War has always been with us and I presume always will be, so long as there are natural resources that are desirable and ideologies that separate us. Human beings will always have disputes and sometimes that will escalate into violence, mostly on a catastrophic scale that nearly always causes unimaginable suffering and devastation. A sad fact of life is that negotiation is tough and destruction is far easier, and more profitable.
One conflict in particular has been with us for decades and even though there is not a chance in hell of victory it continues to this day, much to the detriment of society and especially the developing world. Billions of dollars have been spent in an effort to eradicate illegal drugs from the streets of the western world. As of 2019 there has been no return on that investment and in my opinion the world is in a worse state today, in part because of the war on drugs. It is an unwinnable war that has to stop, not even a change of tactics will do. Hostilities must cease with immediate effect.
This is not a statement that I as a father of two would make lightly but a radical change has to be made concerning worldwide drug policy, or at least in this country (U.K) anyway. ALL DRUGS SHOULD BE REGULATED AND SOLD LEGALLY! It sounds crazy to advocate the selling of weed, speed, MDMA, cocaine and heroin from licensed and regulated establishments. To have such substances freely available on the high street seems like madness, hippie idealism from the sixties but in reality these substances are freely available on street corners the world over.
That is really the biggest problem with the war on drugs, even though we’re at war to stop them flooding our streets the drugs still flood our streets. Dollars are wasted, corpses piled high and the war stops nothing! Law enforcement officers lay their lives on the line while drug gangs kill each other for the right to supply certain areas. Money from our taxes is funneled into this futile crusade and across the globe the main drug traffickers are given celebrity status i.e Escobar and El Chapo Guzman, their grim stories immortalised on Netflix.
From the point of view of where I am from, Wales U.K, the availability of hygienically processed and lab tested drugs would have saved countless lives as there have been many deaths among the people I went through school with, mainly due to cheap street smack (Heroin). Almost all drugs are contaminated with other substances that add to their mass and therefore to its value but force the users to ingest mystery ingredients that may cause short or long term health hazards. Regulation and proper processes of manufacture could eradicate that issue once and for all.
When Burger King sell more Hamburgers than McDonald’s the staff of McDonald’s don’t gun down or stab their rivals and neither do the staff of weed shops in the U.S.A. Similarly, drug gangs do not mount advertising campaigns to outdo their competitors or resort to smears! Drug gangs arm themselves and then brutally fight it out on city streets for dominance, leaving a trail of corpses and grief in their wake. A large percentage of the violent crime that occurs in the U.K. the U.S. and anywhere in the developed world is down to drugs one way or another. The gangs offing each other in record numbers or the addicts resorting to desperate measures in order to get a fix.
The violence we see on our televisions or news websites completely pales in comparison to what is going on in Latin America, Mexico especially. The drug of choice for the masses is Cocaine, an expensive substance when compared to other drugs and incredibly lucrative for those willing to traffick large quantities to America and Europe. Incredibly lucrative commodities are fought over with bitter intensity and the war for domination taking place daily between the many Mexican cartels is on a level, if not exceeding the Syrian civil war! In Mexican towns and cities, minutes from the U.S. border there are beheadings and mass graves that are hardly ever newsworthy events on the U.S. networks.
A proper legal trade in drugs takes away the control from the traffickers, decriminalises hundreds of millions of users that under today’s draconian laws face possible jail time and adds millions to the government’s available budget through added tax revenue. Why we are not steering our drug laws in this direction is beyond belief and very disappointing. The U.S. which at one point took a much tougher stance on drugs than we in the U.K. did is now striding more progressively forwards while we trail in the dark ages. It is going to take a brave politician to change any of our antiquated drug laws and glancing at our house of Parliament I don’t see any candidates. Hopefully one will rise soon and begin to change the world for the better.
The testimonies that have helped me to form this opinion are that of journalist Johann Hari and former undercover police officer Peter Bleksley. Check out their work and if it doesn’t change your mind it will make you see the war on drugs in a different light.
I live in hope.