Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

The Myth Peddlars – the war on drugs has failed

Though the US government had been fighting against the use of drugs for almost a century, the present “war on drugs” can be dated back to 1973 when President Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)  to announce “an all-out global war on the drug menace.” Since his announcement drug crime and drug consumption have spiralled.

Back in the 1960’s the odd night on the puff would result in little worse than waking up to an LP stuck in a groove. One bright spark went as far as to remark: “The biggest danger from smoking drugs is getting arrested.” Even then, though smoking cannabis had been illegal in Britain since 1928, the chances of the occasional toker getting caught were very slim. And then the war on drugs came along.

Despite the fact heavy drinking has alway created far more problems for society than smoking hashish or weed, drinking alcohol has been legal in the UK since time immemorial. The picture has been much the same in most of the US, apart from being completely banned from 1920 to 1933 during the brief period known as the prohibition. As the thirteen year war against alcohol did little more than trigger a spectacular rise in the criminal activities of the mafia, leading to prohibition being deemed a failure in 1933, one might have thought the lesson had been learned, but no. Oddly enough, consumption of marijuana didn’t become illegal in all states of the union until the 1940s. Read more

Copyright © 2011, 2012 Bryan Hemming               Conil

2 comments on “The Myth Peddlars – the war on drugs has failed

  1. Malcolm Kyle
    February 17, 2012

    Great page Bryan!

    I’ll leave this for future visitors, if I may:

    In addition to the many societal costs of prohibition, it has a long history of driving the spread of harder or more dangerous drugs.

    * Poppies to morphine to heroine to krokodil
    * Coca to cocaine to crack
    * Ephedra to ephedrine to speed to methamphetamine
    * Marijuana to skunk to dangerous synthetic concoctions such as ‘spice’ or ‘bath salts’
    * Mushrooms to ecstasy to 2CB/designers

    At every step the reasons for the rise in popularity of the new form of the drug are one or more of the following:

    * It may easier to smuggle.
    * It may be more addictive, thus compelling the buyer to return more frequently.
    * It may be cheaper to produce therefore yielding more profit.
    * Like a game of “whack a mole” a shutdown of producers in one area will mean business opportunities for another set of producers with a similar product.

    Prohibition’s distortion of the immutable laws of ‘supply and demand’ subsidizes organized crime, foreign terrorists, corrupt cops & politicians and feeds the prejudices of self-appointed culture warriors. So called Tough-On-Drugs politicians have happily built careers on confusing drug prohibition’s horrendous collateral damage with the substances that they claim to be fighting, while the big losers in this battle are everybody else, especially taxpayers.

    How come so many of us have been deluded into believing that big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices?

    Imagine if we were to chop down every single tree on the planet as a response to our failure to prevent tree-climbing accidents. That’s what our misguided drug policy looks like. Isn’t it time we all stood up and told the government we’re tired of being beaten and jailed so that pharmaceutical companies can poison and kill us for obscene profits?

    Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!


    • Bryan Hemming
      February 20, 2012

      Thanks for posting your points, Malcolm.

      I posted an interesting link to a Daily Mail article by David Williams exposing yet another myth in the war on drugs.

      Despite Tony Blair’s claim that one of the main reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan was to wipe out cultivation of opium, production has risen from 185 tons at the beginning of the war in 2001 to a staggering 5,800 tons a year in 2011.

      Not only that, as well as costing the lives of thousands of Afghans, almost 400 British soldiers have been killed and many more injured. The financial costs amount to 18 billion quid. A whacking 90% of heroin sold on British streets originates from Afghani opium poppies.

      Blair still has no regrets. I doubt whether the families of those killed and injured in the war, or those whose sons and daughters have become addicted to heroin will feel quite the same way.

      Read the full article here


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