BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

How should the war on drugs be fought?

11:32 UK time, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said more would be done to cut US demand for drugs and to strengthen communities affected by the trade, signalling what some analysts consider a shift in the fight against drug violence.

Mrs Clinton was announcing a new $1.6bn US aid programme aimed at fighting the drug cartels. She said the new agenda "expands our focus beyond disrupting drug trafficking organisations" to include "strengthening institutions, creating a 21st century border, and building strong, resilient communities".

Drug-related violence has left 18,000 people dead in Mexico since 2006. Last week Ricardo Salinas, Mexico's second-richest person according to Forbes magazine, urged Mexico to legalise drugs to reduce violence tied to the narcotics trade.

Is the drugs conflict a broader social problem that goes beyond the drug cartels? How would you tackle it? Would legalising drugs help? How does the drug trade affect your community?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    When will politicians learn that banning drugs does not stop people taking them.

  • Comment number 2.

    If drugs were legalized and taxed the war & the gangs would go away.

  • Comment number 3.

    More focus on education and treatment; looking to reduce demand, rather than relying on the blunt instrument of legislation and enforcement in a losing battle against supply, which may indeed lead to increases in related crime.

  • Comment number 4.

    They had the opportunity in Afghanistan to eradicate a large amount of poppy crops & prevent it being made in to heroin, but didn't. I have been asking myself why & and the only reason I can come up with is that someone in the administration is making money out of it.

    A fair balanced view of drug taking would be a good start, in the US they recognise the health benefits of cannabis & have acted responsibly in legalising it's use for medical purposes. Very often there are deep seated psychological reasons behind a person's drug addiction which need to be addressed before they can start to control their addiction. Legalising drugs such as heroin & cocaine would just encourage more people to take it. There are very good reasons why heroin & cocaine are class A, they are fatal if taken to excess & abused. I have never heard to someone taking an overdose of cannabis, yet it is treated in the same way over here.

  • Comment number 5.

    Great, yesterday my government blew over 900 billion for a questionable piece of legislation and now 1.6 billion of tax money will go to rebuilding Mexican communities and other institutions? I agree with the wealthy Mexican, just legalize it. Sure Obama can proclaim "Yes we can" when it's not his money, I just want to see the transparency and accountability with this gift given to the Mexican government.

  • Comment number 6.

    These established pipelines can also deliver terror to mainstreet USA/UK . The loss of life is unacceptable . The biggest task is cutting demand . Wasted and damaged lives escaping reality for a few moments . Broken families and absent fathers contribute to this repeated cycle generation after generation . Pot ( hemp ) should be legalized and taxed . The denial our society has for drug use has introduced a more potent and deadly variety of drugs . Alcohol was wrongly removed and repealed from public consumption . Pot is is overdue this legal path . The fiber from this plant is a great material for marine lines and clothing as well . I have no stake in this - I never have or will do drugs . Meditation works for me .

  • Comment number 7.

    18,000 deaths in Mexico since 2006 is the direct result of the U.S. government's utterly futile 'war on drugs' policy. People are going to take drugs no matter what laws are introduced. The drug cartels are now so immensely wealthy that they can buy both influence and superior weaponary than the police. The way to hurt the drug cartels is to cut off their revenue stream by legalising, taxing and controlling distribution. That would also free-up the police to deal with other issues.

  • Comment number 8.

    Legalisation, regulation and taxation are the best ways of dealing with recreational drugs.

    There is no way to stop people taking drugs as can be seen by looking at nations such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore who use some of the most brutal and inhumane punishments for people convicted of the possession, use or trafficking of drugs yet still have lots of people within their country taking them.

    It would also be useful if politicians and the press could stop repeating the 1930s style reefer madness propaganda and admit that using drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and magic mushrooms is actually no more dangerous, and in many cases less dangerous, than using drugs like alcohol or tobacco.

    Holland and Portugal both have much more liberal laws regarding drugs, they also happen to have some of the lowest usage and addiction rates in the developed world while also suffering from far less social problems such as disorder, burglary and teenage crime.

    Prohibition has been the biggest failure of any policy ever enacted anywhere in the world and has resulted in criminal gangs being given control of a multi-billion pound industry, the profits from which are then used to fund gangs, buying weapons and people trafficking.

    The United States government is living in dream land, their own CIA has been proven to be involved in the trafficking of Cocaine from South American nations and one of their aeroplanes crashed in Mexico loaded with about 4 Kilos of raw Cocaine not that long ago: http://www.madcowprod.com/10092007.html

    Then we've also got the following quotes from US government officials:

    "I really take great exception to the fact that 1,000 kilos came in, funded by US taxpayer money."

    DEA official Anabelle Grimm, during a 1993 interview on a CBS-TV "60 Minutes" segment entitled "The CIA's Cocaine." The 1991 CIA drug-smuggling event Ms. Grimm described was later found to be much larger. A Florida grand jury and the Wall Street Journal reported it to involve as much as 22 tons.


    "I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for less evidence for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people. . . . I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it."

    Former DEA Agent Michael Levine
    CNBC-TV, October 8, 1996

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    2. At 12:07pm on 24 Mar 2010, Jihm wrote:
    If drugs were legalized and taxed the war & the gangs would go away.

    Perhaps we should legalize and tax other crimes as well (murder, theft, blackmail, etc..). Surely legalization and taxation are an effective deterrent to all crimes.

  • Comment number 11.

    The war should be fought by tackling the heads of the drug business. Users should not be punished. Let us take example from Holland, they have a very low percentage of drug users yet they have the most relaxed laws on using. It is the "pusher" who needs to be stopped not the buyer.

  • Comment number 12.

    How does Hilary Clinton propose to reduce demand for drugs? Is she going to provide some new legal alternative for getting high?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Legalization, Regulation, Taxation, education and private health insurance in case you need Rehab

    People are going to imbibe whether legal or illegal, but the main thing about keeping certain substances illegal drives it further underground, which in itself contributes to criminal activity and no quality control.

  • Comment number 16.

    I believe all drugs should be legalised and made available through Pharmacies, at normal prices.
    There are so many potential benefits.
    1 if drugs are legal there will be no need for kids to be sucked in to the habit by drug dealers.
    2 Drug dealers themselves will need to find other illegal activities
    3 Crime, much of which is drug related will inevitably reduce as the number of victims reduces
    4 the need for treatment will be easier to spot and control
    5 the appeal to kids of trying to do stuff which is illegal minimises.
    6 If kids do experiment, there is only peer pressure to continue, there would be no financial inducements
    7 the debates over the latest chemicals "is it legal or not" would stop
    8 It will put cigarettes and alcohol on the same playing field all of which are bad for you at varying levels of severity.

  • Comment number 17.

