Pubdate: Fri, 07 Dec 2007
Source: Irish Independent (Ireland)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Contact:  http://www.independent.ie/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/213
Author: Will Lynch

DRUGS POLICY AN ABJECT FAILURE

The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure.

Just as the prohibition era in the US led to the rise  of Al Capone 
and the Mafia, the failed prohibitionist  policies on some drugs 
today has led to an explosion in  vicious criminality.

This is one of the great tragedies of our time.

The State has no right to stop individuals from enjoying themselves 
responsibly. According to UN estimates, the illicit drug business 
generates $400bn (273bn) annually in trade, which is about 8pc of 
all international trade, putting it on a par with tourism and the oil industry.

Globally, the war on drugs costs at least 100bn (68bn) yet, 
according to Richard Davenport Hines in his excellent book 'The 
Pursuit of Oblivion -- A Global History of Narcotics': "10pc to 15pc 
of illicit heroin and 30pc of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug 
traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300pc. At least 75pc 
of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the 
traffickers' profits were hurt."

This ludicrous prohibitionist policy has been an abject failure and 
makes no economic or practical sense.

The increasing cost borne by our economies, our taxpayers and those 
killed by the drug gangs means that legalisation is an historical 
inevitability. My only hope for humanity is that the madness ends 
sooner before more blood is needlessly spilled.

WILL LYNCH

CASTLEKNOCK, DUBLIN 15
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