24 May 2011

End the war on drugs!

Avaaz has launched a new campaign to end of the ‘war on drugs’! This expensive war has completely failed to curb the plague of drug addiction, while costing countless lives, devastating communities, and funneling trillions of dollars into violent organized crime networks. The Green Party back in December supported Bob Ainsworth's call for the decriminalisation of drug possession, as a step towards opening up dialogue on the issue.

Photo: Ruscombe valley

This policy, as outlined by Bob Ainsworth, has been Green Party policy for some years now. The Green Party believes a policy of regulation would cut crime and remove the motor of drug profits from gangs, cutting knife and gun use in urban England. Sadly our approach to  drugs is based on criminalisation rather than harm reduction - as Caroline Lucas said this has been "an epic failure". Drugs can and do cause misery to many it is high time we got policies right on this.

Here is what Avaaz write:

Experts all agree that the most sensible policy is to regulate, but politicians are afraid to touch the issue. In days, a global commission including Kofi Annan and five other senior statesmen will break the taboo and publicly call for new approaches including decriminalisation and regulation of drugs.

This could be a once-in-a-generation tipping-point moment - if enough of us call for an end to this madness. Politicians say they understand that the war on drugs has failed, but claim the public isn't ready for an alternative. Let's show them we not only accept a sane and humane policy -- we demand it. Click below to sign the petition and share with everyone - if we reach 1 million voices, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission:


For 50 years current drug policies have failed everyone, everywhere but public debate is stuck in the mud of fear and misinformation. Everyone, even the UN Office on Drugs and Crime which is responsible for enforcing this approach agrees -- deploying militaries and police to burn drug farms, hunting down traffickers, and imprisoning dealers and addicts – is an expensive mistake. And with massive human cost -- from Afghanistan, to Mexico, to the USA the illegal drug trade is destroying countries around the world, while addiction, overdose deaths, and HIV/AIDS infections continue to rise.

Meanwhile, countries with less-harsh enforcement -- like Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Australia -- have not seen the explosion in drug use that proponents of the drug war have darkly predicted. Instead, they have seen significant reductions in drug-related crime, addiction and deaths, and are able to focus squarely on dismantling criminal empires.

Powerful lobbies still stand in the way of change, including military, law enforcement, and prison departments whose budgets are at stake. And politicians fear that voters will throw them out of office if they support alternative approaches, as they will appear weak on law and order. But many former drugs Ministers and Heads of State have come out in favour of reform since leaving office, and polls show that citizens across the world know the current approach is a catastrophe. Momentum is gathering towards new improved policies, particularly in regions that are ravaged by the drug trade.

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