Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Selected MSM reports on the war on drugs


A subjective selection of press articles on drugs and the war against drugs (also click onto The Myth Peddlars – the war on drugs has failed)

Every week new articles on drugs are published calling for legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis. Many professionals now see a good case for even harder drugs to be controlled and distibuted. Articles on how big pharma companies are exploiting patients by developing drugs that are physically or psychologically addictive are also being published. In the pursuit of profit, they seem to think nothing of killing and maiming people with their products. Many articles describe the death and destruction not legalising drugs has brought to thousands of communities throughout the world. I will be linking to as many as I come across. Believe me, I’m not exactly obsessed by the subject so there are many more stories out there than there are links here.

The Independent 16th July 2014. In an article written by Kashmira Gander: Cannabis-based drug to be offered to NHS Wales patients with multiple sclerosis Wales becomes the first nation within in the fragmenting union of the United Kingdom to recognise cannabis is not just fun, but actually has medical benefits. it has long been known that cannabis gives some relief to sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis among a large variety of illnesses. That cannabis, which also offers relaxation and escape to many people, without posing a significant risk to society, is regarded as so dangerous by our rulers to warrant the presence of heavily-armed officers of the state to control, seems incredibly perverse coming from a society that succeeds making the road to alcoholism seem sexy.

The Guardian 23rd June 2014 While some American states begin to understand the immensity of the failure of the war on drugs, in the UK the refusal to accept reality goes on claiming lives. In The war on drugs killed my daughter Mark Townsend reports on the terrible ordeal faced by Anne-Marie Cockburn following the death of her 15-year-old daughter, Martha Fernback, from an MDMA overdose, which could have been prevented if the drug had been tested for strength. Anne-Marie Cockburn has started a campaign for the legalisation of drugs and written a book entitled 5,742 Days, the exact number of days Martha Fernback lived.

The Guardian 1st April 2014  While many countries progress with drug control policies the British government goes backwards handing the khat business to criminal gangs on a plate. In There’s simply no case for banning khat Julian Huppert argues that the proposed ban on the natural stimulant will just be a gift to a drug barons.

The Guardian 21st February 2014 Mexico City is the latest place to see through the nonsense led by the US over the issue of marijuana. Mexico City legislators move to relax cannabis laws Jo Tuckman reports from Mexico City.

The Independent 10th February 2014 While othe countries move forward the LibDem Deputy Prime Minister of Britain  suggested the drug issue should be debated instead of calling for decriminalisation and regulation. Too little, too late, and at a time his popularity is swiftly waning. Ian Birreli writes: Two cheers for Nick Clegg – at least he’s talking about drugs.

The Guardian 7th February 2014 Russell Brand write on the tragic and avoidable death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from spiked heroin in Philip Seymour Hoffman  is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws

The Independent 3rd February 2014 Things are moving incredibly fast. The mayors of 35 cities in Holland are seeking permission to cultivate cannabis in an attempt to take the business out of the hands of criminal gangs. Charlotte McDonald Gibson reports in Why Dutch mayors want to cultivate cannabis.

The Independent 19th January 2014  The seachange on thinking against marijuana is happening quicker than I could’ve possibly hoped or imagined with President Obama announcing he regards the drug no more harmful than cigarettes or tobacco. However, he did not got so far as to tell the full truth and admit that it is less harmful. Adam Withnall reports in: Barack Obama says: marijuana is ‘no more dangerous than alcohol’ and users should not be jailed. Still, we should be thankful for small mercies. Now, when will the war against bankers begin?

The Independent 17th January 2014 As democracy falls apart in Mexico’s state of Micoahan armed militias are taking over the role of the police and piliticians they regard as having been corrupte by the drug group known as the Knights Templar. Paul Imison reports in Mexico’s last line of defence: The militia taking on the country’s drug cartels… and the police officers protecting them

RINF  14th December 2013 The undemocratic United Nations, which was basically an organisation desigen to maintain peace in the world, seems to be promoting war these days. Now they turn on Uruguay in an attempt to undermine Uruguayan law and the democratically elected president of the country, José Mujica, by announcing the legalisation of marijuana by Uruguay to be illegal. Mick Meaney’s RINF writes: UN Claims UruguayNot Allowed to End Marijuana Prohibition. Wonder why it picked on small, unoffesive Uruaguay when Portugal and Czech Republic have legalised all drugs and states in the US are also starting to see the War on Drugs has failed. Many other countries have also relaxed their laws on marijuana. The UN has some explaining to do, as it is supposed to represent nations, and the rights of the citizens of those nations, not rule them.

The Guardian 13th December 2013 To read the UN’s reaction to Uruguay’s new law leading towards a sensible and controlled legalisation of marijuana it might be predicted the country is about to unleash death and destruction on a massive scale amongst its citizens. Simon Jenkins puts the move into perspective with: Heroic Uruguay deserves a Nobel peace prize for legalising marijuana.

