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WHY THE 40 YEAR WAR ON DRUGS HAS FAILED
Article by George Schultz and Paul Volcker in
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
6-11-2011
· JUNE 11, 2011
A Real Debate About Drug Policy
George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker on why the 'war on drugs' has failed—and what to do next'.

This article by two iconic conservative figures has some surprising comments and suggestions. The article opens with this quote from the Global Commission on Drug Policy. ‘The global war on drugs has failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.’
George Schultz, former U.S. Secretary of state and Paul Volcker, former Chairmen of the
Federal Reserve System say that they agree with this conclusion. They add that they both have signed the statement. They believe,that drug addiction “…is harmful to individuals, impairs health, and has adverse societal effects. So we want an effective program to deal with this problem.”
They point out that for 40 years the approach has been to criminalize producing, transporting, selling, using, drugs that are considered illegal. The exceptions are tobacco and alcohol. They add that national attempts to make alcohol illegal failed as well early in the last century.


Drugs are readily available and associated criminal activity is high. The costs of the drug war are huge. Prisons are full of people with minor use of or possession of drugs and, in addition to the high cost of incarcerating them, there is the risk that they will learn to perform more serious criminal acts. More serious is the loss of life in this country and around the world. More lives have been lost in Mexico in drug related violence than the U.S. lost in Vietnam and Korea.
The initiatives for the global commission came from fromer presidents of Latin American nations. This may have been the result of their conclusions that U.S. drug policies make it more difficult for their countries to have a productive and peaceful existence.
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