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Geschrieben von: Gustavo de Greiff   
Donnerstag, 18. April 2002 00:00
A Failed Strategy: The War on Drugs
(eine Strategie, die versagt hat: Der 'Krieg gegen Drogen')
By Gustavo de Greiff
Special to the Narco News Bulletin (von G. de Greiff, Spezial fürs Narco News Bulletin) Publisher's Note:
On April 18th, former Ambassador and Attorney General of Colombia Gustavo de Greiff, currently a fellow at the Colegio de Mexico, returned to his country to give a speech for a professional association hosted by the Escenarios Corporation in which De Greiff issued a stinging indictment of the failure of United States prohibitionist drug policies not only in Latin America, but, citing Washington's own official statistics, within the U.S.

It has been nine years since Dr. De Greiff became the first major Latin American official to call for an end to drug prohibition. Nine years of efforts by Washington to silence him, as we can see today, have failed just like the prohibition policy he criticizes.

Narco News is pleased to offer this translation of the remarks, with footnotes supplied by the former attorney general, ambassador and internationally respected scholar; who history will remember as the founder of the Latin American drug legalization movement.
  I wish to demonstrate that the so-called war on drugs, from a purely empirical point of view, has failed and that reason requires a change from a repressive strategy to a strategy of legalization, that is, the legal regulation of the production and sale of currently prohibited drugs (fundamentally, marijuana, cocaine and heroin). This regulation would be accompanied by educational campaigns to discourage consumption and medical treatment for addicts.

By regulation of the production and sale I mean a series of legal measures that establish who, under what conditions and limits, will be able to cultivate the plants from where these drugs are extracted, who can manufacture them, and limits on the contents of the active elements. These regulations would also govern those who would want to sell them, where and under what restrictions, the licenses that the cultivators, manufacturers and sellers will have to obtain, the prohibition of advertising of the drugs, the type of educational and public health campaigns that must be forwarded and the medical aid (public and private) that will have to be available to the addicts.

Many of the statistics that demonstrate the failure of the poorly named war on drugs refer to the United States of America for being the country where the majority of cocaine consumption occurs (three-quarters, approximately, of the global production of cocaine, a greater percent of the marijuana and a third of the global production of heroin).

The war on drugs, in its most repressive form, began under the government of Mr. Richard Nixon with a federal budget of $6.5 million dollars. Today, almost twenty years later, this budget has risen to $18 billion dollars. For fiscal year 2003 the executive branch has presented a budget that augments, in round numbers, the amount to more than $19 billion dollars, of which 70 percent are destined to the repressive policies and only 30 percent to education and health services.

What is the reason for this repressive strategy?

The logic behind the repressive strategy by the U.S. government is founded upon the following argument: If the drugs don't enter the United States, there is no drug problem.(1) To avoid the entrance of drugs, in union with the governments and other institutions of State of the countries where the drugs are produced, repressive actions for the eradication or destruction of crops, laboratories and airfield, the interdiction of shipments and goods, the capture and imprisonment of traffickers and other similar means. All of this should cause a reduction of the drugs available on the market with would then result in a rise in the prices of the drugs that do arrive on the market, which, then, would contribute to dissuading the consumption by potential buyers as well as the current consumers, influencing the addicts, also, to seek treatment or stop using.

If the repressive strategy had tendered results we would now have:

  1. Fewer land areas cultivated with plans from which the three large prohibited drugs are extracted: cocaine, heroin and marijuana;
  2. Less availability of these drugs in consumer markets;
  3. Higher prices of each of these three drugs, and;
  4. Fewer consumers, habitual or hardcore as well as occasional users.
Unfortunately, there has been no improvement in any of these categories, as we will now see.

