Those who argue we should decriminalise the trade in narcotics are blind to the catastrophic consequences.
Legalise drugs and a worldwide epidemic of addiction will follow
Antonio Maria Costa. Those who argue we should decriminalise the trade in narcotics are blind to the catastrophic consequences
The debate between those who dream of a world free of drugs and those who hope for a world of free drugs has been raging for years. I believe the dispute between prohibition and legalisation would be more fruitful if it focused on the appropriate degree of regulation for addictive substances (drugs, but also alcohol and tobacco) and how to attain such regulation.
Current international agreements are hard to change. All nations, with no exception, agree that illicit drugs are a threat to health and that their production, trade and use should be regulated. In fact, adherence to the UN’s drug conventions is virtually universal and no statutory changes are possible unless the majority of states agree – quite unlikely, in the foreseeable future. Yet important improvements to today’s system are needed and achievable, especially in areas where current controls have produced serious collateral damage.
Why such resistance to abolishing the controls? In part, because the conventions’ success in restraining both supply and demand of drugs is undeniable.
Drug policy does not have to choose between either protecting health, through drug control, or ensuring law and order, by liberalising drugs. Society must protect both health and safety.
In a world of free drugs, the privileged rich can afford expensive treatment while poor people are condemned to a life of dependence. Now extrapolate the problem on to a global scale and imagine the impact of unregulated drug use in developing countries, with no prevention or treatment available. Legalised drugs would unleash an epidemic of addiction in the developing world. The Guardian
Drug control is not the task of governments alone: it is a society-wide responsibility. Are we ready to engage?
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