PHARMA/POLICY: Scottish Drug Czar Says Drug War Is Lost, Causes Big To-Do

Everyone with half a brain knows that the drug “war” is lost and was always unwinnable and that the drug “problem” is only controllable by sensible legalization, regulation and education—as has been done with other addictive drugs like alcohol and tobacco. But it’s pretty rare that someone at the center of the drug “fighting” business—an industry with its mouth firmly attached to the teet of public funding—actually comes out and admits the truth. So when a drug Czar says so, perhaps some of his counterparts should listen.

Pity that it’s the Scottish rather than American drug czar who’s saying just that. But he at least comes from a place that has a real problem (remember Trainspotting) and an even more Calvinist past than we have over here. So there is perhaps some hope in the madness, although not much I’ll admit.

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  1. The Economist (that bastion of left-wing thought, not) was on this tack long ago, as you can see from this article from July of 2001. Unfortunately, the drug czardom here can’t say it, for reasons of both the carrot and the stick variety – first, as you point out, their noses are firmly planted in the public trough; second, it’s political suicide in this country to come out in favor of the any potentially successful approach to the societal challenges presented by recreational drug use. The Economist’s argument is, unsurprisingly, an economic one, based on rationality and common sense. These are two virtues that are missing in the current dominant stream of political thought – along with respect for the rule of law, support for human rights, tolerance of diversity, and others for which America used to be famous.