The Crops

A.   The number of acres cultivated has not been diminished. Although it seems that this has occurred in Peru and Colombia, the reduction in those countries has been widely surpassed by the augmentation of crops of coca and poppy in Colombia. As for marijuana, the cultivation within the United States has risen. That has occurred somewhat in Colombia, has begun in Canada and in Mexico they remain stable in spite of the eradication efforts that all these countries practice.(2)

In Colombia, the satellite photographs taken by the U.S. government and the United Nations indicate that in spite of the fumigation of 60,000 hectares, coca crops have risen in land area by 60 percent in the past year.(3)

But the repressive policy so passionately imposed by the U.S. government can be seen in the statements of Mr. Phil Chicola, of the Colombia section of the U.S. State Department, who responded arrogantly to the media: "If the statistics of this study are correct, that means that we need to do much more than what we are doing now, in place of less." As the editor of Cambio magazine in Colombia noted, "As he says, if fumigating more hasn't generated results, we will fumigate much more and this will give us results." (4)

The Marketplace

B. The availability of these three drugs of major consumption - cocaine, heroin and marijuana - in the U.S. market has not diminished, and in the streets of European cities it has increased. (5) According to a study published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the White House, published in December 2000 and titled "What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs 1988-1998," the quantities available for consumption have been:

Cocaine: According to the calculations of the private firm that conducted the study (Abt Associates, Inc.): In 1996: 288 metric tons, in 1997: 312; in 1998: 291, for 1999 it is estimated that 276 metric tons were consumed and in the year 2000, 269 metric tons.

According to estimated calculations of consumption: In 1996, 307 metric tons; in 1997: 154; in 1998: 212, and in 1999: 191.

According to deductive calculations regarding cultivation: In 1996: between 411 to 599 metric tons; in 1997: 309-457; in 1998: 204-352; and in 1999: 176-324.

Heroin: In 1996: 12.4 metric tons; in 1997: 13.1; in 1998: 12.5, and in 1999: 12.9; an equal amount is calculated for the year 2000.

Marijuana: En 1996: 874 metric tons; in 1997: 960; in 1998: 952; in 1999: 982, and in the year 2000: 1009.

The Price

C.  The prices of these drugs have not risen either, as should have been the result of the fumigations of crops, destruction of laboratories and seizures.

Cocaine: The market price for the street-level consumer per gram of cocaine has fluctuated in this way: 1988: $177; 1989: $163; 1990: $193 (6) ; 1991: $165; 1992: $160; 1993: $155; 1994: $140; 1995: $139. (in American 1996 dollars) (7) ; 1996: $159; 1997 to 2000 (each year): $149 (in American 1998 dollars) (8)

Heroin: 1988: $1,655; 1989: $1,433; 1990: $1,476; 1991: $1,470; 1,992: $1,315; 1993: $1,254; 1994: $1,099; 1995: $984. (also in American dollars adjusted to 1996 value) (9) ; 1996: $1,048; 1997 to 2000 (each year): $1,029 (In American dollars of 1998) (10)

Marijuana: Price per ounce: 1988: $287; 1989: $353; 1990: $369; 1991: $406; 1992: $460; 1993: $334; 1995: $305; 1995: $269 (also in American dollars adjusted to 1996 value) (11) ; 1996: $293; 1997:$297; 1998: $320; 1999 and 2000 (each year): $293 (in 1998 American dollars) (12)

Notice that, still, when in some years the price has risen over that of the previous year (for cocaine in 1990; for heroin in 1990 and 1991; and for marijuana in 1990, 1991 and 1992) the increase has not been so great as to have any effect in dissuading consumers. (13)

The Users

D. In relation to drug consumption the number of habitual (hardcore) users of cocaine has fluctuated between 3.28 million and 3.3 million between 1998 and 2000, while it is reported that the number of occasional users went down from 6 million in 1988 to 2.155 million in 2000. Habitual users of heroin passed from 923,000 in 1998 to being 977,000 in the year 2000, and the occasional users from 11.6 million in 1998 lowered to 9.8 million in 1995 and up again to 11.7 million in the year 2000. (14)