    Money moves via many routes and banks are an easy way to move millions with a simple piece of paper or a computer note. What is being done to control money movements in and out of the USA and Mexico ? I can not put into my bank but a small amount of cash without questions being raised. And guns ? I have and like guns. When alcohol was illegal in the USA we had a real crime wave with guns and money moving out of control. Now alcohol is legal and I do not know of associated crime with it. I enjoy a drink. Make more drugs legal, tax the stuff and let the government make money. The USA can help Mexico by the control of money and guns in this country. Now please don't hold your breath Mexico while you wait for us to do anything ! We are a very divided nation both politically and economically. I hear talk in the street of a revolution. The US; like Russia, could break apart ! The SOUTH may rise again !

  • Comment number 18.

    Nothing will change as long as there are vested interests in the black economy. There don't seem to be any winners as things stand. The 'war on drugs' is about as useful as any other war I can think of, just as devastating, just as expensive, just as pointless - even if it was sincere (which I don't believe for a minute).

    However, since the status quo seems to like having wars on something - anything - I'm going to sit back and try and invent another war ... how about a war on cynicism?

  • Comment number 19.

    "How should the war on drugs be fought?"

    Either: -

    1. Not at all - ie legalise and control it. However this is fraught with problems as control and quality assurance (and taxation) will push up the price thus create the market for 'boot-leg' drugs, like the booze-cruise and counterfieght cigarettes/booze scenario. So problem not really solved at all.

    2. With everything we have - flamethrowers and napalm on source crops/manufacturing. Death penalties for smuggling/dealing.

    Neither will happen so we will keep on fighting without winning.

  • Comment number 20.

    Phil Willis - former head of the UK Governments Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said:

    "It's time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification - how can we get the message across to young people if what we are saying is not based on evidence?"

    "In 1971 when the classification system was launched, that was right for the time."

    "What we've had is a huge societal change over that period and what we've seen is that putting a drug into Class A does not stop people using it at all."


    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5230006.stm


    That was in 2006, Mr Willis is no longer the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs but the man who followed him into that post was Professor Nutt who, as we all know, was forced out of that position after he openly questioned Postman Johnson's decisions surrounding drugs legislation.

  • Comment number 21.

    The cartels are not campaigners for progressive drug policies. They won’t stop if we just liberalize restrictions on recreational drugs. They would move into other illicit activities. The immediate problem is that they have become powerful enough to seriously threaten the legitimate government of Mexico. No country can tolerate that. No country can tolerate that in a neighboring country either. Debate rational drug policies if you like, but something needs to be done right now to stop these warlords from killing people and destroying Mexico.

  • Comment number 22.

    so Much for freedom. if someone decides to consume a drug and knowingly know the side effects then its thier choice. make it legal and let the people choose. the government always asumes and treats people like 5 ear olds. the only exception they should make is if you comsume it then you pay high insurance because it degrades your health. when one commits a crime under its influence enforce harsh punishments, that in turn will reduce the in appropriate use of the drug, but then again the human condition is beyond repair, and devine power will be needed to resolve these issues

  • Comment number 23.

    Bill Hicks (comidian) famous quotation:
    I loved when Bush came out and said, "We are losing the war against drugs." You know what that implies?
    It implies that there's a war being fought, and the people on drugs are winning it.
    American & Mexican Officials came together to discuss the Merida Initiative, a $1.6B aimed at fighting the drug cartels.
    The visit came more than a year after President Barack Obama said that he would be a "full partner" with Mexico in fighting drugs.
    So, why "partner" now?
    Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were part of the US delegation.
    Why these political heavy-weights?
    Could it have anything to do with Mexico's second-richest person Mr. Ricardo Salinas Pliego suggesting drug legalization is the only way to go in order to reduce violence?
    Yes it can! And Mr. Salinas is not alone!
    Argentina & Mexico have both taken steps towards decriminalising drugs.
    I reckon both Mexico and Argentina have figured out that the American war on drugs in South America is doing no better than the American war on drugs everywhere else, including Afghanistan.
    Mexico has stopped prosecuting people for possession of small quantities of most drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Instead, Mexico is referring these persons to clinics.
    Yes, this is the right solution!
    Brazil and Ecuador are likely to follow suit.
    I have always maintained that when you criminalise, you enrich the drug cartels; you support the very war you are supposed to be fighting. You make violence between warlords.
    By the way, Europe is also making moves towards liberalisation.
    The only way deal with drug cartels in Mexico, Brazil or anywhere else is to legalise the supply and consumption of all drugs, and because of the legality, you can also register the seller as a business and tax the profit. You can then turn around and designate this money to treat addictions.
    Why would the Americans hot-foot it down to Mexico with $1.6B when Mexico is on the verge of solving its own problem in conjunction with other South American states? Surely, the Americans have no vested interest in maintaining the present conditions, do they?

  • Comment number 24.

    Misuse of Drugs Act
    This is the main piece of legislation covering drugs and categorises drugs as class A, B and C.

    These drugs are termed as controlled substances, and Class A drugs are those considered to be the most harmful.

    Offences under the Act include
    Possession of a controlled substance unlawfully
    Possession of a controlled substance with intent to supply it
    Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug (even where no charge is made for the drug)
    Allowing premises you occupy or manage to be used unlawfully for the purpose of producing or supplying controlled drugs
    Drug trafficking (supply) attracts serious punishment including life imprisonment for Class A offences.

    To enforce this law the police have special powers to stop, detain and search people on ‘reasonable suspicion’ that they are in possession of a controlled drug.


    Classification under the Act

    Class A drugs

    Include: Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms (whether prepared or fresh), methylamphetamine (crystal meth), other amphetamines if prepared for injection

    Penalties for possession: Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both

    Penalties for dealing: Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both


    Class B drugs
    Include: Cannabis, amphetamines, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pholcodine

    Penalties for possession: Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both

    Penalties for dealing: Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both


    Class C drugs
    Include: Tranquilisers, some painkillers, GHB (Gamma hydroxybutyrate), ketamine

    Penalties for possession: Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both

    Penalties for dealing: Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine. Or both


    Source: http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/misuse-of-drugs-act/index7fb8.html?version=3

  • Comment number 25.

    One grows tired of the meaningless platitudes coming out of politicians mouths on this subject. The only thing that matters is that the government looks tough and has banned as many things as possible. Nothing is going to change except an increase in the number of people inside American and Mexican prisons.

  • Comment number 26.

    Legalise everything - tax all drugs, make loads of cash for the government, give better support to users, stop girls prostituting themselves for drugs, cut a billion-pound hole in the funds of the criminal underworld... the question for me is, why are drugs illegal at all?

  • Comment number 27.

    All people use and some abuse substances which affect mood and behaviour. Most of these substances act on structures in the brain that are involved with reward and pleasure, so this is not surprising.

    Such use is not limited to humans, many species in the animal and insect kingdom will consume substances which have such effects.

