15 July 2010
In an insightful article in today's Australian, Ivan Briscoe elucidates the disastrous results of a decade of war on drugs. Murders associated with narco trafficking in Mexico since 2006 have reached 22,000. This extraordinary figure is far worse than the toll to the war in Afghanistan.
Inequitable distribution of wealth in countries like Mexico, Peru and Bolivia means there will always be a ready market for corruption and cocaine transportation. The insatiable desire of Americans for this drug leads tons of cocaine spilling over the border and create mayhem in towns like Juarez.
Knocking off the kingpins does little to stem the tide has thousands of young men battling poverty see cocaine as a passport to the consumer society they can only dream about or watch on television.
And so hard currency from America flows across the border in exchange lines of cocaine that would reach around the world.
The profits from the drug trade splashed around in poor countries south of the Rio Grande create the illusion that the heads of the drug cartels are benefactors for the poverty stricken population. Recent riots in Kingston Jamaicaclearly illuminated disconnection when the poor tried to protect an infamous drug dealer from the Army because of his benevolence in their community.
So at last in 2010 there is a glimmer on the horizon to indicate that this endless wasteful and unproductive war will solve nothing but create more suffering than has ever been imagined. In Europe governments have begun to relax drug laws and to treat addicts as though they have a medical problem rather than with punitive criminal justice sanctions.
Imagine a world in which illicit drugs were controlled, sold at a reasonable price and had maintained pharmaceutical purity. The many headed monster of the war on drugs has created could be slain with enlightened legislative alternatives.
Demand for cocaine and heroin will not diminish in the foreseeable future. We had better find a sustainable alternative to the patently ineffective campaign we wage now.