A new report to the United Nations out of the London School of Economics highlights several areas of improvement for the fight against drugs.
The 81-page report, "Ending the Drug Wars," was signed by five Nobel Prize winners in economics, and calls for specific actions to actually create change and lessen the drug war's collateral damage. "We're not saying, 'In 30 years, this is what our drug policy landscape should look like,'" John Collins, the LSE's International Drug Policy Project coordinator, told The Daily Beast. "We're saying, 'This isn't working. We need to start moving in a different direction.'"
The report flatly states that a world without drugs isn't plausible; a far more reasonable goal to strive for is the decriminalization of drugs. The mass imprisonment of drug offenders, they say, has a high cost not only to governments, but also on the prisoners' mental and physical health. The report adds that there are some benefits to prohibition, such as reduced drug dependence, but violence and corruption can also stem from the banning of drugs. It also takes a look at the War on Drug's toll on innocent bystanders; The Daily Beast says Colombia's fight against narcotraffickers has left it with the second-largest internally displaced population on earth, and since 2007, some 220,000 people have left Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
The study's authors are hopeful that the U.N. members will listen to what they have to say while getting a clearer picture of the global drug war. "People are afraid of drugs — rightly so, these substances can destroy people's lives," Collins told The Daily Beast. "But their lack of knowledge results in vitriolic reactions, overreactions. At this point, they're doing more harm than the drugs themselves."