The reduction in the number of occasional users of cocaine is the only success that can be boasted by the partisans of the repressive policy. But we employ that verb conditionally because the authors of the studies conducted by the Office of National Drug Policy Control (ONDCP) of the White House, speak of "estimations subject to a significant inexactitude," (15) of "differences so large that they lack credibility," (16) "it seems plausible that the spending on cocaine and heroin could be more than double or less than half of our estimations," (17) "Based on these admittedly imperfect assumptions, we estimate that between 372 and 458 metric tons of cocaine were shipped to the United States in 1994," (18) "Undoubtedly there are lacunas in the investigation (or intelligence) findings that impede us from knowing of all the cocaine shipments and there is no manner to estimate the quantity of cocaine that, in totality, is not detected," (19) "Due to the quality of the available facts, there is a considerable imprecision in the estimations of the number of heavy and occasional users of drugs, the quantity they consume and the street value of these drugs." (20)

The study corresponding to 1998, but that makes projections of consumption and availability of drugs in the market until the year 2000, is even less explicit than the previous one, and also cites the inconsistencies in the statistics, as can be read on pages 5, 11 and 16. (21)

As a result, in relation to the number of consumers of cocaine, that between 1994 and 2000, the years of greatest repression, if we believe the statistics they lowered from 2.930 million to 2.155 million; that is to say, 755,000 fewer. In these same years the number of consumers of heroin grew and the number of marijuana users remained stable. The United States federal budget for anti-drug efforts rose during this same period from 12 billion dollars to 17 billion, that is to say an increase of $5 billion for a questionable achievement.

The untrustworthiness of the statistics on drug consumption is the result, in a large part, of the nature of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, that asks questions of the populace about their drug use habits. The questions are posed to people who are part of stable communities (excepting military troops and jailed persons, as well as the homeless) which has led to, as those in charge of the studies accept, a great inconsistency due to the prohibitionist laws and the fact that the activity being asked about is a crime. While the laws are applied rigorously there is more possibility that people aren't honest in their responses to questions about their drug use. One doesn't need to be a genius to figure out that few would dare declare that they engage in an activity that the laws call a crime.

Another of the sources used to determine drug consumption is in the statistics calculated by a program called Drug Use Forcasting (DUF), that are the product of a survey made of a group of prisoners in 24 urban jails about the consumption of drugs, as well as the results of urine tests taken to determine if they have used any drug during the three days before the interview. The results are then extrapolated to estimate drug use among the entire population. Here, also, the survey results to have grand inconsistencies, both for the criteria used in each case to choose the survey group as well as the prevalence or not of drug use in the cities where the chosen prisons are located.

And to think, that reports like these are the basis of how plans to combat drugs are elaborated!

Unable to recognize failure in the fight against drugs that they promote, they also set goals that time itself rebuts. For example, during the government of President George Bush, father of the current American president, at the end of the 1980s he proposed a reduction in the quantity of cocaine that comes to his country by 10 percent in the first two years and by 50 percent in the following ten years. The statistics above regarding the amount of cocaine available in the United States market demonstrate that the proposed result was not achieved.

And under the government of Mr. William Clinton, the National Drug Control Strategy of 1999 states: "The strategy proposes a multi-year goal of reducing the consumption and availability of drugs by 50 percent" (22), which has not been achieved. (23)

Another Strategy

Why not then recognize the failure of the repressive policy and, in its place, adopt another strategy?

James Q. Wilson, a U.S. political scientist who was named in 1972 by President Nixon as president of the National Council for Prevention of Drug Abuse (24) defended, during the 1980s, the prohibitionist policy because, according to him, it was the only way to prevent an increase - and bring about a reduction - in the number of consumers of heroin. It would be worthwhile to ask him now how he justifies the policy in retrospect, when the number of heroin users grew from 170,000 to 570,000 and the number of habitual users remained stable. He now says that in this area the repressive policy as not been at all successful. (25) And to think that he has been one of the people who contributed to the ideology of the anti-drug policies of the United States of America!

