Pubdate: Sun, 15 Aug 2010
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Sebastian Saville


It's Time to End the Propaganda. Prohibition Isn't Working

A Total Review of Legislation Is Necessary If We Are to Avoid a Catastrophe

The catastrophic global effects of drug prohibition are multiplying at
an alarming rate ("Americas signal major rethink as bloody war on
drugs falters", In Focus). Without a complete rethink and the adoption
of sensible options, we face a certain escalation in violence,
disease, mass incarceration and the undermining of democracy.
Economists, scientists, doctors, lawyers and an increasing number of
politicians have joined those demanding a transparent review of drug

Expedient politicians continue to exploit public fear by persuading
people that the only choice is more of the same failed policies. This
has resulted in the tougher approach becoming so entrenched that even
to think of other ways seems to go against the grain. Another favoured
tactic of those who promote the old failed policies is to say that any
other way is tantamount to promoting drug use.

However, there are increasing signs that the public is no longer
prepared to accept this propaganda and of a realisation that it is
prohibition that is causing most of the damage.

It is going to take tremendously strong political leadership to move
from dogma to science in the way we manage drug use. But one thing we
know beyond all doubt is when enough people demand change, politicians
swiftly get in line.

Sebastian Saville

Executive director, Release

London EC1
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