    There is indeed evidence that there has been an adaptive evolutionary response to toxic substances produced by plants, which have become incorporated into mammalian brain neurochemistry.

    Given this situation, it is highly unlikely that any kind of legislation will stop substance abuse, and the more you ban, the more you drive the production and supply underground and into the hands of criminals. The money generated is then spread around other undesirable activities like illegal immigration and the sex trade.

    In some countries the situation is so bad that the whole of government and society is damaged. This cannot continue.

    The only logical approach is to legalise the moderate use of psychoactive substances by informed adults who are registered users. The production and supply should be by registered pharmaceutical companies working to high quality standards. The substances should be sold by registered outlets with appropriately trained staff and close supervision by regulators.

    The main requirements to protect society are these:

    There must be severe penalties for anyone in the supply chain of such substances to persons under 18 or allowing use on their premises. Parents would need to be included here.

    Certain occupations will require employees to remain substance free through random urine and blood testing - especially anyone driving a vehicle or operating complex machinery, in the emergency services and healthcare, in the armed forces etc etc

    Registered users would have to be monitored for immoderate use and clinical side effects and given advice and support.

    There must be robust and profound effort to educate and reduce demand.

    All this would be paid for by taxation in the substances sold. I include alcohol and tobacco.

    An independent body would maintain a list of substances and lay down recommendations for appropriate moderate and safe use. Schools would be required to include detailed information in the national curriculum which helps children remain drug free until adulthood.

    Will this ever happen? Who has the political will?

  • Comment number 28.

    Quotes from the late, great Bill Hicks:

    If you don't think drugs have done good things for us, then take all of your records, tapes and CD's and burn them.


    Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?


    I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?


    Here is my final point. About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography and smoking and everything else. What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I **** (expletive deleted), what I take into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?

  • Comment number 29.

    I suppose I grew up in simpler times. Flared trousers were everywhere, music was safe and bland in general, the idea of a wild night out was a cheese and wine party with those cheese & pineapple coctail snacks that Judith Hann invented. Now drugs seem to be everywhere and successive Governments have not caught up with what has changed. More people want drugs now that they did when I was a kid. There are far more drugs about than there were in the 60s even. We have developed the taste for them and we want them. They have to be legalised or criminals will continue to profit.

  • Comment number 30.

    War on drug, is implies there will be a final victory which of course there never will be.. So these war are always on going and are never really won these always another drug dealer waiting to fill the shoes of those you catch...
    The same with the War on Terror, Terrorist have attacked England, since 1605, at least... and Canada since at least 1867..

  • Comment number 31.

    Legalisation and taxation of drugs is ludicrous.

    There has, and always will be, a direct correlation between drugs and very sophisticated criminal gangs. Do you really imagine that legalisation and taxation will change, or stop criminal dealing?

    Just think it through - and grow up!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Fact: In the United States it is 1,000 times easier to get illicit drugs when you are a kid precisely because it is illegal. Hell, when I went to high school (mid-90's) I could get Ganja, Cocaine, Acid, and Opium within 15 minutes. Getting liquor would take all day, if I could even make it happen. Please note I did not grow up in a slum. Just your normal lower/middle class neighborhood.

    The government knows this but fails to act on it. It makes them seem complicit in the endevour.

  • Comment number 33.

    Nobody's ever overdosed from weed. I've never seem someone crash their car from smoking weed. I've never seen a bar fight break out over weed. And I rarely see people make "poor decisions" because of weed. Yet it is illegal.

    Now consdier cigerettes and liquor...

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh yeah - legalise drugs and criminal gangs will stop dealing and murdering? NOT!

    Apart from the utopian ideas and LIES of legalising drugs - what message does society send to our young, impressionable and therefore most vulnerable?

  • Comment number 35.

    No , it isn't.

    USA has been supporting the recent anti narco-cartel drive by the current Mexican government all the way.

    Financially and logistically.


    This is not about marijuana and hashish. This is about heroin and crack.

    Drugs which destroy the very fiber of American society.


    That's incidentally, why Taliban and Cuban and Venezuelan regime facilitate drug smuggling into U.S.

    Figuring that that's the way to defeat the United States.

    Without firing a shot.

  • Comment number 36.

    I would legalise them all, its a good way to cull the weakwilled. TIC

  • Comment number 37.

    There almost seems to be a deliberate policy of allowing the underworld to flourish. Through black market activities. Of which drugs are but one commodity.

    This notion of "war" is but another way of keeping the focus away from the freedoms that society possesses and possessed. We are being brainwashed into fear.

    That drugs represent a big problem to society, is without question. My solution would be to legalize all drugs and allow the sale in clinics with the use of a register to ensure that users are on record. Would there still be a black market? Of course, but it would seem to me that most of the profit angle would be removed. Plus governments would be able to reasonably tax the dugs to provide treatment centres and facilities.

    More and more laws, more and more police, more and more gaols. Are just ways and means to increase the states powers over us all.

    It was Plato that stated 2500 years ago .......... Good people do not need laws to tell them how to behave. That bad people will find ways to get around them.

    War, war, war. Terrorists, terrorists, terror etc. Are brainwashing all of us into a fearful society. Perhaps, George Orwell had it right?

  • Comment number 38.

    Appreciate the irony of post#10 @12.39 24 March 'Robert Gomez'

    This poster rightly challenged the 'utopian' idea that legalising and taxing drugs will make criminal gangs go away.

    Example: legalise harmful drugs for recreational use. What a great message for our children ... it's ok 'cos the government says it's legal - as a mum crashes her car into a tree as her daughter shoots up in the back seat?

    Or, don't worry - the pilot is in complete control of the plane - he's not taken anything illegal - AND he's paid tax on it too!!

    Yes, the doctor will be with you soon, but she's struggling to focus right now - but she's not doing anything illegal - AND she's paid tax on it too!

  • Comment number 39.

    So long there is a poor demand side management of drugs in US the problem will only get bigger for the administration in Mexico,allthemore in the present tough economic times.US will have to fight on both the fronts the demand side in US and also the supply side in Mexico by offering both funds and arms to tackle the voilent gangs controlling the supply lines across the border.The issue is further complicated by proposed immigration policy changes in US which also will have some bearing on the success or otherwise of the war on drugs in both the countries.

  • Comment number 40.

    'The War On Drugs'?

    War? Seems more like a playground scuffle.

  • Comment number 41.

    This topic comes up every 2-3 months and the answer has ben repeated over and over. Decriminalisation removes the profit-margin, see also prohibition and Al Capone. The cia are known drug-runners, so few are concerned by what clinton has to say.

  • Comment number 42.

    $billions of illegal drug money reaches terrorists to further destroy us and our children.

    To legalise the usual suspects will simply further attack and erode the 'soft underbelly' of democratic nations AND those nations who aspire to democracy?

