In news that’ll come as a shock to no one, a new report has concluded that the five decade long ‘War on Drugs’ has harmed the public health and should be scrapped in favour of decriminalisation.
Yes, according to the authors of study commissioned by the Johns Hopkins Ivy League university and The Lancet, the anti-drug policies and laws put in place by the Nixon administration have had ‘no measurable impact on supply or use’ and cannot be justified on scientific or public health grounds, The Independent reports.
Dr Chris Beyrer, from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, said:
The global ‘war on drugs’ has harmed public health, human rights and development.
The report also found that there was ‘compelling evidence’ that countries such as Portugal and the Czech Republic, which have decriminalised non-violent minor drug offences, had achieved positive results, including ‘public health benefits, cost savings, lower incarceration [rates] and no significant increase in problematic drug use’.
The authors are now urging the governments of countries like the U.S. and UK, which still have highly strict drugs policies, to consider ‘regulated markets’ for cannabis like those in Uruguay and the US states of Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.
The study collected evidence from around the world, and also found drug laws had been applied in a way that was ‘discriminatory against racial and ethnic minorities and women, and has undermined human rights’.
Shockingly it also found that prison sentences for minor drug offenders were the single ‘biggest contribution to higher rates of infection among drug users’ with diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
— Anthony Sumner (@TonyLSumner) March 29, 2016
Dr Beyrer has said prohibition was the basis for many national drug laws and that ‘policies based on ideas about drug use and dependence that are not scientifically grounded’.
He also advised that its time for us to rethink our approach to global drug policies, and put scientific evidence and public health at the heart of drug policy discussions.
Putting science at the heart of policy making is a good idea? Who’d have thought that…