The Independent 4th December 2013 It feels great to be able to start linking to good news as it finally looks as thought the failure of war on drugs is starting to be recognised by some US states. Is cannabis culture finally going mainstream? As Colorado welcomes legal marijuana, The Denver Post has appointed a ‘weed editor‘ Tim Walker reports.

The Guardian 19th November 2013 With my small readership I can’t really claim any credit, but at last changes are beginning to happen. Uruguay has begun to adopt measures I describe in this article for the legalisation and control of marijuana distribution to combat drug crime. Jonathan Watts reports from Montivideo in Uruguay’s likely cannabis law could set tone for war in drugs in Latin America.

The Guardian 13th November 2013 Continuing failure doesn’t teach our governments a thing. Afghanistan’s poppy farmers plant record opium crop, UN report says Emma Graham-Harrison reports from Kabul.

The Guardian 1st November 2013 Evidence from Martin Power that the war on drugs helps to produce more new drugs than it controls. Drugs unlimited: how I created my very own legal high.

The Independent 24th October 2013 Unlike their government, and other governements throughout the world, more than half the population of the US see sense at last. Support for legalising marijuana reaches an all-time high in the US– A report by David Usborne.

The Guardian October 22nd 2013. Another declaration of peace, as the failure of the war on drugs is recognised. In a report entitled: Uruguay to sell legal marijuana for $1 a gram Associated Press in Montevideo describes President José Mujica’s plan to legalise marijuana with government-controlled sales.

The Independent October 20th 2013 At least 26,000 people missing in Mexico as a result of the drug wars. Imagine what the US or British governments would do if 26,000 of their citizens went missing as a result of criminal activity. Nina Lakhani writes: The disappeared: At least 26,000 people have gone missing in Mexico’s drugs wars

Business Insider In a startling allegation made in the business magazine on September 21st 2013 The Mexican Cartel Kingpin that supplies 80% Of The Drugs Flooding Chicago works with the US government. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been named as a government informant and “given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago.”
Read more:

The Independent October 7th 2013 In 1995 the US did not publish a World Health Organisation report concluding there were ‘no negative effects’ on health from the use of coca leaves. Far from it, the beneficial effects of coca leaves in relieving have been widely known for centuries. Read Jonathan Brown’s:  Lifting ban on cocaine plant can help millions of lives, MPs told

The Observer September 15th 2013 Please keep up there at the back. In Legal cannabis market would be worth  £1.25bn a year to government James Doward writes on a study stating the obvious, and something I’ve been saying for years.

The Observer, September 1st 2013  Mexico’s war on drugs is one big lie. A must read by Ed Vulliamy on the publication of Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers by Mexican journalist and writer, Annabel Hernandez, who live under constant threat from the Mexican drug cartels for her brave stance against corruption.

The Observer September 1st 2013 Yet more depressing evidence the war on drugs has done nothing stemmed the appetite for drugs and their availability in the UK, but could be said to have increased both. ‘Addict’ Britain is worldwide hub for sales of legal highs by Mark Townsend

The Guardian August 13 2013 They can’t admit they’ve failed completely but smal changes are happening. In Eric Holder’s new reforms aimed at curbing prison populationwe learn from Dan Roberts and Karen McVeigh that minor drug dealers maybe spared mandatory minimum sentences that have locked up many for ten years or more. How long will it take before we get an admission of complete failure?

The Independent August 1 2013. Los Reyes : the town that dared stand up to Meixco;’s drug cartels. An Independent story by Paul Imison only adds to previous story in The Garidan of a week ago. Now we hearof the  yellow-bellied cowardice shown by the criminals and authorities in Michoacan where unarmed mothers and their babies were mown down in cold blood by masked men while brave politicians and  police officers stood by as spectators to the bloodfest. Obama’s priority? Arrest Edward Snowden. Digusting! It gets harder and harder to compile this list.

The Guardian July 24th 2013 Associated Press reports Mexico violence eaves 22 dead in Michoacan at least 15 police officers were wounded too in a planned ambush on police patrols

The Independent July 16th 2013 The who’s who of the murdreous drug wars I sometimes think it would be far more honorable to devote a whole newspaper to a list of the hundreds of thousands of innocnet men, women, children and babies who have been slaughtered as a result of the war on drugs, listing in what horrible circumstances they were murdered. Articles like this one by Heather Saul can seem like glorifications.

The Independent July 16th 2013 There are many who will see the capture of Mexico Zetas drug leader Miguel Angle Trevino captured in car raid as a victory in the war  against drugs. Yet, tor the families of the hundreds, if not thousand os his victims, it will be but a pyrrhic victory. They know his capture won’t bring back their loved ones, and they also know they won’t be able to sleep any safer in their beds at night, as someone will have already taken his place.

