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News (Media Awareness Project) - Trinidad: PUB LTE: Try Different Tactic In Drug War
Title:Trinidad: PUB LTE: Try Different Tactic In Drug War
Published On:2011-09-22
Source:Trinidad Express (Trinidad)
Fetched On:2011-09-23 06:02:58

Those of you who follow the war on drugs would notice that Sir Richard
Branson, owner of the Virgin group, and a member of the UN Global
Commission on Drug policy has publicly come out in favour of ending
the war on drugs by decriminalising the use of illegal substances.

Now some of you would naturally be thinking what Sir Richard has been
smoking himself to come out with such a radical stance. Well, if you
read his latest article on the matter "End the war on drugs- Crime
shouldn't pay", he clearly points that apart from being very expensive
the global war has not been very effective.

Even when you make some gains as Trinidad and Tobago is making now
during the State of Emergency, the price of illegal drugs goes up and
more people get in the business leading to more crime, violence and
corruption. As Sir Richard says, "This is an industry that earns more
than US $300 billion each year and with that sort of money at stake,
criminals will do anything to evade the police: move their drug
manufacturing operations to countries where the authorities can't
pursue them, buy heavy weapons (as in the case of Mexico), infiltrate
Government agencies (as has happened in many nations in West Africa),
kidnap and intimidate police, politicians and civilians.

This global war on drugs has been going on for over 30 years and if
anything, today the cartels are stronger than ever.

It simply makes good sense to switch your strategy to harm-reduction.
Institute drug education classes in all schools from the age of reason
while setting up drug treatment centres in all communities.

Portugal has done it since 2001 with very good results in crime
reduction and yes -- addiction reduction. While it may sound radical,
continuing this unwinnable war on drugs is costly and ultimately
futile as significant members of your Government agencies and security
forces will continue to clandestinely work with the traffickers and
you will have to live with the mayhem of criminal violence on a daily
basis, while seizing the same five to ten per cent of the major drug

I say try a different strategy as soon as possible.

Gregory Wight

Diego Martin
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