"The price of drugs is falling, the Afghan poppy crop is booming, and traffickers are turning as big a profit as ever."
The "war on Drugs" is a failure. The drug culture was glorified and promoted by Hollywood and it is now a global phenomenon. Drugs have always been part of human society. They are a scourge on humanity. It is difficult to find a life that has been improved by the habitual use of drugs. Misery, disease, ruined lives and now terrorism are all by-products of the illicit drug trade. What to do about it?
"Confiscated drug money from one Mexican raid."
Drugs are all about money and image. Take away the money and the drug culture is reduced to a clinical problem. I see no serious solution that does not include the regularization of drug use. That begins with a legal distribution at a price that is far lower than what is available on the street. The use of drugs should be treated the same way we treat alcoholism, tobacco and mental illness. Nothing else has worked. Nothing else will work.
Here is a very sobering assessment on the link between terrorism and the drug wars from the Washington Post:
The Lost War
We've Spent 36 Years and Billions of Dollars Fighting It, but the Drug Trade Keeps Growing
By Misha Glenny
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Poppies were the first thing that British army Capt. Leo Docherty noticed when he arrived in Afghanistan's turbulent Helmand province in April 2006. "They were growing right outside the gate of our Forward Operating Base," he told me. Within two weeks of his deployment to the remote town of Sangin, he realized that "poppy is the economic mainstay and everyone is involved right up to the higher echelons of the local government."...More here
Poppy, of course, is the plant from which opium -- and heroin -- are derived.
The price of drugs is falling, the Afghan poppy crop is booming, and traffickers are turning as big a profit as ever. Former BBC reporter Mischa Glenny examines the failures of U.S. War on Drugs -- which many authorities point to as the biggest booster of the narcotics trade.
Docherty was quick to realize that the military push into northern Helmand province was going to run into serious trouble. The rumor was "that we were there to eradicate the poppy," he said. "The Taliban aren't stupid and so they said, 'These guys are here to destroy your livelihood, so let's take up arms against them.' And it's been a downward spiral since then."
Despite the presence of 35,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, the drug trade there is going gangbusters. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Afghan opium production in 2006 rose a staggering 57 percent over the previous year. Next month, the United Nations is expected to release a report showing an additional 15 percent jump in opium production this year while highlighting the sobering fact that Afghanistan now accounts for 95 percent of the world's poppy crop. But the success of the illegal narcotics industry isn't confined to Afghanistan. Business is booming in South America, the Middle East, Africa and across the United States..."