The Guardian July 16th 2013 A report on the little-known heroin crisis in Puerto Rico:Puerto Rico’s ignored public health crisis: “I’ve lost a lot of friends to drugs” by Alexander Hotz and Kristofer Rios

The Guardian June 15th 2013 Signs some are beginning to realise decrimimalising drugs could actually be of help to medical research, In At last, the edificen drugs prohibition is beginning to crumble Amanda Feilding of The Beckly Foundation discusses the  Psychedelic Science Conference a recent three day forum held in San Francisco.

The Independent June 13th 2013. Professor Nutt, A British scientist, was basically sacked from by thte British government for not saying what they wanted him to on drugs. In “The worse case of scientific censorship sincethe Catholic Church banned the works of Galileo”: Scientists call for drugs to be legalised to allow proper study of their properties. Charlie Cooper discusses a new paper published by the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

The Guardian May 25th 2013  In The whole joint is a deeply encoded temple of hegemonic power British comedian, Russell Brand, introduces Caroline Lucas MP is trying to get British parliament to look at drugs policy to see if it working by encouraging as many people as possible to sign a petition

The Observer May 19th 2013 Colorado’s budding industry by Jenny Kleeman. At least there is some good news. The problem will be the same type of drug tourism Holland has suffered. Acting alone will not solve the problem. On the other hand, an end to prohibition has to start somewhere.

The Observer May 19th 2013 Latin American nations are showing their growing impatience with the complete failure of the war on drugs. It is their countries that have paid much of the price for the US’s insatiable demand for drugs. Jamie Doward reports on the Review by Organisation of American States  in Western leaders study ‘gamechanging’ report on global drugs trade. With too many US agencies in the war involved in the war on drugs I fear the position will not change.

The Guardian May 5th 2013 One of many real battles against drugs is being fought by those who have to suffer addicts injecting drugs in theit neighbourboods and the crimes that ensue from drugs being illegal. In Copenhagen a scheme to get drug use off the streets is having some success. Inside Denmark’s ‘fixing rooms’, where nurses watch while addicts inject in safety A report from Copenhagen by Daniel Boffey.

The Guardian April 15th 2013 How many failures will it take before those responsible for the death and destruction admit they were wrong? Emma Graham/Harrison reports from Kabul: Afghanistan: high expectations of record opium crop

The Independent April 10th 2013 Shock! Horror! Desptie it having been common knowledge for years government ministers, police chiefs amd military chiefs and terrorists of many nation have been working together to smuggle and illegal arms and drugs, this article acts as though it’s a bit of a surprise. Robert Cornwell writes: West African leader linked to $400m cocaine smuggling ring

The Independent April 7th 2013 Insane rules block medical trial of fungus Steve Connor reports on drugs companies’ lethargy whe it comes to finding more natural ways to alleviate depression.

The Guardian April 4th 2013 In ‘They stole our dreams’: blogger reveals cost of reporting Mexico’s drug wars Roy Carroll writes about a brave anonymous blogger in Mexico exposing the horrors of the the drugs wars. Lucy, as she calls herself, and her colleague on Blog de Narco have written a book about their own struggle to fight the narcos: Dying for the Truth: Undercover Inside the Mexican Drug War by the Fugitive Reporters of Blog del Narco

The Huffington Post 31st March 2013 Not exactly a startlingly new theory, more an attempt to sell a book, I feel. Nevertheless, Ryan Grim’s piece: Ron Paul Had accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers is well worth a read for the new facts it presents to back the theory.

The Guardian 31th March 2013  In his film The House I Live In (trailer) Eugene Jarecki produces some interesting evidence that legislation against drugs was initially inspired by racism against Chinese immgrants flocking to California. Andrew Anthiny discusses this with Jarecki and visits a prison to talk to a couple of the inmates in Eugene Jarecki an the the campaign to end Americ’s war on drugs.

The Independent from 12 September 2011, but re-published 20th March 2013, bu I ususally avoid articles, which create positive images about any drugs, because this article isn’t intended to encourage people to take drugs, or not to take drugs, it is basically trying to say that the war on drugs has achieved the very opposite of it stated objectives and needs a complete rethink. Having made that clear, I still couldn’t help including a link to this article by Matt Blake Single magic mushroom can ‘change personality’. For the better, it seems.

