ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
NR 61 MARCH 2010
CLOSER TO THE TRUTH
From March 8th to 12th, 2010, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs will hold its annual meeting in Vienna, to evaluate the results of the current drug control strategy. The stated goal of this strategy is to reduce the production, trade and demand for illegal drugs. The truth is, that there are no positive results of this strategy at all.
On February 23, 2010, during the Public Hearing on EU Drug Policies that Encod co-organised in the European Parliament, Carel Edwards, the Head of the Drugs Coordination Unit of the European Commission stated that: “Repression does not work. We know enough now to draw this conclusion.”
Since March 2009, the European Commission has had in its possession a report on the impact of drug policies on the Global Market of Illicit Drugs from 1998 to 2007. This report draws the following conclusion: current drug policies, based on prohibition, fail to diminish drug supply and demand and are causing harm to individuals and society at large.
An ENCOD delegation will also be present at the coming meeting in Vienna, to remind government delegates that they are there to protect their people against dangers, not to expose them to these dangers.
On March 4, Encod members will organise a protest at the Embassy of Malaysia both in Paris and London. The same day a public letter to the Malaysian government will be published in the Malaysian press in order to ask for an immediate end to the death penalty for drug offenders.
The truth of the statement we have made for many years, that prohibition is the real menace for society, is becoming as evident as the fact that the sun rises every day. Drug prohibition results in immense illegal profits, perturbing the economy, corrupting authorities and fueling armed groups. It causes and increases social exclusion and individual stress.
The total public expenditure needed to maintain drug prohibition just in the EU is estimated (conservatively) at 40 billion Euros, or 80 Euros per citizen per year. In times of economic crisis we can no longer allow such an amount to be wasted on a policy that clearly has no benefit whatsoever, and at the same time generates problems and harm for millions of individuals.
The Reuter Trautmann report also exposes these truths. Those who accept scientific evidence can no longer deny that drug prohibition has been proved a false theory. A framework for the legal production and distribution of drugs is the only reasonable and effective way to reduce drug related problems, reduce organised crime and raise tax revenues to invest in health, education and social programmes.
The question is not if, but when. To accelerate the end of prohibition, we must continue with determination to fulfill two objectives: discredit the prohibitionist regime, ensuring it has no way to rejuvenate itself, and encourage people who want another policy to speak up and demand change.
When will common sense start to rule the world of drug policy, and the world in general?
Read all about it in the next Encod bulletin.
By Joep Oomen, with the help of Peter Webster