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article imageNew Canadian study shows the global war on illegal drugs failing

By Dawn Denmar     Oct 1, 2013 in World
The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy reported this week the war on illegal drugs has failed, with worldwide illegal drugs supplies cheaper and purer now than 20 years ago. This raises questions on government abilities to cut drug supplies.
The report from the Vancouver-based centre was published in the British Medical Journal on Sept. 30 and investigated two decades of data from seven government-funded and international drug surveillance schemes. The principal findings of the report were that supplies of illegal drugs have increased with corresponding increases to the purity of drugs supplied.
The co-author of the study, Dr. Evan Wood the Scientific Chair of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy and Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine at the University of British Columbia, said: "These findings add to the growing body of evidence that the war on drugs has failed.
“We should look to implement policies that place community health and safety at the forefront of our efforts, and consider drug use a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. With the recognition that efforts to reduce drug supply are unlikely to be successful, there is a clear need to scale up addiction treatment and other strategies that can effectively reduce drug-related harm.”
The study examined drug supplies to various areas of the world including Europe, Australia and the United States. Taking Europe as an example, it was found that average prices of opiates and cocaine, after adjustments for inflation and purity, decreased by 74 percent and 51 percent respectively between the years of 1990 and 2010.
There had also been substantial worldwide increases in the amounts of cannabis, cocaine and heroin seized by law enforcers since 1990.
Ethan Nadelmann, Director of the Drug Policy Alliance in the United States commented: “The punitive prohibitionist approach to global drug control has proven remarkably costly, ineffective and counter-productive. It has generated extraordinary levels of violence, crime and corruption while failing entirely to reduce the availability and use of psychoactive drugs. Fortunately a growing number of governments now recognize that drug policies grounded in science, health and human rights can produce better results, at lower cost, than persisting with futile prohibitionist efforts.”
Worldwide calls to begin treating drug addiction as more of a public health issue and decriminalise the use of drugs are likely to be renewed in the face of the evidence provided in the report.
More about Illegal drugs, worldwide drugs statistics, War on drugs, Canadian drugs research
 
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