The Guardian 9th March 2013 Comedian, Russell Brand, writes a superb and touching piece on his own addiction to alcohol and drugs with none of the protronising attitude I have come to expect from many reformed addicts and alcoholics: Russell Brand: My life without drugs

The Telegraph 24th February 2013 Ways of laundering drug money are many and often surprising as Claire Duffin reports from Skaryszew, Poland, in Horse meat: trade is a ‘front for laundering money’

The Independent 16th February 2013 You might suppose the US would start to join up the big dots. Tim Walker reports on Chicago’s rising crime and murder rate tracing the fault back to Mexico in Chicago has a new Publc Enemy No 1

The Independent 4th February 2013 Latin American drug gangs, corrupt police and public officals tear at the very fabric of society, ripping apart families and communities. From Mexico City, Paul Imisin shows how the war on drugs is claiming far more victims than the drugs themselves: The freight train that runs to the heart of Mexico’s ‘Drugs War’: Riding ‘La Bestia’ to freedom or death

LA Times 20th January 2013 The Feds flex muscle in taking the war against drugs to responsible growers in Mendocino County California. Joe Monzingo reports for LA Times: Mendocino County spars with feds over conflicting marijuana laws

The Observer 20th January 2013 Another Latin American leader tells the West to call off the war on drugs. Jamie Doward reports how Otto Pérez Molina has said regulated markets must be introduced Call of war on drugs, leader of Guatemala tells the West

Information Clearing House 21st December 2012 In a brilliant, hard-hitting, piece on the double-standards and hypocrisy employed by governments dealing with Banks involved in drug money laundering, Matt Taibbi exposes the war against drugs for the gigantic con it is: Proof the Drug War is a Joke

The Guardian December 16th 2012 Fidel Cano Correa reveals the hypocrisy of David Cameron and terrible effects the war on drugs has had on both his family and his country in: In Colombia; David Cameron’s stance on drugs looks cynical.

The Independent December 10th 2012 In another pathetic ‘nanny knows best’ decision by the Tory government, Cameron and his gang listen only to their own advice in: Government will not change drugs policy despite critical report by Paul Peachey

LA Times December 1st 2012 Tracy Wilkinson tells a particualarly sad story: Environmental activist and her son slain in Mexico

The Independent December 1st 2012 Another sad story, another avoidable statistic. Mexico: More than 25,000 people disappear in six years is reported by William Booth.

LA Times November 28th 2012 In an appalling article, which could be regarded as a mouthpiece  for US propaganda, Tracy Wilkinson, Richard Fausset and Brian Bennett make it sound as though the war on drugs in Mexico has turned a corner. It hasn’t. During  the so-called partnership with the US under Calderon it is estimated 100,000 Mexicans were killedUS-Mexico drug was partnership under Calderon broke new ground.

The Guardian November 11th 2012  As US states legalise marijuana, is this the end of the drugs war? As Eugene Jarecki takes the opportunity to plug his documentary The house I live in we are told little new but to watch it.

The Independent October 18th 2012 A real mess here, the drug laws have created a situation government can only flap about. Neil Morris writes: Government’s drug watchdog urges a ban on ‘legal highs’ marketed as alternatives to cannabis and ketamine

The Guardian October 17th 2012 This week saw the release of another Runciman report on drugs. It’s the second time in 12 years lady Runciman has graced us with her views on what most of us have known for years. I can think of better ways of spending public funds. Simon Jenkins gives his take on the subject in It’s  drugs politics, not drugs policy that needs an inquiry.

The Independent October 16th 20012 Cancar sufferer Erika Rex describes how the hallucinogenic drug, psilocybin helped her in My magical mystery cure 

The Guardian October 15th 20012 Apparently it takes a committee six years to discover less than I can write about in hours. Decriminalise drug use, sayexperts after six-year study Alan Travis brings us news of yet another report the government will ignore.

The Guardian October 14th 20012 Not a week goes by without news of more deaths occurring as a direct result of the war on drugs in Mexico’s drug cartels target journalists in brutal killing spree Ed Villiamy reports from Xalapa on the everyday risks of working as a journalist in Mexico.

The Guardian October 9th 2012 William Allen describes how narcotraffickers, among other criminal organisations, are thratening the planet Drug gangs threaten Mayan reserve.

The Independent September 24th 2012 Marseille: Europe’s most dangerous city to be young  John Lichfield reports on drug link murders in the South of France.

The Independent September 15th 2012 In a ‘blame the plants not the law’ piece Jonathan Brown and Paul Peachey allow police sources to claim drug growers are being treated too leninetly by the courts. As a result are increasingly willing to risk being shot by gangs as an alternative  25 plants, £40,000 of income: home-grown cannabis blamed for new criminal turf war. Is it just me who finds this ridiculous?

The Guardian September 15th 2012  Jamie Doward paints a new slant to the extent of the failure of the war against drugs in Has Britain’s war on drugs led to more executions in Iran?

