I managed to read the first three pages of Chasing the Scream, by Johann Hari, and it reminded me of how ridiculous this so called ‘War on Drugs’ actually is.
One of my favourite lines from a movie is in Traffic, where Michael Douglas speaks in front of a press conference in the White House and says: “There is a war on drugs and many of our family members are the enemy…. and I don’t know how you wage war on your own family”. The front line of the war on drugs is not on the Mexico/USA border, it’s not against the Cartel in South America, it’s in your own home, it’s the daughter with a crack addiction and the good friend who cannot stay away from the needle.
Politicians are obsessed with capturing drug lords and displaying them on their trophy cabinet so the press can report on the governments latest success on tackling the war on drugs. When Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian Cartel crumbled; but with his death, the Mexican, Venzualan, Bolivian cartel only grew stronger. The USA are only killing off competition for other cartel gangs and, therefore, fuelling the war on drugs.
The best way to deal with this war on drugs is to gradually legalize the products that are already roaming our streets. Yes, drugs can ruin peoples lives; but let’s not pretend we’re naive enough to believe that keeping these drugs illegal will stop people from using them. If drugs are legalized in more nations, then the hideous cartel who have so much influence over the government in their own country and others, will lose business and eventually become weaker. The USA should have learnt from prohibition in the 1920s that criminalizing a product that most people enjoy only fuels racketeering and creates gangsters.
So remember, when some drug tsar is boasting about their latest travel to Tijuana where they really dug deep into the trenches of the war on drugs, they haven’t the first idea of the war on drugs. It’s the person who watches somebody close to them succumb to addiction; it’s the person who made a mistake all those years ago and is struggling to amend it who really have the first idea of this disasterous war on drugs.
The war on drugs is just an ugly paradox!