    The war on heroin, cocaine etc., is as important as the war on terrorism as they are totally linked. The only difference is that illegal drugs are the soft and insidious bullets used to quietly destroy freedom?

  • Comment number 43.

    It is important to revamp our school systems so that children dont get involved in drug taking at an early age. The government should make drug taking and selling a punishable offense for all ages.

    It should be conveyed to the public that this is not their future and what they can do on a individual level to curb it.

  • Comment number 44.

    Isn't it ironic how the US is spending billions to militarily occupy portions of Afghanistan and erradicate opinium fields from the Taliban while it is helpess to stop drug trafficking by Mexican gangs on its boarder. Where are the drones? Where are the tanks? Where are the Marines? Where is the Agent Orange? Where are the srugical air strikes on the Mexican drug cartel? Israel gives itself the right to bomb and kill whomever it wishes among the Palestinians but the US shows only incompetence and fumbling in retaliating agianst the drug lords. The US could invade and occupy Ciudad Juarez and exterminate the drug gangs wihtout mercy just as it kills the Taliban and Al Qaeda for national security reasons. It is also a frace that tons of drugs come right through the boarder check points with Mexico. The boarder guards are either incompetent or corrupt. Put it in the hands of the military with shoot to kill on sight orders for drug smugglers that will put fear into their "mules". Helicopter gunships should also patrol the boarder and shoot anything that tries to illegally cross into the US. The US does less to protect its own boarder than that of Afghanistan or Iraq. It's rediculous.

  • Comment number 45.

    The interests behind the (tax free) drug business is huge on all sides. In reality NOBODY wants it to go away, even if they pretending so. Drug trade is a cash cow on all sides: Huge profits on dealer side and huge spending on the federal budget side.
    Real measures against it would start on the opposite end, e.g. with (even partial) legalisation and taxation. It is too obvious to be neglected, but THEY will neglect it for ever. Wonder?

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    The "war on drugs" should follow the course of any other war: The Army should invade the countries involved (UK, USA etc.) until democracy is established.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a drug does?
    Enhancement of the nature that we have.
    Why do we need drug for?
    I don't think love and respect has anything to do with it.
    I know when I am not satisfied with life or not fit enough, I will always look for the substances to track my emotion down, indeed further damaging it.
    It's natural consequence.
    If its legalised, it will let us abort good decisions on a easy choice and our future generations will mostly be affected.
    How strong are you to defend that?

  • Comment number 49.

    Re #41 " Decriminalisation removes the profit-margin, see also prohibition and Al Capone."


    And certain Joseph Kennedy.

  • Comment number 50.

    I was a heavy smoker and gave up 14yrs ago after 12 years trying
    Smoking is banned in a few european countries in the cities and has been for over 40 years. it is as distractive as using a mobile phone, a dropped cigarete can cause a crisi situation it will exacerbate any serious situation that may be occurring. In a city in the horrendous conditions that we have the whole mind should be on the road and traffic around us. the lighting of a cigarette can distract the driver, at 30 mph a car will travel 44feet in the 5 seconds it takes to light a cigarette the vehicle will have travelled some 220 feet or nearly 80 metres, over three cricket pitches, plenty of time to miss seeing a child or any one pulling in front and stopping. If the driver is so addicted to the weed then he/she should take a break and pull over for the nicotine belt. As an ex lorrydriver i could never smoke while in a congested town/city, but must confess did enjoy my cigarette when on the open road, so ban cigareete smoking within city limits, that should satisfy both sides of the argument

  • Comment number 51.

    Re #44 "Isn't it ironic how the US is spending billions to militarily occupy portions of Afghanistan and erradicate opinium fields from the Taliban while it is helpess to stop drug trafficking by Mexican gangs on its boarder."




    No it isn't, since according to United Nations' own statistics 90% of heroin available in the world - comes from Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 52.

  • Comment number 53.

    The only nation that has successfully dealt with drug trafficking use and addiction was Communist China. I think we should adopt their methods.

  • Comment number 54.

    Legalise and tax soft recreational drugs such as marijuana.

    Other drugs should be controlled and properly regulated by medical professionals.

    Anything is better than acquiring some unregulated, cut substance off the the streets and the money (we are talking in terms of billions) being reinvested in drugs cartels or terrorist networks.

  • Comment number 55.

    Drug taking, like smoking, binge drinking and getting a tattoo, is social trend. beloved of the uneducated. (I won't say the poor as lots of stupid rich people participate).

    What you have to do is stop the culture of drug taking.

    The people who say that we should just give in and legalise it proberbly havn't lost a member of their family or friends to this odious pastime.

    I tried recreational drugs in my youth. I had some good and some very bad experiences, including the courts and hospital. I decided that it was best avoided and have never considered taking it up again.

    Most people take up drugs because they like it and it's available.

    What we need are changes to the system of dealing with drugs if we are to reduce its acceptance, particularly amongst the young.

    I would introduce the following initiatives.

    1 Any addict requiring treatment to get off drugs volunteers to attend a secure unit, for an agreed time, no early release. No more Methodone layabouts hanging around surgeries.

    2 Any person convicted of any drugs offence is not allowed any state benefits for 3/5 years.

    3 Any person convicted of an offence to obtain drugs to have a minimum of 12 months in prison, behind glass so there is no physical contact with their families/friends & therefore no hand over of illicit drugs.

    4 Compulsery drug testing in prison with increase in sentence if found to be still using.

    5 Change the legal aid system so that only a limited amount of money is available to pay for ordinary legal representatives.

    6 The introduction of a comprehensive 'Ill Gotten Gains' law where a person has to explain where assessts were obtained from. If a person is convicted of a drugs offence all such IGG is confiscated.

    7 Closing down of any premises (clubs) where persons are found in possession of drugs on 2 occasions. If a person is found on a premises with drugs they will be banned from returning.

    Yes you will get a sharp increase in the prison population. But as the majority of crime is committed by drug users to obtain money for drugs society will benefit.

  • Comment number 56.

    I've always read that the biggest argument for not legalising cannabis is that people who where born with a silver spoon in their mouths, who more then definitely have tried some kind of recreational drug in their past, say its a gateway drug. This is ludicrous because as anyone who has ever smoked a joint will tell you, the first time they did it was under the influence of Alcohol. Alcohol, is a drug that causes its users to lose their inhibitions and sense of moral well being, yet it is fully legal and children use it from as early on as the age of 12.

    You will always hear stories of how people have went out on a night out, drank a few too many, woke up in a strange bed and ended up with some kind of STD from their nights previous experiences. You will also see the violence that is caused from too many drinks at your local A&E on a Friday or Saturday night. Of course, this type of issue is fine, because lets face it. The people who are ultimately in charge of the laws and regulations enjoy a glass of expensive wine with their over priced dinners. They wouldn't want to ban something that costs untold amounts of money because they would miss out. You don't hear about people who have smoked too much or taken too many pills being raped, beaten or anything else associated with Alcohol.