The United States government is frequently criticized for not doing enough to diminish the consumption of prohibited drugs. For its part, the U.S. government criticizes nations like Colombia, Mexico and others because they say we do very little to impede the production and transport of these same drugs. Both observations appear to me to be unjust. That government and those countries, in fact, do a lot - very much - toward those goals. What occurs, though, is that what they do doesn't work, as the facts demonstrate that the strategy that they follow is erroneous, tremendously erroneous.

It's not just that the war on drugs is a failed policy. It's also that it has created problems that cause innumerable damage to the countries that suffer it.

In the United States of America and our Latin American countries the application of repressive laws against drugs has diminished - in some cases, eliminated - precious civil liberties, ignoring rights whose recognition cost tremendous sacrifices for much of the last two centuries. (26) But the policy has eroded the very legal gains for which the greatest sacrifices were made.

As professor Douglas Husak has noted, "the illegality has had a pernicious impact in the administration and style in which drugs are ingested. According to what one treatise writer describes as 'the irony of the law of prohibition,' the potency of illegal drugs has increased to the highest level possible to reduce the size of the containers in which they are transported as well as the risk of being intercepted". (27)

The prohibition of drugs makes the drugs more attractive due to the phenomenon of "forbidden fruit". (28)

Courts and jails have clogged as a result of the "hard line" policy against drug consumers. The impact of crimes related with drugs has led many commentators to speak of the collapse of the judicial (29) and penitentiary systems. Largely due to the war on drugs, the United States has the dubious honor of being the country with the greatest number of prisoners per capita: By the end of 1999 one out of every 137 residents of this country and its territories were behind bars. (30)

The foreign policy of our countries has suffered distortions and incalculable damage because of the war on drugs. Think no further than the pernicious effects of the certification process by the U.S. government toward other countries that, in its judgment are either efficient or not in this so-called war. Remember no more than how a United States Ambassador to Colombia, in 1995, said that Colombia would be decertified if it persisted in its banana export policies to European countries.

And even still, there are many other damaging effects of the war on drugs. Think, for example, only of what it means from an ethical point of view: the policy that authorizes (and executes) the shooting down of airplanes suspected of carrying illegal drugs. Professor Milton Friedman was right in his famous letter to the then-drug czar Mr. William Bennett, when he said: "A country where a tactic in the drug war of shooting down suspicious airplanes is not the type of United States that you or I wish to pass to future generations."

In light of all this, we believe that if a change of strategy is promoted to combat the problems that the production, sale and consumption of drugs creates, we think that those caused by the production and sale are solved by legalization and that those caused by drug use are solved by utilizing education about the dangers that the abuse of narcotic or psychotropic drugs brings, and with the administration of medical treatment for addicts. (31) As don Carlos Fuentes recently affirmed, with legalization there would continue being addicts but at least the bands of narco-traffickers and corruption related to them would disappear.

In relation to this issue it is important to repeat that legalization must not be understood as an invitation to consume nor an indiscriminate availability of drugs with their sale in just any place without any control. No: By legalization of the production and consumption what must be understood is that it means a regulated system in which the cultivation of the plants from which the drugs are extracted, the production and the sale are subject to governmental administrative controls and civil sanctions for those who break them. That is to say, legalization would be a system regulated by law and through administrative actions designed to prevent the evils that use and abuse can cause. And all this, accompanied by educational campaigns to instruct society about such evils, discourage drug use and offer treatment to addicts.

Taking into account the noted failures in relation to crops and prices and the concerns about consumers, one asks himself: Why not try a different strategy than repression?

How right the Commisson on Drugs of the Bar Association of New York County was when in 1995 it wrote: "The goal of any policy against drugs must be the decrease of consumption and of the evils that use and abuse cause, and to minimize the damages that are associated with the problem. Additionally, any policy that causes more damage than the social problems it proposes to solve must be reevaluated regarding the convenience of continuing it."

