Kofi Annan, George Shultz say drug war a failure
A new report calls the 'war on drugs' a failure. The claim isn't new, but hearing it from an ex-UN head and a former US secretary of State adds new weight to the criticism.
(Page 2 of 2)
The commission recommends that countries help, rather than incarcerate, drug users who do not hurt others and focus on punishing violent organized crime instead. "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," their report says. (The full report is here.)Skip to next paragraph
The report builds on work by a Latin American commission in 2009 headed by the former presidents from Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, which also concluded that the "war on drugs" had failed, as has prohibition.
The US dismissed the report. “The bottom line is that balanced drug control efforts are making a big difference,” Rafael Lemaitre, communications director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement.
Many in Latin America have long faulted the US government for not paying enough attention to drug consumption, instead focusing on the security side of the issue. Now such countries are starting to deal with their own scourge of drug use. “The dichotomy is false…There is growth in the use of both cocaine and heroin in the so-called developing world,” says Bruce Bagley, a drug-trafficking expert at the University of Miami.
In that way, leaders from traditional consuming and producing countries are getting on the same page in certain respects, underlined by the commission report signed by leaders from across the globe. Mr. Bagley supports the report as another message in changing the paradigm, but he says it has a “middle class” focus that fails to provide alternatives for coca producers in Bolivia or poppy growers in Afghanistan who also play critical role in the chain.