, especially if it weren't illegal. the issue is the addicitiveness, most drugs are highly addictive, much more addictive than alcohol alone. So when people plan to use drugs recreational, before they know they are hooked. One of my best friends in my 20's, got hooked on crack and he's never been the same or gotten his life back on track since. Just when he catches a break and starts to get straight, he's ends right back up in relapse. It's been painful to watch over the last 20 years. So I partially agree with getting addicts help, but I don't agree with decriminalizing it.

I understand what you're saying, but I think one simple thing could be done to help alleviate these issues.....

EDUCATION

Its really rather simple. Provide access to accurate information and educate people as to what the various drugs are and what they can or can't do. All the positives and negatives associated with them. IMO that would go a long way. Now, if you want to say that there's already education out there, I would say sure there is, but just how ACCURATE is it? Not very from what I've seen. Most of the materials available today come at it from the wrong (legal/illegal) angle. In general, we need to quit trying to scare people and just be honest with them.

Now, as to your friend that has been having problems for the past 20 years w/crack.. IF we lived in a society where drug use/abuse was looked at as medical issues instead of legislative then your friend would have access to all the medical assistance they need in order to help overcome the dependency.

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January 26th, 2012, 10:22 am
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Post Re: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs
TheRealWags wrote:
TNLionsFanatic wrote:
Not sure that I totally agree with the article. I feel pretty confident that you would see a huge spike in first time users, especially if it weren't illegal. the issue is the addicitiveness, most drugs are highly addictive, much more addictive than alcohol alone. So when people plan to use drugs recreational, before they know they are hooked. One of my best friends in my 20's, got hooked on crack and he's never been the same or gotten his life back on track since. Just when he catches a break and starts to get straight, he's ends right back up in relapse. It's been painful to watch over the last 20 years. So I partially agree with getting addicts help, but I don't agree with decriminalizing it.

I understand what you're saying, but I think one simple thing could be done to help alleviate these issues.....

EDUCATION

Its really rather simple. Provide access to accurate information and educate people as to what the various drugs are and what they can or can't do. All the positives and negatives associated with them. IMO that would go a long way. Now, if you want to say that there's already education out there, I would say sure there is, but just how ACCURATE is it? Not very from what I've seen. Most of the materials available today come at it from the wrong (legal/illegal) angle. In general, we need to quit trying to scare people and just be honest with them.

Now, as to your friend that has been having problems for the past 20 years w/crack.. IF we lived in a society where drug use/abuse was looked at as medical issues instead of legislative then your friend would have access to all the medical assistance they need in order to help overcome the dependency.


whataya talkin about Wags. we've had education for decades! For example.....Pot makes black men go crazy and rape white women! everyone knows that! :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol:


January 26th, 2012, 12:07 pm
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