[Drug Truth Network
By: Dean Becker
10 January 2008
See the video of Mr. Antonio Costa’s speech
I work daily with my “band of brothers”, the members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, to bring an end to America’s longest running war, the war on drugs. We are a group of current and former police men and women, prosecutors, prison guards, CIA agents, DEA agents and others who have spent years if not decades serving America’s prison-industrial complex. We are in 100% agreement that our drug policy actually serves to embolden and enrich criminals worldwide.
LEAP has more than one hundred members that speak to organizations around the world; to inform legislators, fraternal groups, student organizations, church goers and other interested citizens about the very real need for change to our drug laws. I produce 9 radio programs each week in this regard for a syndicate of 50 plus radio stations in the US and Canada. We have produced dozens of videos as well including this 2:50 interview with Dr. Costa which is available online here.
In December, I attended a major drug conference in New Orleans, a gathering of approximately 1,500 people to examine the policy of drug prohibition. Our goal was to determine how to make best use of our fiscal and physical resources to protect our communities and to find ways to curtail our children’s easy access to drugs.
The luncheon speaker on the first day of the conference was Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, the director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. I asked him why we allow the Afghan traffickers to make billions of dollars each year turning opium flowers into weapons with which they continue their war against the US? Dr. Costa stated: “Drug cultivation in Afghanistan this year is out of control, about 200,000 hectares. A significant amount of money is being made in Afghanistan, about 4 billions, three accruing to traffickers in Afghanistan and one to farmers. Obviously we have to solve the problem of the war by dealing with demand so that the Afghan farmers will then spend their life cultivating licit crops.”
Rather than change our failed policy and end this funding of our enemies, Dr. Costa seeks to redirect the lives of millions of farmers and a hundred million drug users.
I stated that after decades of failure of the UN and US polices, that the black market in drugs had become the worlds largest multi-level-marketing organization. I asked Dr. Costa if his efforts were not akin to “shoveling sand.” He replied: “Humanity has spent centuries, millennia, fighting crime, fighting homicides, fighting slavery. We still have crime, and homicides and slavery and rape. Should we legalize this?”
None of these “Drug Czars” are obliged to address the fact that these non-violent crimes of drug usage were created from thin air by their predecessors less than 100 years ago.
I reminded Dr. Costa that the US has spent approximately one trillion dollars trying to repeal the law of supply and demand and that despite the UN and US efforts, the violent gangs that plague our neighborhoods continue to derive most of their funds by selling contaminated drugs to our children. He responded: “The strongest argument of the UN is to deal with demand prevention… To treat drug addiction as an illness and therefore offer to drug addicts the same assistance which is offered to those that suffer from diabetes or cancer or heart attack.”
Would that Dr. Costa had the courage of his “strongest argument”, to mandate such a policy change in the United States.
Meanwhile, the US leads the world in it’s incarceration rate and according to Dr. Costa’s office, drug traffickers worldwide make more than $400,000,000,000 each year as children continue to have the easiest access to drugs. These enormous repercussions are eternalized by a continued support of the black market, inherent in the weaker and often nebulous arguments of Dr. Costa and his peers.