Since 2006, the Mexican government has undertaken a US-backed crackdown on drug cartels. Estimates suggest that around 60,000 people have been murdered, and the number of deaths is still rising.
At the same time, in countries like Britain, we’re buying more and more of the drugs that flow through Mexico. Our prohibition approach has failed to stop drug use, and it puts money in the hands of narco-terrorists and international criminals.
Despite 50 years of criminalisation, illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world, after food and oil. Presidents of supply countries, such as Colombia, are desperately calling for a rethink.
We’re stuck in a pointless “war on drugs”. It’s not working and it costs us heavily, in human terms – with people addicted, incarcerated and burgled – and in financial terms. The UK spends more on drug policy than any other country in Europe, but has the highest usage of several class A drugs.
Every person who uses drugs in Britain is treated in exactly the same way: as a criminal and a prisoner. Far too little effort and support is given to treatment; to helping people come off addictive drugs.
Ultimately, we are neither reducing harm, nor reducing demand. Thoughtless, ineffective and costly, drugs policy in this country and across the globe has been a complete shambles.
By Julian Huppert
Read the full story at guardian.co.uk