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May 18, 2010 3:44 pm


For Once AP Gets it Right



Throughout its history drug prohibition has been an immoral, violent, and costly failure. It simply does not accomplish its stated purpose of preventing people from using illicit drugs while at same time it vastly increases the harm caused by the use of those drugs. Now the Associated Press is finally acknowledging these already well known facts in a scathing indictment of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs.

Naturally this AP report has caused a great deal of reaction most of which is positive. However, former drug czar John P. Walters laments the article arguing that “to say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous.. It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcement, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."

Moreover, this is precisely the point made in the preface to Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror four years ago. One of the main story lines of the book “deals the many reasons why drug prohibition and the war on drugs fail because of their own internal contradictions and the immense harm they cause.” The book goes on to contend that “the war on drugs is based on many cherished myths. Such cherished myths die hard. Destructive cherished myths die even harder. Yet, in this book I argue that thinking people everywhere should work, as an urgent matter, to seek to accomplish that very objective – the killing of a cherished destructive myth. That myth is so destructive because it is so seductive – and also because it has been allowed to grow to gigantic proportions by the enthusiastic worldwide support of millions of well meaning and sincere people.” (page 14)

We must hope for all of our sakes that this AP analysis is a significant step forward in the dismantling of the ignoble canard that drug prohibition is both necessary and good.

Cross posted on The Trebach Report

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