    So, they ban everything that they don't understand or have fears about.

    Lets see what this does.

    First of all, the drugs become manufactured by greedy criminals. These people will add, cut and modify the contents of the drugs to maximise profits. An example of this can be seen in the documentary shown on BBC4 called Cannabis, where a man explains that the "really strong" variant of skunk that everyone is smoking is actually coated with glass powder to increase its weight.

    This is the same skunk that the children of politicians are smoking, this is the same skunk that the general public is smoking.

    Next off, lets take a look at Ecstasy. A drug which can be bought for 50p a pill. This is also the same drug that in 1996 cost £20 a pill to buy, THEN. Can you see what the difference is. Millions and millions of ecstasy tablets get taken every weekend and they are cut with rubbish, chemicals and anything the drug dealers can use to make the drug cheaper to produce.

    These are the same poisonous tablets that the children of politicians are taking, these are the same tablets the general public are taking.

    If these 2 drugs became legal, controlled and taxed they will be made safe. Your children will be experimenting with SAFE drugs, not taking poisons and smoking shards of glass.

    The prisons would be empty so that real criminals can get longer jail terms and not have to get short terms because of over-crowding and drug addicts could get their habits fixed at a chemist under the NHS for free. They wouldn't have to mug old ladies for their pensions.

    The benefits of this sudden burst of money could be put back into this country to make it a better place, we could invest billions into our schools, hospitals and make care homes free for the elderly.

    Our world would be a better place with the legalisation of recreational drugs, it will be calm, safe and everyone would be happy and not just in the figurative sense of the word.

    and just to round out my final point.

    The people that want to take drugs...DO take drugs and they pay a lot of money and go through a lot of trouble for the pleasure.

  • Comment number 57.

    Arresting and jailing a few drug dealers/users in the neighbourhoods is pointless and waste of money and resources.
    Go for the big drug cartels no matter where they are.
    Every country should go after them and use any force necessary to arrest them and imprison them for them life, using lethal force if necessary.

  • Comment number 58.

    The only nation that has successfully dealt with drug trafficking, use and addiction was Communist China. I think we should adopt their methods.

  • Comment number 59.

    The problem of narcotics is the production of vast armies of voluntary narcotic lemmings.

    Why would people self harm? It is totally irrational. It is mad.
    Why should it be difficult to nurture people who do not risk harm to themselves?

    It is time for rich countries to put their weight into measures that eliminate demand.

    No demand, no problem.

  • Comment number 60.

    Unfortunately, it has been very well documented that drug trafficking is sponsored by the CIA and this is where a good deal of money is collected for covert and "black" ops. As a result the "war on drugs" will never be won, and the victims - common ordinary people who have their weaknesses exploited - will continue to suffer. This was reported on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and numerous other national TV news programs, so why is it that most Americans (and people of the world) are unaware of this connection?

  • Comment number 61.

    38. At 2:18pm on 24 Mar 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    Appreciate the irony of post#10 @12.39 24 March 'Robert Gomez'

    This poster rightly challenged the 'utopian' idea that legalising and taxing drugs will make criminal gangs go away.

    Example: legalise harmful drugs for recreational use. What a great message for our children ... it's ok 'cos the government says it's legal - as a mum crashes her car into a tree as her daughter shoots up in the back seat?

    Or, don't worry - the pilot is in complete control of the plane - he's not taken anything illegal - AND he's paid tax on it too!!

    Yes, the doctor will be with you soon, but she's struggling to focus right now - but she's not doing anything illegal - AND she's paid tax on it too!

    ****************************************

    Your arguement just doesnt hold water I'm afraid. Every one of your examples can be applied to legal drugs, alcohol, tobacco.

    The mum who crashes her car whilst the daughter is shooting up - in a recent study the DfT (www.dft.gov.uk) found that alcohol was present in the bodies of 32% of all those killed on the roads. Alcohol causes 17,000 accidents each year in the US alone (www.car-accidents.com).

    The pilot is too high to fly (love the play on words there btw) - Just use an internet search engine and search "drunk pilots" and you will see countless episodes where pilots have been found to be over the drink drive limit.

    The doctor who is to stoned to operate - again, I personally have been to a Gp in the UK who smelled of alcohol.

    The examples you have used against the legalisation of drugs already happen but with the legal drugs we all know and use.



    Most drug related deaths are caused by either an overdose, or by taking a non-pure version of the drug. With proper regulation the drugs would be purer and with proper education instead of "ALL DRUGS ARE BAD!" we could actually educate kids properly on drugs and therefore reduce the number number of people accidentally overdosing.


    You have mentioned what kind of message would this send to our kids. The answer is:
    What kind of message do we already send?

    We allow people to not only take a drug which harms themselves (tobacco) but also those around them (passive smoking), this drug killed 435000 people in the US alone in 2000.
    We also allow a drug that causes more that 85,000 deaths in the US alone (alcohol).

    So what message do we already send?


    Personally I believe the only answer to drugs is to stop with the knee jerk reaction that people often have (such as yours) and to actually stop and think. Prohibition obviously does not work, we know that from both history and also what is happening today. We need to try something else.

  • Comment number 62.

    Legalize weed, but don't tax it, taxing it would just simply put everything back to square one, decriminalize heroine and cocaine, but make them usable under licence, lets face it its not going to go away, the licence would allow police to keep track of heroine and cocaine movement through out countries, get the drug cartels to agree to terms of operation within those borders, including agreeing to pay a tax for import and export, in exchange for operational freedoms, Educate children properly on the dangers of drugs, not the ridiculous public information films that governments think are informative, such as "reefer Madness" "how to survive a nuclear explosion by hiding under the kitchen table" and those old black and white British information films with Mr Chumley Warner, i'm not saying that this would solve all drug crimes but it would help to find a different way than this ridiculous cowboy and Indian mentality the Americans lead the way with, drugs still there?, check, drug enforcement agents still around? hmmmmmm a few seem to be missing

  • Comment number 63.

    We cant stop thousands of Ileegals entrying the country what chance you we have of stopping drugs.
    It is time cannabis and other recreationl drugs where legalised and some of the profits spent on buying the opium of the Afghani farmers and taking it and burninug it.
    Of course that will not happen,smackheads human rights will be infringed.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Legalize all drugs and put the money into promoting the risks and harm they cause. Do not forget that alcohol should be reclassed as a Class A drug and tobacco a Class B according to Prof Nutt so I detect hypocrisy in current policies.

  • Comment number 66.