The Independent September 14th 2012. Nick Goodway exposes yet another myth perpetuated by pharma compnies who profit hansomely from outdated and unworkable legislation against the use of cannabis Cannabis component in epilapsy drug

The Independent September 11th 2012 Micheal Day reveals even more depressing evidence the war on drugs is failing spectacularly in After years of calm, Mob war returns to Naples

The Guardian September 1 2012 In the first article in a day of drug news John Hooper reports from Rome:   Exiled Italian victim of  ‘Ndrangheta defies the Calabria mobsters

The Guardian September 1 20012 Though the connection may not be immediately apparent Mexican journalist, Lydia Cacho, does mention a link between drug-dealing gangs and enforced prostitution in this imterview with  Emine Saner: Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho: ‘I don’t scare easily’. In the same edition of the Guardian: Mexico’s war on drugs. An assessment of the war on drugs through stories published in the paper over the last five years.

The Independent July !3th 2012 Jeremy Laurance profiles Matt Bowden: The drugs lord who’s strictly legal. Matt Bowden, who has made a fortune selling legal highs, calls for drug controls more in line with the laws on the consumption of alcohol.

The Guardian July 25th 2012 In an article by Alan Travis we can see that youngsters are not always drawn to drugs despite how freely they have become available since the war on drugs began: Drug taking among 16- to 24-year-olds at lowest level since 1996

The Independent July 10th 2012 On the anniversary of the tragic death of his daughter Amy Mitch Winehouse talks to Patrick Strudwick Mitch Winehouse: ‘I wish it could’ve been me that died, not Amy…’

The Independent June 22nd 2012 Uruguay sees sense in stopping the US dictate their failed policy on drugs to the rest of the world. Simeon Tegel writes: Nationalisation: Uruguay’s solution to its drug problem

The Guardian May 14th 2012 It’s turning into an incredibly bloody fortmight in Mexico Associated Press reports: Mexican authorities find 49 bodies dumped on nothern highway

The Guardian May 9th 2012 It becomes very depressing to have to post these articles on so many deaths in Mexico due to the war on drugs. It must be remembered they are only the more spectacular deaths reported in the Western media. From Associated Press: Mexican police discover at least 15 dismembered bodies near Guadalajara

The Independent May 5th 2012 Stories of Mexican drug cartels war on journalists are emerging with depressing regularity. Mark Stevenson and E Eduardo Castillo report Fear spreads as Mexican journalists mourned

The Guardian May 5th 2012 Associated Press reports Bodies hung from bridge as 23 more die in Mexico drug war Speaks for itself.

The Guardian May 4th 2012 Four more journalists murdered in Veracruz, Mexico signalling the utter failure of Felipe Cadaron’s war  against drugs and the Mexican cartels. Jo Tuckman reports from Mexico City Four Mexican journalists murdered in last week 

The Independent May 2nd 2012 Homegrown. The second Indie article in a week on this subject is rather spoiled by the inclusion of a totally irrelevant piece on two deaths caused by a drug totally unrelated to cannabis. Deaths related to alcohol could have been mentioned just as easily, or deaths related to legally prescribed drugs. Bad and irresposible journalism. Here’s the link to Cannabis: Britain’s growth industry by Jerome Taylot and Paul Peachey. The Guardian May 1st If we need any more evidence the war on drugs isn’t working surely this tragic report from Reuters provides it: Number of US newborns with drug withdrawal triples

The Guardian April 30th 2012 Cannabis production booming in Britain, say police Alan Travis, home affairs editor, talks about homegrown.

The Independent April 30th 2012 A slightly different take on same story reported in The Guardian, which I prefer.  In this, the boys in blue, way behind public sentiment as usual, attack the people being attacked by the crisis. Wesley Johnson reports on the greatest danger posed by growing cannabis to make a living in Over 20 cannabis farms found by police every dayApril 30th 2012

NationofChange April 30th 2012 Coincidentally having submitted The Myth Peddlars to NationofChange last October I wasn’t so happy to see the supposedly left-wing site do one themselves tackling exactly the same subjects, albeit from a slightly differently and less comprehensive stance. I was told I would be contacted very shortly. I’m still waiting. So, you´re just another bunch of journos nicking stuff, eh? Anyway, for what it’s worth John Benson reports Hundreds of Economists Agree Marijuana Legalization Could Save U.S Taxpayers $13.7 Billion Per Year

The Independent April 27th 2012  A step backward for the Netherlands with a new court ruling. Rob Williams reports in Cannabis tourism up in smoke? Judge backs foreigner café ban

The Guardian April 11th 2012 Right-wing hawk, neocon and one of the chief architects of the crisis we’re in, Paul Wolfowitz, likes to hold Colombia up as a shining example of how the war on drugs is showing signs of success. Apparently things aren’t quite so rosy on the ground, as Toby Muse reports from the ground in Medellín  New drug gang wars blow Colombian city’s revival apart

The Independent April 11th 2012 Here’s a very amusing, and incredibly relevant, article by Alasdair Fotheringham, which shows how drugs can help the economy Spanish town votes to stop finances going to pot

The Guardian April 8th 2012 Difficult to know what to make of this piece entitled Tiny Mexican paper fights drug taboo by Jo Tuckman in Caluicán Mexico. Seems as though Rió Doce, the newspaper involved, has become embedded with the cartels. It may report some of the truth in a place where reporting anything on the cartels is extremely dangerous, but missing out the whole truth sometimes amounts to a lie.