If the combat against drugs has been developed in our countries under the pressure of the various U.S. administrations, it is a war.

It must be considered, as United States professor Douglas Husak notes, that "a policy that doesn't work can always be changed: but a war that is not won can only be a lost war." (32)

Those who attack legalization are accustomed to asking: How can legalizing the narco-traffickers be morally justified? Ignoring the insidious implication (because nobody is trying to legalize narco-traffickers), permit me to make a clarification that must be made. It is said that legalizing or regulating the production and sale of narcotic and psychotropic drugs of the kinds of which we have spoken, those that are today prohibited, legalization would naturally have to contemplate that those who have broken the law during prohibition would continue to be subject to criminal process and the corresponding penalties and that those who act outside of the new legal regulations would be breaking anti-drug laws that are today on the lawbooks. Someone might ask: Is it not a traditional principle of legal rights that when a law disappears, doesn't it involve pardon or rehabilitation? The answer must be that it is correct that this principle exists as a positive norm in the majority of the legal codes of Latin American countries, but it is also the case that old laws can be replaced by new laws. This is not the issue upon which they can attack us.

Decriminalization, such as what occured with some drugs in Holland, in turn, consists in taking away the criminal character of consumption. Personally, I don't like this system. Although it is certain that in not punishing the consumer by taking away his liberty (and all the corresponding evils of putting someone in prison only because he consumed and this even includes first-time use) it has the grave inconvenience of leaving the market open to the traffickers and doesn't solve the corruption that is part of the nature of illicit trafficking.

However, still, a more permissive or less repressive policy, as in Holland, shows less damaging results. Look at the comparative statistics of the years 1997 and 1998: Consumption of marijuana by persons 12 years old or greater: United States, 33 percent. Holland, 15.6 percent. Consumption of heroin among persons 12 or older: United States, 1.1 percent, Holland, .3 percent. Per capita cost of applying prohibitionist laws: United States, $81, Holland $27 (Sources: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, report of March 2000, and the University of Amsterdam, Centre for Drug Research, September 1999.) (33)

Those of us who propose the strategy of legalization or legal regulation of the production and sale of currently illicit drugs (fundamentally, marijuana, cocaine and heroin) are not a group of irresponsible people who only want to solve the evil consequences of this production and sale in an illicit environment and we have always concerned ourselves with the argument waged against us: that in which, opponents say, that legalization would produce an "explosion" in the number of drug users. Our thesis has to be understood in the general context of contemplating this other aspect of the problem, that is, the state of consumption, in which, we repeat, there must be wide educational campaigns developed to discourage the use of drugs and give medical treatment to addicts. (34)

A report by the Bar Association of New York City examines this question extensively in terms of what occurred when the prohibition of alcohol was lifted and what would happen in some of the United States when marijuana was decriminalized on a state level, as well as the experience of Holland. It concludes that the fear is unfounded. The psychiatrist and neuro-scientist in the United States, Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga, came to the same conclusion in his book, Drug Legalization: For and Against.

Various arguments of that report, backed by innumerable statistics and by noted authors and experts in the theme, effectively rebut those who hide behind this argument over a possible "explosion" in the consumption of drugs to continue supporting the useless and lost war on drugs. Let's look at them:

  1. According to the available evidence, the recent reduction in the use of drugs and in the consumption of alcohol and tobacco is attributed by the experts to factors such as education, health and the desire to be in a good physical state, more than any laws prohibiting drugs. (35)