    • 10. At 12:39pm on 24 Mar 2010, Robert Gomez wrote:
    "Perhaps we should legalize and tax other crimes as well (murder, theft, blackmail, etc..). Surely legalization and taxation are an effective deterrent to all crimes."

    Robert murder, theft, blackmail etc. are ALL crimes as they have a victim. A person deciding to smoke a spliff / take ecstacy is making a personal decision which puts no one at harm but themselves. That is the very clear difference here.

    • 31. At 1:48pm on 24 Mar 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    "There has, and always will be, a direct correlation between drugs and very sophisticated criminal gangs. Do you really imagine that legalisation and taxation will change, or stop criminal dealing? Just think it through - and grow up!!"

    So do you feel that we currently have the same levels of bootleg alcohol being sold in the UK as we do illegal drugs? Of course we don't! Try using evidence rather than guess work to back up your argument. If drugs can be purchased legally at a set quality from carefully controlled outlets then why buy unregulated product from a 'dealer'? You are also missing the point that the police/courts could then focus all their efforts on the remaining drug gangs rather than wasting time busting otherwise law abiding citizens for smoking a joint etc. This would save billions!

    • 38. At 2:18pm on 24 Mar 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    "Example: legalise harmful drugs for recreational use. What a great message for our children ... it's ok 'cos the government says it's legal - as a mum crashes her car into a tree as her daughter shoots up in the back seat?"

    A child will be far less likely to get hold off drugs if they are legalised and sold to over 18's in limited quantites at licensed premises. Currently we have pushers selling drugs outside the school gates - when did you last see a landlord attempting the same?!

    "Or, don't worry - the pilot is in complete control of the plane - he's not taken anything illegal - AND he's paid tax on it too!!"

    How is that any different from the current risk of a pilot flying a plane when drunk?! We need to punish people for committing crimes when under the influence, the same as we do for alcohol. Not criminalise the act of taking the drug or banning alcohol all together.








  • Comment number 67.

    "38. At 2:18pm on 24 Mar 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    Appreciate the irony of post#10 @12.39 24 March 'Robert Gomez'

    This poster rightly challenged the 'utopian' idea that legalising and taxing drugs will make criminal gangs go away.

    Example: legalise harmful drugs for recreational use. What a great message for our children ... it's ok 'cos the government says it's legal - as a mum crashes her car into a tree as her daughter shoots up in the back seat?

    Or, don't worry - the pilot is in complete control of the plane - he's not taken anything illegal - AND he's paid tax on it too!!

    Yes, the doctor will be with you soon, but she's struggling to focus right now - but she's not doing anything illegal - AND she's paid tax on it too"!
    -------------------------------------

    I certainly hear where you are coming from. For the most part, I might agree with you. One thought that prevents me from entirely agreeing is ................ Is it only the law, that prevents your scenario taking place?

    Plato stated an axiom when he said." Good people do not need laws to tell them how to live. Bad people will find ways to get around them".

    To me; if it's only the law that prevents me from doing things that are like you describe? Or whether, I'm a good person that believes in. Well [sounds trite], being good? With or without law, what would be your choice?

    I have a feeling that most "Pilots", or" Mom's and Daughters" do not need those laws against those actions. The ones we make the laws for,"The bad people"? Are going to do that anyway.

    Possibly, without paying tax.

    BTW ...... This is not about anarchy. Guidelines for society in the shape of law, certainly. This is, about, how our fears are being used around wars that can never be won. It was described in a novel by George Orwell. Fighting an enemy that you cannot see, except through propaganda. Using the public purse, through taxation, to keep us in economic slavery. A "War on Drugs" can never be won. Not now or ever. It is far too lucrative for both sides of that war.

  • Comment number 68.

    Fine by me to let people take drugs so long as when they need medical help because they OD'ed and need their guts pumped that they are billed accordingly. Same applies to those who drink too much and smoke too. Why should the NHS or any other healthcare system have to support/subsidize people who want to kill themselves.

  • Comment number 69.

    Most countries would benefit from another source of income without having to tax its citizens. By legalizing and taxing drug sales, three thing could be accomplished almost immediately: 1. An instant source of cash flow to help countries with their national deficits. 2. It would take away the profit that motivates this criminal enterprise. 3. The money that is currently wasted in law enforcement and sending people to prison, would be added to the national budgets for health and education.

  • Comment number 70.

    Loads of interesting views made. I think legalising it is the way forward. Perhaps limiting the sale to the age of 21 maybe?? At least then the more irresponsible actions of youth may be controlled to an extent (I know it wont cut it out completely). At least then their bodies would be more developed to adapt to the changes bodies go through. With the legalisation of drugs, you would know what you were taking and if something did unfortunately happen to the user, then the doctor would be in a better position to treat the user rather than with all the additives and cutting agents that you hear about now to maximise profits. I in the short term people may abuse this right to buy, but over time would change the attitudes of people. Making something illegal brings with it an aura of taking them because you are not allowed to. It's an element of risk. Removing the risk would invariably reduce some of the excitement in taking and in turn may iron out the problems in society. Interesting topic though.

  • Comment number 71.

    "58. At 3:38pm on 24 Mar 2010, crow531 wrote:

    The only nation that has successfully dealt with drug trafficking, use and addiction was Communist China. I think we should adopt their methods."

    What a load of rubbish. There are still major drug problems in china, always has been always will. There are drug users the world over. The countries who have had the most recent success have used much more relaxed attitudes and enforcement. Portugal and Holland as prime examples.

    When will people and governments learn, drugs and drug users should not be feared, vilified and outlawed. The amount of benefits of relaxed drug laws and legalisation for the large majority of recreational drugs far outweigh the negatives. Tax, control, educate, save money on enforcement, free up prison spaces for real criminals who hurt others and not just themselves. Simple.

  • Comment number 72.

    I would like to see a test for drugs developed,similar to the breathalyser where you blow in the bag.

  • Comment number 73.

    There you have it: if it really was a 'war on drugs' it would have been the most ineffective in history - a 30-year 'battle' that has only served to increase both supply and demand of narcotics.

    We must move beyond the 'war' tag; on the demand side it should be seen as a health rather than as a criminal issue, and on the supply side as an issue around poverty, social exclusion and political corruption. Let's face it, drugs are not going away, so let's minimise the negative results.

  • Comment number 74.

    The only way to halt the drug cartels is take away the market, would it not be possible in this day and age for a group of clever scientists to get togeather come up with something that is less harmfull but with similar effects, manufacture it in huge quantities and give it away free to the end users. No market, No drug barrons, it could be paid for by the savings in treatments and manpower fighting the war.
    Just trying to think out of the box

  • Comment number 75.

    Fact is that drug were, are and will be used by people. My solution is simple: legalize production of drugs, tax it, price will go down together with income of organized crime groups. Use the tax revenues on medical care for those who are not able to cope with the addiction. Will this ever happen? Of course not.

