The so called war on drugs contains so much irony, we’ll need a new solar system to keep it in check.

politicsofheroin“As long as demand and prices remain at current levels in wealthy drug-consuming nations, traders will enter almost any potential production area with wads of currency to elicit supply that can meet this demand.  Over the past thirty years, the U.S. and UN prohibition has simply served to push production and processing, and smuggling of illicit drugs back and forth across the globe’s three critical trafficking areas – between Turkey and Laos within the Asian opium zone, from Bolivia to Columbia in the Andes coca belt, and from south Florida to northern Mexico along the U.S. border.  At each turn and twist in this futile war on drugs, production has ratcheted upward.

   Since opium can be grown in any temperate or highland area, crop suppression shifts cultivation elsewhere within the vastness of the Eurasian landmass or to the other continents, such as South America.  And since the human brain’s chemistry makes all of humanity potential addicts, repression merely forces traffickers to seek new markets in another neighbourhood, nation, or continent.  With such flexible market constraints, the blunt baton of repression has become the wand of stimulus, pushing consumption and production into ever-widening spheres and thereby compounding the drug problem. 


   In the last half of the 20th century, drug prohibition thus fostered a global illicit economy that funds criminal syndicates, highland warlords, ethnic liberation movements, terrorist networks and covert operations.  Failing to understand the character of these commodities, the United Nations and the United States have attempted suppression with a range of ineffective, ultimately counterproductive, policies that include arresting consumers, pursuing dealers, and harassing growers.

    Looking back on this sordid past gives little cause for optimism or celebration.  To ordinary Americans who witness the dismal spectacle of the drug traffic at street level, it may seem inconceivable that the U.S. Government could somehow be implicated, directly or indirectly, in the international narcotics trade.  During the cold war, American diplomats and CIA agents were involved at three levels: (1) a coincidental complicity through their covert alliances with major drug traffickers; (2) support for known traffickers by condoning their involvement and concealing their criminality from investigation; and on occasion, (3) active involvement in the actual transport of opium.  More broadly, Washington has remained wedded to its prohibition policy and refuses to recognize that its attempts at eradication, from Turkey in the 1970’s to Columbia today, have actualy stimulated production and increased the global supply or illicit drugs. 

     It is ironic, to say the least, that America’s drug problem is of its own making.” 

-from The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.  Alfred W. McCoy.  p.22-23


This should be basis for an argument for legalization of all illicit drugs.  We should make them available and tax the crap out of them putting the revenue into treatment programs and rehabilitation, rather than incarceration trajectories.  I think it would work like gangbusters.