    Including, according to some observers, the prohibitionist laws are a significant factor in causing an increase in the use of drugs and a cause of a greater number of addicts than there would otherwise exist.
  2. During the prohibition of alcohol, in the United States, the per capita consumption of alcohol increased. (36) After "the repeal of Prohibition, in 1993, the consumption remained relatively stable until the Second World War when, without any change in public policy, it began to increase". (37) The prohibitionist laws, as a consequence, seem to have very little impact on individual decisions about whether to use drugs or not. (38)
  3. In ten of the 50 United States, where small quantities of marijuana for personal use was decriminalized in the 1970s, there was no increase in the amount of marijuana used. (39) To the contrary, the consumption of marijuana in those states, as well as those that kept the penal sanctions for personal use, declined, (40) and thus the prohibitionist laws have little to do with the matter of consumption or no consumption.
  4. In 1976, Holland decriminalized the consumption of marijuana, (41) while possession and sale technically remained illegal. (42) The level of use actually declined after decriminalization. (43) In reality, the use of marijuana in the Third World is substantially lower than that in those countries that wage a "war on drugs," including the United States and, at least recently, Germany. (44) Among Dutch youth aged 17 and 18, only 17.7 percent have used marijuana at least once in their lives, as opposed to 43.7 percent of the Americans of the same age. Only 4.6 percent of Holland's citizens have used marijuana at least once in the past month, as opposed to 16.7 percent of the Americans. At the same time, these statistics clearly indicate that the prohibitionist laws don't work against the use of drugs. They demonstrate that by legalizing their use, at least with marijuana, there is no increase in use. (45)


The same report indicates that "due to an exception in the British prohibitionist system, doctors can administer prohibited drugs to addicts. Dr. John Marks of Liverpool began such a program in 1982, and noted that the number of addicts in Liverpool decreased while a nearby city that operated under a prohibitionist system saw an increase of new addicts 12 times greater. (46) Dr. Marks attributed this to the fact that the addicts received the drug they need for a few cents, and consequently did not have to recruit new addicts to be able to obtain money that would allow them to maintain their habit."

Finally, Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga makes an authoritative argument over what could occur with consumption upon legalizing the production and sale of drugs in an interview published by the National Review (February 5, 1990, pages 34 to 41), and reproduced in his book, Drug Legalization: For and Against. (47) According to this outstanding professional, human beings are possessed by a powerful instinct of not repeating conduct that can harm them. That's why when one crosses the street, one looks both ways to avoid being hit by a car and when one plays sports that are dangerous one takes all kinds of precautions to diminish the risk. This same instinct takes effect in the sense of being careful in the consumption of products that can cause harm. The immense majority of human beings consume alcohol socially and only a minority of them do so abusively. Among those, a smaller minority becomes addicted, and the same can happen with cocaine, regardless of whether there is legalization or prohibition. And those who are part of this minority have genetic, physical or psychological problems that cause them to abandon this instinct of self-preservation.

Why then, in spite of all the evidence about the failure of the repressive policy, do they insist on it? I think the problem has to do with political and economic interests that encourage the repression. On one side are the narco-traffickers and the corrupt officials who would see their obscene profits (numerous and illicit) disappear under a policy of legalization, and those whose jobs depend upon the existence of the repression, as well as dishonest politicians who make their careers presenting themselves as moral saviors. On the other side are honest people who sincerely think that with legalization there would be an "explosion" of consumption: It is to those whom I invite to examine the facts that demonstrate the failure of a policy with an open mind.

Certainly, we are in agreement that legalization or legal regulation could not be achieved by one or a few countries individually and that a nearly universal concert of nations is needed to adopt it. But this is not an obstacle for academics and politicians and social leaders to study and promote its adoption. The force of ideas is incredible. Remember no more than that the cultural revolution of 1968 came out of a modest philosophy class of no more than twenty students in California whose professor was Herbert Marcuse.