  • Comment number 76.

    legalize drugs and then you could tax them like petrol and cigarettes

  • Comment number 77.

    55. At 3:21pm on 24 Mar 2010, JohnH wrote:

    JohnH - The USA already has similar views than yours and has the worst drug figures of ANY country! Both in terms of users and prison population. Do you think people in prison with nothing left to loose will avoid taking drugs when bored stiff with no visits allowed from family and friends (as you sugguest!). Do you think people that are subject to this harsh treatment will then intergrate back into society? What about people that leave prison that then can not claim benefits for 3 to 5 years (again as you suggest) - how do they live or support their broken families that they go back to? Do you think they will walk straight into jobs now that they have criminal records for no more than recreational drug use? Your ideas would create a broken Britain with people thrown into a cycle that they are unable to break. And who is going to pay for all the new prisons and £30k per year to house each prisoner? I certainly am not when the countries economy is already fragile.

    Countries like the USA and UK with strict drugs laws have the worst drug statistics whilst countries like Portugal (that has decriminalised users) and Holland have the lowest figures. Why is it so hard for Prohibitionists to accept this clear evidence and continue to speculate? Or is it still people stuck on a moral crusade?

  • Comment number 78.

    THERE ARE 17 MILLION YOUNG MEXICANS THAT DID NOT FINISH SECONDARY EDUCATION.
    THIS MEANS THAT THERE ARE 17 MILLION POTENTIAL PARTICIPANT MEMEBERS OF THE DRUG CARTELS.
    THE ONLY WAY TO FINISH WITH THIS PROBLEM, SINCE THE UNITED STATES SOCIETY IS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO STOP DRUG ABUSE AND PRODUCTION, IS TO LEGALIZE, AT LEAST THE USE OF MARIJUANA IN MEXICO TO CURTAIL THE ECONOMIC INCENTIVE THAT IS CREATING THIS PROBLEM.
    WE HAD EIGHT YEARS, DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, THAT NOTHING WAS DONE AS TO THE WEAPONS EXPORTS TO MEXICO BY U.S. INDIVIDUALS. A GREAT BUSINESS THAT IS CREATING HAVOC IN MEXICO TODAY. THIS WAS AN ACT OF WAR, AND NOBODY IS WRITING OR SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
    FOR ME THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM IS THE LEGALIZATION OF THE USE OF MARIJUANA IN MEXICO TO CURTAIL ITS ECONOMIC INCENTIVE THAT PROPELS CARTELS TO ACQUIRE YOUNG BOYS AND GUNS FOR ITS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 80.

    The war on drugs should be discontinued and say we lost. The only way to end the violence, cut demand and get help for the people who need it is to make ALL drugs legal. With the proviso that all users must register. Then the drug lords would be out of business, the drugs would be of higher quality (overseen by the FDA)and taxes could be used to get help for addicts and urb demand.

  • Comment number 81.

    Legalisation and taxation. How many more times must we be asked this?

  • Comment number 82.

    10. At 12:39pm on 24 Mar 2010, Robert Gomez wrote:
    "Perhaps we should legalize and tax other crimes as well (murder, theft, blackmail, etc..). Surely legalization and taxation are an effective deterrent to all crimes."

    Ah but you see murder, theft, blackmail - all these affect other people. Smoking a joint - how many people will i infringe upon doing that?

    "55. At 3:21pm on 24 Mar 2010, JohnH wrote:
    Drug taking, like smoking, binge drinking and getting a tattoo, is social trend. beloved of the uneducated. (I won't say the poor as lots of stupid rich people participate)."

    The uneducated? I think in this instance it is you that is the uneducated. Would you consider Ted Turner uneducated? Do you know the very typical cocaine users? President Obama already admitted he smoked a joint before. Uneducated? Howard Marks (certainly the most notorious cannabis smuggler I know) attended Balliol College, Oxford. Uneducated? I would suggest the uneducated are the members of society who have this 'ban it now' rationale without experiencing it. How can you condemn something without understanding it properly? For example do you know the very real medicinal benefits of marijuana? Did you know that pharmacuetical companies have been trying to replicate the naturally occuring THC from marijuana for drugs that they can sell? Did you know that the number one reason this prohibition came about in the first place was the usefulness of weed? Or, in particular, hemp. Which threatened so many other industries? Of course it was legal to grow during the second world war in the US because it was a time of need, a very real need to utilise the many benefits of hemp. But then it got legaised again.

    What gives you the right to think you should police what substances I choose to pollute myself with? Although alcohol and tobacco are fine right? Oh and junk food, thats cool too yeah? Despite the fact that obesity is the major concern for most of the industrialised world. I tell you what middle England/America sit there in your 4x4s, guzzling burgers, smoking cigarettes and drinking your single malts and feel content that you can condemn people because all your vices are legal. The hypocrisy is laughable.

  • Comment number 83.

    Government waging war on its own citizens under any excuse is obscene, and should be strictly illegal. But now we use the word "war" very casually and loosely. It is a sign of declining culture. Drugs are here to stay, and soon there will be more of them. The best we can do is to improve social conditions, teach cultural and religious values, and increase parental powers etc. so that the opportunity, and temptation to take drugs is reduced. The present policy of "war" is a total waste of time and public funds. Government controlled dispensaries and drug rehabilitation programs would be far more effective.
    canjudge

  • Comment number 84.

    A simple two pronged approach is needed. Something along the lines of:- 1.Make it NO offence to consume the current illegal drugs, and make them available free on demand from Licensed outlets 2. Make it an offence carrying Mandatory execution to Grow, transport, refine, provide, possess, etc. any of the Drugs except under licence.
    The problem with the war on drugs is that nobody has the willingness to carry it through.

  • Comment number 85.

    FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WOULD LIKE TO LEGALESE MARIJUANA
    I don't want support more non-productive welfare recipients.
    I don't want to pay for the medical problems of their children. There is a direct link between birth defect and marijuana use. What about the link between Autism and recreational use of drugs by Grand Parents skips a generation so it's like a lottery to see if your going to get one.
    Who raises your kids while your getting high you sure aren't responsible. More troubled kids in system causing problems for the law, disrupting classes in school.That child left behind that we're paying a fortune in school taxes to bring up to a minim standard. Their just not interested.

  • Comment number 86.

    The American "War on Drugs" has always been a joke, especially considering that the CIA under George Herbert Bush was instrumental in popularizing Asian heroin in the U.S. The tobacco and distillery lobbies have long prevented the legalization of marijuana, which is much less physically destructive than their own oh-so-legal products. Legalize the stuff, tax it, and regulate it rather better than we have the banking industry.

  • Comment number 87.

