OVERVIEW OF THE US FAILED 35-YEAR WAR ON DRUGS
This appeared as an op ed piece in the Boston Globe, 27 June. In sum, the war "... has failed for many reasons. Our leaders refuse to accept the facts on the ground. Their strategies are shaped more by punitive ideology than by pragmatism and compassion. And too many Americans still believe that drug addiction is someone else's problem. As a result, our government's wrongheaded policies have gone unchecked -- with countless lives lost, families wrecked, and victims more cruelly marginalized than in other developed nations." Less than a quarter of the Bush administration drug-related budget goes for treatment; when Nixon launched "the war" over half was ear-marked for rehabilitation services.
The authors quote two respected observers of the drug wars: "The problem is not that the United States has failed to do the impossible, but that it has failed to do things that could readily be done." To that one can only add: The US has failed to consider - and has refused to permit even the discussion of - any alternatives to the policies and practices that have been such a dismal failure for decades.