The Guardian April 8th 2012 ‘War on Drugs’ has failed say Latin American leaders but just try telling that to US leaders. Jamie Doward reports on a watershed summit to be held in Cartagena, Colombia that will admit prohibition has failed, and call for more nuanced and liberalised tactics.

The Independent April 5th 2012 Despite all the negative propaganda over the decades, seems smoking spliff might not kill you after all.  In One foot in the rave: middle-age drug use rising Jeremy Laurance discovers yet another set of experts have no idea what they’re talking about.

NationofChange March 19th 2012 Ethan A Huff reveals it isn’t only drug barons making huge amounts of money out of the conitnuing prohibition of drugs. Lobbyists and police agencies also have their dirty fingers in the till: Exposed: Lobbyist Who Helped Kill California Pot Legalization Is Getting Rich Off Drug War

The Guardian March 16th 2012 Sarah Boseley writes: Recreational drug users take medicines to control side effects, survey finds. Yet another article pointing out the dangers of taking ‘legal’ – or prescription – drugs, which are often more addictive, and can do far more harm than illegal drugs.

The Independent March 13th 2012 Steve O’Connor reveals governmental hypocrisy over tobacco- one of the biggest killers around – in comparison with their stance on other addictive substances in: The PM, his pro-smoking aide and a dirty war over cigarette packaging.

The Independent March 1st 2012 The prohibition of drugs has been an abject failure with a devastating human cost James Bloodworth blogs on the drug wars.

The Guardian February 20th 2012 Mexico drug gang warfare leaves 44 dead in prison near Monterrey Another story of slaughter amongst Mexican drug gangs reported by Jo Tuckman. Though many may think they deserve what they get, there are many more victims of gang violence than just gang members.

Daily Mail February 17th 2012 Afghan drug war debacle: Blair said smashing opium trade was a major reason to invade but 10 years on heroin production is up from 185 tons a year to 5,800 David Williams reports on another spectacular failure in the war on drugs.

The Independent February 16th 2012 Guatemalan Leader: the only way to beat gangs is to legalise drugs Otto Perez Molin, president of Guatemala, wants drugs to be legalised. Guy Adams reports.

The Guardian February 14th 2012   Tony Bennett calls for drug legalisation following Whitney Houston’s death. The widely-respected eighty-five- year-old singer spoke out at pre-Grammy awards party calling for an end to repressive drug laws that claim more victims than the drugs themselves. According to a report by Sean Michaels he called for celebrities to commit themselves to getting even present laws on hard drug overturned.

The Guardian December 30th 2011 David Batty reports on the growing dependence on antidepressants due to insecurity brought on by the financial crisis in Antidepressant use in England soars

The Guardian December 7th 2011 Jo Tuckman, Paddy Allen and Lisa Foreman colbaborate to produce: Mexico Drug Wars – an interactive timelinewhich consists of a map of Mexico showing the main areas of the ‘war on drugs’ over the ten years from 2001 to 2011. The startling figures show how much of an abysmal failure yet another US war has been.

The Guardian Decenber 9th 2011Article on Mexican drug cartels buying arms in US to smuggle across the border- How Mexico’s drug cartels profit from flow of guns across the border

CNNMoney Another video aired by CNN featuring Richard Branson advocating the legalisation of drugs Richard Branson’s war on drugs Try to skip the ad

The Independent 14 November 2011: Nina Lakhan writes a two-part special report on the double standards and racism practised by global pharma Without consent: how drugs companies exploit Indian ‘guinea pigs’

The Independent 15 November 2011: In the  second part of her special report, Nina Lakhani exposes how survivors of India’s Bhopal were exploited by big pharma From tragedy to travesty: Drugs tested on survivors of Bhopal

The Financial Times 11 November 2011: An article reporting the death of José Francisco Blake Mora, Mexico’s interior minister. Though drug cartels have yet to be linked to the killing, this story has some interesting links: Top Mexican minister dies in helicopter crash

The Guardian 9 November 2011: Mexican drug wars beset by systematic torture and killings, report finds

Alternet 16 July 2010: Zach Carter on banks being propped up by drug profits Wall Street is laundering Drug Money and Getting Away with It The Myth Peddlars – how the war on drugs has failed was first published in the Daily Sketcherin 2009. This is an updated version.