I speak frequently with high public officials in various nations and all of them say to me, "Dr. De Greiff, you are right, this problem of drugs and how it is being combated is crazy, and we have to get to what you are proposing," but it is discouraging that very few dare to say it publicly. The majority of them continue on the path of the fearful because they don't want to assume the position of being exposed to the ire of the United States government. Thus, they prefer to remain silent and limit themselves to backing greater repressive measures and more budgetary spending for the war, secretly hoping that some miracle, at some moment, will produce the disappearance of illegal drugs. That's why my hope lies with the young students, who some day, god willing not long from now, will take the decision of their destiny into their own hands; for their generosity and absence of compromise with special interests, I have faith that they will adopt a more rational solution to the problem of drugs.


Footnotes    (same Footnotes on separate page)
  1. This logic doesn't take into account the production inside the country.
  2. See reports of the International Narcotics Control Board of the UN, that can be consulted on the Internet at incb.org
  3. See Cambio magazine, May 16, 2001
  4. See Cambio magazine, May 22, 2001
  5. See the report of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, ONDCP, that can also be found on the Internet at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov. Regarding Europe, see the report of the Geopolitical Drug Dispatch (Observatorio Geopolítico de las Drogas de París, El País, Spain, April 21, 2000.
  6. See footnote 18
  7. What America's Users Spend on Illicit Drugs 1988-1995, Table 4
  8. What America's Users Spend on Illicit Drugs 1988-2000, Table 6
  9. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1995, Table 4 and Table 3 of 1988-1998 study
  10. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1995, Table 6 and Table 3 of 1988-1998 study
  11. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1995, Table 6 and Table 9 of 1988-1998 study
  12. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1995, Table 9 of 1988-1998 study
  13. It works in such a strange manner that we could name it "the economy of prohibited drugs" that in the first study by the White House, titled "What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs 1988-1993", it says "[T]hat the supply of cocaine could have remained constant while at the same time the price increased (and apparently the consumption) during 1990 is a question that perplexes." (p.40).
  14. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1998, Tables 3 and 9. In the case of cocaine it is considered that the habitual (or hardcore) user is one who has used for at least one or two days a week each week during the year previous to when this poll was taken, and that the habitual heroin user is one who has consumed more than ten times during the month previous to the survey, and ocassional users are those who have consumed less frequently than the habitual users according to this criteria.
  15. The statistic corresponding to 1988-1995., p. 10
  16. Ib., p. 14
  17. Ib., p. 18
  18. Ib., p. 34
  19. Ib., p. 37
  20. Ib., p. 46
  21. The complete text of this study can be found at: whitehousedrugpolicy,gov
  22. Ib. P. 1.4
  23. And the strategy for the year 2002, recognizing implicitly the failure of the previously stated goals, has been fixed to reflect a goal of a reduction of 10 percent of prohibited drugs in two years and 25 percent in five years. National Drug Control Strategy, The White House, January 2002, p. 3
  24. This Council, created by the United States Congress, was in charge of producing a report about the best manner to coordinate the war on drugs. See Wilson, On Character
  25. See Wilson, On Character, Ed. AEIPress, Washington, 1995
  26. The presumption of innocence and due process are among the various civil rights affected. In Colombia, for example, there had been a long period during which someone could be kept incarcerated simply for being under suspicion, without a court order, and the prosecutors later would have an unlimited time period to resolve the situation.
  27. See note 21, p. 54
  28. See note 45 infra
  29. Husak, Ibíd, p. 56
  30. See US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 1999, August 2000, p. 1
