Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Russia defies growing consensus with declaration of 'Total War on Drugs'

    Under new laws being drawn up addicts would be forced into treatment or jailed, and dealers 'treated like serial killers'
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    "Sending more people to prison will not reduce drug addiction or improve public health," said Anya Sarang, president of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, an advocacy group for people with HIV which works with injecting drug users (IDUs). "Russian prisons are terrible places full of HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases. Drugs are often even more accessible there than anywhere else." She added: "What we need instead of this harsh drug control rhetoric is greater emphasis on rehabilitation, substitution treatment, case management for drug users and protection from HIV."

  • Netherlands: Pot shops to be off limits to foreign tourists

    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Monday, June 6, 2011

    The Netherlands plans to ban foreign visitors from pot shops in a move that opponents have labeled "tourism suicide."  The Dutch government is trying to stop drug tourism in the country, according to a recent announcement. Under the plan, the "coffee shops" that sell marijuana will become private clubs limited to adult Dutch citizens who have to show proof of ID and become a member to buy marijuana.

  • More Calls For A Drug War Cease-Fire

    An increasing number of world leaders are concluding that laws against drug consumption do more harm than good
    Mary Anastasia O'Grady
    Wall Street Journal (US)
    Monday, June 6, 2011

    branson-cardosoTomorrow marks the 79th anniversary of the beginning of the end of the U.S. prohibition on alcohol. On that day in 1932 John D. Rockefeller Jr., a vociferous advocate of temperance, called for the repeal of the 18th amendment in a letter published in the New York Times. Rockefeller had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for the constitutional prohibition on alcohol. But his letter did more than admit the error of his investment. Because of his moral authority on the matter, it effectively ended the conservative taboo against admitting that the whole experiment had failed.

  • The war on drugs war is lost. Now it's time for a rational response

    Politicians are too scared to propose legalisation and controlled use, but without radical changes many more lives will be destroyed or ruined
    Ian Birrell
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    The tone of debate in Britain serves only to highlight the immaturity of our public discourse, with too many politicians lost in the fog of this foolhardy war. So here is a suggestion for our three main party leaders, who are all young enough to know better: why not hoist the white flag and work out a unified way to end a struggle that does so much more harm than good? The alternative is to carry on fighting like generals in the First World War, ignoring the deaths, the devastation and the wastelands created around the world in a battle than can never be won.

  • The Saturday interview: Richard Branson

    One of Britain's best known entrepreneurs – and a man who knows a thing or two about counterculture – is joining calls for an end to the War on Drugs
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    "I've seen the war on drugs and I've not been impressed," says Richard Branson. "Thousands of people are being killed in Mexico because of the demand for drugs in America. Whole sections of society are becoming lawless, and most of it is over marijuana." He says it's "incredible" how little the debate has moved on since the 1960s. "It has just got worse and worse and worse."

  • Global reformers say it's time for change on drugs

    New Zealand Herald
    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Forty years after United States President Richard Nixon launched his War on Drugs, a conflict that far eclipses the War on Terror, the struggle to contain, let alone end, illicit drug abuse is far from over, spewing violence, corruption and addiction into new markets, brutal capitalism at its most malignant. But, finally, there is a glimmer of hope. The Global Commission on Drug Reform, formed in January, declared the War on Drugs a resounding failure, and suggested radical measures must be taken if the global narco culture was to ever be defeated. "Fundamental reforms in national and global control policies are urgently needed," said Brazil's ex-president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who heads the commission.

  • The drug war comes full circle

    Once again, former UN officials and world leaders have come forward to challenge the hopeless drug policies of current UN officials and world leaders
    Dan Gardner
    The Ottawa Citizen
    Friday, June 4, 2011

    The most striking name on the list is that of Kofi Annan. As secretary general of the United Nations in 1998, Kofi Annan presided over a special United Nations assembly on illicit drugs, which brought together leaders from all over the world. Shortly before that historic event, a letter of protest was delivered to the UN chief.

  • A report that dares to tell the truth to power

    What are the chances of this commision on drug policy influencing political leaders? Vanishingly slim
    The Independent (UK)
    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Global commissions made up of eminent former policymakers can normally be counted upon to tell international leaders what they want to hear. But the Global Commission on Drug Policy – which has called on the services of distinguished names such Paul Volcker, Kofi Annan, Mario Vargas Llosa, Javier Solana and half a dozen former national politicians – has done something very different. Instead of telling world leaders what they want to hear, the commission has, instead, told them the truth.

  • Supply and demand

    The argument over treatment is being won. Now for the battle over supply
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Narcotics liberalisation was once the cause of freethinkers and hippies. Now a more sober bunch is criticising the “war on drugs”. On June 2nd the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a group including ex-presidents of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Switzerland; the prime minister of Greece; a former secretary-general of the United Nations; and, from America, an ex-secretary of state and ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve, called for the decriminalisation of all drug taking, and for experiments in the legal regulation of the sale of drugs, starting with cannabis.

  • War on drugs not working, says global commission

    Governments should decriminalise drug use, according to high profile panel, including Kofi Annan and Richard Branson
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    glocom-logo-smallThe global war on drugs has failed and governments should explore legalising marijuana and other controlled substances, according to a commission that includes former heads of state and a former UN secretary general. A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy argues that the decades-old "global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." The 24-page paper was released on Thursday.

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