LA Times

The Los Angeles Times has compiled a list of its articles on the drug wars in Mexico. Mexico Under Siege – The drig war at our doorstep  contains links to all stories on the war on drugs in Mexico published by the newspaper since June 3rd 2008, and is being constantly updated.

Blogs and websites on drug legalisation and facts on the reasons for outlawing drugs in the first place

Drug by Pete Guither Transform Drug Policy Schaffer Library  of Drug Policy Intelligence² Civil Liberties Count the Costs / 50 Years of the War on Drugs

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

  1. Tim Chavez

    January 20, 2013


    Thanks for your work with this blog. What I have read previously piecemeal and thought was the case, I can now look at your research and back it up. I work with a festival in Columbus, OH and we have workshops. “The War on the People for Drug Prohibition” will certainly be on the agenda.


    • Bryan Hemming

      January 20, 2013


      It´s very encouraging to receive input. I´d really love readers to help with any relevant links. At some point I intend to put the long list of links to newspapers on a separate page in the hope it might attract more comments. With all its far-reaching implications this is one of the most important issues facing the world today. Thanks for your comment.


  2. Dog Kennel New York

    July 17, 2013


    I for all time emailed this web site post page to all my contacts,
    because if like to read it next my friends will too.


    • Bryan Hemming

      July 17, 2013


      That´s great! The next thing I am thnking of doing is having a separate page for many more media links to articles on the war on drugs and the problems it has caused and is causing. It´s difficult to do by myself with so many other projects I am involved in and no finances to support it.

      The media information should come from reliable sources, as much as possible, as one false story can cast doubt on the whole project. L:nks to first hand street stories are particualrly welcome.

      I am also interested in people´s own experiences with drugs as users, sellers or people with drug users in their families or as close friends. Obviously, those people´s identities will be protected. by the use of other names.

      Articles submitted will also be considered for publication.

      But that´s quite some work on it´s own and may take some time to put into place.

      Thanks so much for your support.



  3. Wesley Coll

    October 30, 2013


    Thanks so much for stopping by at Colltales, Bryan. Also for the very insightful comments. Great blog you have in here; will come back. All the best. Wesley


  4. jlittler

    January 2, 2014


    That is a good synopsis of the issue of illegal drugs and the logical advantages of legalising them.


    • Bryan Hemming

      January 3, 2014


      Thanks for the comment. Hope we see more drug sense in the coming year.


  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    January 25, 2014


    Don’t you just love Enforcement Agencies? Moral enforcement, behavioural enforcement…

    I hadn’t thought of it, but yes, do understand that since his comment drug use & crime have spiralled. Wow. Hindsight.

    Like the comment about being arrested the most dangerous thing.

    I had not realised police chiefs had spoken for decriminalisation. And every little detail you say re alcohol: SO true. THIS MORNING I read a news item where someone in the UK “normally of good character”, drunk, saw a man tying his shoe lace, ran up and kicked his head like it was a football, the man flying back, landing prostrate – head to concrete. Alcohol. Normally good character. Got 4 months good behaviour bond. FOUL.

    Bryan, this is an astonishingly good quality article. I haven’t read all the links, just some (would take a day!).

    What you said re dirty money & casinos, you know, this week I was approached by about some concept where I invest $10K for the OPPORTUNITY to make the money that the bookmakers are making, but thing is, I just can’t get my head around how I make money by giving it to them – why do they need my input, when they’re doing fine without me? I don’t understand it at all. Greed abound. Even to the great great detriment of other human beings.


  6. Bryan Hemming

    January 25, 2014


    Thanks for your great comments, Noeleen. Much of my writing – even my fiction – is intended to make people look at our world from a different perspective. I get a great deal of satisfaction whenever I manage to achieve that.

    This article has taken a great deal of research and time, and it is still growing with links to relevant articles as well as new editing.

    Looked at the link you provided and it seems like yet another scam.

    Unfortunately, the war against corporate crime has yet to begin, even though massive fraud by big banks is becoming the biggest threat to democracy we have ever seen.


  7. PatrickOlila

    January 26, 2014


    Great synopses, completely agree prohibition is complimentary in towards the value of black markets – glad to see people on wordpress in support of legalization. We can expect a boast on Colorado’s tourism sector this year… Hope to see some of you guys there this summer.


    • Bryan Hemming

      January 26, 2014


      Thanks, Patrick. The war on drugs has reached the stage where dramatic changes can be expected in a very short space of time. I reckon you’re right, Colorado’s going to be the place to party this summer, but drugs tourism can have extremely negative consequences.

      We really need people to be able to enjoy themselves in the way they choose, that doesn’t harm others, and without fear of arrest and imprisonment all year round, not just on vacation. I think most tokers want to be free to consume cannabis in their own homes, in their own towns.


  8. evelyneholingue

    February 1, 2014


    Thank you for this extremely well researched and documented post. Agree with your points, especially the one about the number of deaths on the road in comparison of overdoses.