    "80. At 4:30pm on 24 Mar 2010, Michael Johnson wrote:
    The war on drugs should be discontinued and say we lost. The only way to end the violence, cut demand and get help for the people who need it is to make ALL drugs legal. With the proviso that all users must register"

    Fine. As long as everyone who smokes, drinks or ever eats at a fast food "restaurant" also must register.

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 89.

    Legalizing drugs will not get rid of these cartels. Removing prohibition in the US didn't get rid of the Mafia. They are still here. This is a war against Latin America and the invasion of the United States that was created by Latin America. A direct confrontation with Mexico is what is needed as they are in no way the ally of the United States. They pour across the border breeding violence and destroying the American society that took 500 years to build. Drugs are just something that finances this invasion of the US.

    What is needed is a NATO presence on the US-Mexican border with a committment to aggressively attack anyone who challenges that presence. The Mexican Army has been constantly caught protecting drug shipments. The word of the Mexican government is worthless. They have been promising to do something about illegal drugs and illegal immigrants crossing into the US since the 1970s. See how good their word is?

  • Comment number 90.

    What is obvious is that the current illegal drugs policy is not working, at least in the U.S./Mexico situation. As long as there is a demand there will be someone willing to supply that demand, and the more difficult it is for the user to obtain what they want the higher the price commanded for the drugs. One result is that huge amounts of money are involved and the consequence is increased crime, both on the part of the users who often will do what they need to in order to pay for drugs, and as a by-product of the production and distribution systems. The Mexico/U.S. problem is causing the destabilisation of entire communities, the border region, and threatens both countries in general. Perhaps a partial further decriminialising of, for example, marijuana (cannabis) and other "soft" drugs could help to a degree, but of course the usual penalties for endangering the public and one's employer (driving and/or report for work under the influence, among others) would need to remain.

    The use of illegal drugs and even some legal ones as means of escape in general reflects deeper systemic personal and societal problems, and there is no simple answer as to how to deal with it all. Counseling and withdrawal programs help in some situations, but an apparent problem is that those who have gone through them often return to drugs use. And no one really knows how much illegal drugs use there is among people who otherwise appear to conform to societal norms and are what generally is termed respectable citizens.

  • Comment number 91.

    71. At 4:10pm on 24 Mar 2010, Luke wrote:
    For 40 years that had virtually no drug problems. They only started to have problems again after adopting an enlightened western policy of dealing with it

  • Comment number 92.

    I take great exception to anyone that says they never have and never will take drugs and try to justify legalization of any banned substances. If anyone has access to the results of the Berlin 25Km Road Race in 1992 they will see that I finished 14th at the age of 37. Whatever happened after only I really know but something changed in my life which saw me very quickly transformed into an alcoholic and recreational drug user and it nearly destroyed my life. Shortly before my daughter left home she asked me, what next, heroin. Thankfully another door opened in my life and 9 years on I am clean from both. I consider myself very lucky to be in a position to share my experience, many don't get the chance. In my opinion, drugs ruin lives (not only the users) and there really is no place for any kind in our society. To those who think different, you are welcome.

  • Comment number 93.

    LOOK AT CHINA AND LEARN

  • Comment number 94.

    Prohibition was a disaster. Do we never learn? There is NO WAY any law will ever prevent human beings from being human beings: inquisitive.

    Furthermore, there is NO logical argument for fags and booze being legal and taxed whilst dope and coke are not. It's just plain silly.

    The only solution is to legalise, tax and control distribution of ALL such substances. This would benefit almost all of soceity, excluding the drug barons, and generate a truly STAGGERING sum of money with which the 'crisis' could be paid off and investment made into things of social benefit: education, health, etc.

    We're talking about more money than the OIL industry generates, for heaven's sake, and yet 'ideology' prevents us from making any progress!

    It's about time we allowed practicality to override ideology. The same applies to Capitalism, too. But we're pathetic when it comes to change.

  • Comment number 95.

    Perhaps we should legalize and tax other crimes as well (murder, theft, blackmail, etc..). Surely legalization and taxation are an effective deterrent to all crimes. (Robert Gomez)

    Surely you see the lack of subtlety or sophistication in your argument? Someone sitting in their own home privately smoking cannabis does no harm to those around him, this is hardly comparable to murder, theft, or blackmail. Taking cannabis is not wrong or morally questionable, only illegal. I don't do the stuff myself, but given the state this country is in id rather see billions of pounds of tax money coming out of pot than it funding gangs.

  • Comment number 96.

    Firstly, the West should buy the entire opiate production of Afghanistan, and anywhere else that produces opium, cannabis, cocaine and the like. Then this should be processed properly and sold to users in the same way as alcohol and tobacco, subject to quality control and taxation. All this stuff is really cheap to produce, and could be marketed at such a low cost as to make "independant" production and supply an unattractive financial proposition. The taliban would lose their source of funding, too. Doing away with the nonsense of the "war on drugs" would more than fund this course of action..and there would no longer be any need for users to resort to criminal activity to fund their habit; we could even give it away to keep the addicted happy and quiescent.

    I have long thought that "drugs" aren't the problem; it's the infrastructure and criminality that cause the difficulties. Being one of the Sixties generation, I have seen a large amount of drug use...and never once any problem with them. I would venture that most of my generation, who are now well up the ladder of life, have used recreational drugs without any ill effects.

  • Comment number 97.

    @crow531 - Judging from the horrible spelling in that diatribe of yours, perhaps you should turn your attention to your own education. Read a few research journals also, it may help add some intellectual rigour to your argument.

  • Comment number 98.

    We Colombians have paid the biggest price for the futile war on drugs. Thousands of murdered persons for more than 30 years.A few persons killed in US soil elicit this answer from Secretary Clinton. European and American industries supply arms money chemicals legally so that our countries can produce the stuff you like to sniff so much. Enjoy it if you want, but"LEGALLY".
    And by the way avoid us the destruction of woods, rivers, water fountains in our territory to produce cocaine.An at the same time avoid Colombian citizens the shame of being signaled as suspects at every airport.

    Federico V

  • Comment number 99.

    The drug war is doomed if we start growing roses.

    Let's see how authorities try to explain to people that they don't have the right to grow or buy or give away roses,

    because a chemical that has amphetamine-like effects can be isolated from them ...
    that way the cartels are also doomed if enough people realize this.

  • Comment number 100.

    The crux of the problem is the US Drug Consumption market.

    US domestic drug policies should be revised to focus more on reform rather than incarceration among drug users and low-level dealers (who are usually just well connected & organized users themselves).

    Marijuana in particular needs to be steeply decriminalized, if not legalized outright. Its influence is significantly less detrimental to its users, while it is a vastly disproportionate element of US drug consumption.

    Its removal from the banned substances list would allow for more focused - and successful - arrest & prosecution of the other drugs aflicting our societies.

    The domestic side of the US War on Drugs needs to end, especially regarding marijuana.

 

Page 1 of 6

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.