  31. For a long time the fundamentalists of the "war on drugs" said that the users, like the traffickers, should be sent to jail, because education and medical treatment didn't work. The empirical evidence since 1994 to the present demonstrates the contrary. In education, what occurred in relation to tobacco, whose consumption has decreased notably thanks to the truthful information about the dangers of its use, without needing to use penal measures, demonstrates the effectiveness of a rational strategy. And in relation to drugs, the report of the Bar Association of New York County, titled "A Wiser Course: End Prohibition," published in the spring of 1994, can be read at www.drugpolicy.org . Recent public declarations by the so-called drug czar in the United States confirm the effectiveness of medical treatment to get addicts off of drugs.
  32. "A policy that does not work can always be changed, but a war that is not won can only be lost" Drugs and Rights, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 16. 33. Drug War Facts, March 2001, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, USA www.drugsense.org
  33. Drug War Facts, March 2001, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, USA www.drugsense.org
  34. Those who, according to statistics, consume more than 60 percent of the illicit drugs that are on the market. Ponder what it could mean to take this market away from the narco-traffickers, and yet the partisans of the "war on drugs," as they practice it today, dedicate more than three-quarters of their budgets to implment police interdiction measures and only one-third to education and treatment.
  35. The author of this article, for example, has receved the testimony of some exaddicts who have demonstrated that possibly in an environment of legalization they would not have fallen into the vice, or would have been able to rehabilitate themselves sooner. To them, the prohibitionist environment led them to a situation of rebellion and already involved in drug use it impeded them from seeking help due to the shame of being identified as criminals and later for fear of being brought to prison for violating these prohibitionist laws.
  36. Letter to the Editor, Just Say Yes, The Village Voice, January 18, 1994, p. 6 (letter by Dr. John P. Morgan, Professor, City University of New York, School of Medicine).
  37. Ibid
  38. Ibid
  39. Grinspoon & Balakar, The War on Drugs. A Peace Proposal, # 330, New England J. Med, p. 358; see also Steve France, Should We Fight or Switch?, 76 A.B.A.J. ps. 42, 45 (1990).
  40. Ethan Nadelmann, Isn't it Time to Legalize Drugs?, The Boston Sunday Globe, October 2, 1988, p. 23A, see also a J.P. Morgan, D. Riley & G.B. Chesner, Cannabis: Legal Reform, Medicinal Use and Harm Reduction, in Psychoactive Drugs and Harm Reduction (Nick K. Heather Ed. 1993) (reporting that decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana in the state of South Australia in 1985 did not cause any change in the amount of use in that state; there had not been any significant difference in the indexes of use in the state of South Australia and other states of the country that did not change their marijuana laws.)
  41. See Nadelmann, Ib. p. 23A.
  42. See Henk Jan van Vliet, The Uneasy Decriminalization: A Perspective on Dutch Drug Policy, 18 Hofstra L. Rev., p. 717 (1990).
  43. Nadelmann, pág. 23A, Ob. cit. In footnote 20.
  44. But see Marlise Simons, Drug Floodgates Open, Inundating the Dutch, N.Y. Times, abril 20, 1994, p. 4A (reporting that "drug tourists" in Germany, Belgium, Luxemborg and France have inundated the lower countries owing to "permissive norms over soft drugs").
  45. In 1993, as Attorney General of Colombia, I received a visit from four police chiefs of Dutch cities, who shared information similar to that cited by the New York Bar Association. They said that the experiment did not have all the success it desired given that there wasn't any similar regulation in other European countries, Holland had been invaded by consumers from outside, but that among the local population and especially among the young, the consumption of cocaine and marijuana had diminished. Upon asking them to what was attributed this descent in use by the youth, the answer was: "Although it might seem naïve, the explanation we have is that since the drugs had lost the enchantment of the forbidden and didn't serve any more as a pretext for rebellion against broken homes or tyrannical parents, the young people stopped using them." In a report presented in 1997 by the Ministers of Interior and Justice of Holland about the drug policy in their country, that can be found on the Internet via Yahoo, it is seen how the number of drug addicts, relative to the entire population, is much lower in Holland and Germany than in European countries with less liberal policies. (In Holland, 1.6 per thousand, in Germany 1.5 per thousand, while in France and England, where the prohibitionist laws are tougher it is 2.4 and 2.6 respectively.
  46. Sidney Zion, Battle Lines in the War on Drugs: Make Them Legal, N.Y. Times, December 15, 1993, p. 27A.
  47. Edited by Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent, Open Court, La Salle, Ill, USA, ps. 231 to 246