    • Bryan Hemming

      February 1, 2014


      Thanks for your input, Evelyne. An article like this does take up a lot of time, especially as I constantly try to update it with new information.

      The winds of change seem to be blowing at last. With a little bit of luck, and a lot of common sense, it will have become obsolete in a decade or so.


  9. Buy Lax’aire Online

    February 19, 2014


    wonderful post and I like it.

    Thanks for nice points.


  10. Caspar

    June 28, 2014


    Thank you for your effort!
    Seeing respected public figures perpetrating the “war on drugs” gives me physical pain and instills a degree of anger and destructive phantasies in me that have me get scared of myself, startled in face of my emotional reaction. If anything cools me down it is especially the experience that I am not alone, and there are others too, pursuing a rational approach towards psychotropic substances.

    There is something I do not fully agree with, regarding cannabis and “schizophrenia”:
    One of the problems with cannabis and “schizophrenia” is that – especially in teenagers, adolescents and early adults – sometimes apparently healthy individuals with no psychiatric history consume cannabis and subsequently do not get the regular high but instead they become psychotic. This risk of triggering psychotic episodes increases with dosage of THC. A very small percentage of these will even experience recurring psychotic episodes after merely a single exposure to cannabis. (Such a condition with recurring psychotic episodes might then be called schizophrenia, or e.g. schizophreniforme psychosis).

    You write: “The answer is for schizophrenics to be advised of the dangers.”
    That’s certainly helpful for self-aware/diagnosed schizophrenics, but it does not address those (few) that are apparently healthy.

    Admittedly, much more common is the development of such a (possibly chronic) psychosis after a prolonged time of heavy use of cannabis.

    I believe consumption of psychotropic substances will always carry some risk. To mitigate, the general rule to only very slowly increase the dosage should be emphasized. In relation I recently read that in Colorado (and Washington?) there is a significant increase in bad experiences after ingestion of too large doses of cannabis-cookies, -candy-bars, and other ingestable cannabis products. At least some of these products seem to not carry sufficient dosing information, and since the effect takes a long time to set in, either experience or proper guidance is required.


    • Bryan Hemming

      June 28, 2014


      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I agree with your comments in general, but it should be taken into consideration that cannabis is not the only trigger for schizophrenia, and therefore should not be singled out as a reason for not legalising cannabis in the way it is at the moment.

      Cannabis has never been proved to be a direct cause of schizophrenia, but it is widely accepted as being a trigger.

      The condition can also be triggered by alcohol and prescribed drugs. Cocaine and amphetamine based drugs are even more likely to trigger it than cannabis. It must also be remembered that trauma is one of the greatest triggers of all for schizophrenic episodes. Many teenage schizophrenics, who have shown no signs of the condition previously, develop it under the stress of exams, yet we can’t stop everybody from taking exams just because they might cause schizophrenia in some students.

      Legalisation would have to ensure the doses of THC in cannabis were regulated, as they are in alcohol, but I think I explain that in another section of the article, even if I don’t make the point of mentioning schizophrenia in particular.

      It is a very difficult problem but, unfortunately, we cannot design drug and alcohol legislation around minorities, especially when it isn’t possible to predict who fits into the minority group before they are affected.

      I have had quite a lot of experience with schizophrenics, and know how very distressing the condition can be for the sufferers, their families and their friends. Many people find it difficult to accept their nearest and dearest may be going through a schizophrenic episode and go into a state of denial.

      I have also read of the failure of the new laws in Colorado to address the problem of strength of their products. To sell cannabis products containing very high quantities of THC is irresponsible and should be illegal. Alcohol is controlled, and it is required by law to state the alcoholic content of all alcoholic drinks clearly on the front of the container.

      Obviously, more research has to be done into this area. But such considerations cannot be allowed to stop the legalisation of cannabis if the main purpose is to bring a halt to the larger problems caused by it being illegal.

      There is also the matter of age limits. You mention: “…especially in teenagers, adolescents and early adults.” Though I don’t disgree with that, it has to be pointed out it is illegal to sell or supply alcohol to people under eighteen. The same type of law should be applied to cannabis. I believe the laws on alcohol in many American states are stricter than that.

      I hope I have addressed your concerns adequately. It is not an easy subject, and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But one thing is certain, it can only be resolved by the type of cool-headed, open discussion we are engaging in.

      Bryan Hemming


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This entry was posted on August 16, 2014 by in Articles and tagged , , , , , .

Member of The Internet Defense League

Rules on comments

As the comments sections are not intended to be general forums, comments are expected to bear some relevance to the subject of the post. Nevertheless, I do allow some generous leeway in this, particularly if I judge the comment to be of special interest.

Although I'm only too happy to link to your posts, those posts should be your own work, and not the work of others, due to copyright issues.

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