Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The third way: Moving beyond an unwinnable war


Published on

It is impossible to properly address an issue that is not fully understood and few issues are as mired in confusion, misconceptions, preconceptions, prejudice and taboos as the issue of “drugs”.
The goal of this presentation is to:
• Dispel the confusion and misconceptions surrounding illegal drugs
• Put aside ideological and moralistic preconceptions
• Separate facts from propaganda.
• Bring common sense and sanity to the drug policy debate
• Devise practical, realistic and sensible solutions.

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

The third way: Moving beyond an unwinnable war

  1. 1. Jeffrey Dhywood Investigative writer Author of “World War-D: The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re- legalization“©Jeffrey Dhywood - 1
  2. 2. The Third Way: Moving beyond an unwinnable warIt is impossible to properly address an issue that is not fully understoodand few issues are as mired in confusion, misconceptions,preconceptions, prejudice and taboos as the issue of “drugs”.Goal:• Dispel the confusion and misconceptions surrounding illegal drugs• Put aside ideological and moralistic preconceptions•Separate facts from propaganda.• Bring common sense and sanity to the drug policy debate• Devise practical, realistic and sensible solutions. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 2
  3. 3. Dispelling myths and bringing some clarity to the “drug” issue• What are “drugs”? What exactly are we talking about?• What is the “drug problem” and why is it a problem in the first place?• Where did the “drug problem” come from?• What is the rationale of prohibition?• What is the “War on Drugs”? Why was it started? What did it accomplish?• Are there alternatives to the current policies, and if so, what are these?• When we talk about “legalization”, what exactly do we mean?• Should we talk about “legalization” or “regulation”?• What is the best way to deal with “drug-trafficking” and “drug violence”?• What exactly do we want to accomplish? ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 3
  4. 4. What are we talking about? “Drugs” in the “War on Drugs” and the “drug problem” ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 4
  5. 5. Two problems in oneThe problematic of illegal drugs stems from their dual status: • Drugs, meant as psychoactive substances • Illicit substances, object of prohibition.In illegal drugs, there are two intertwined but very distinct issues: “illegal” and “drugs”, each with their own sets of derived issues and associated harms. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 5
  6. 6. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 6
  7. 7. What are drugs?Definition of drug from the medical dictionary: 1. A chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body. 2. Any chemical compound used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease or other abnormal condition. 3. A substance used recreationally for its effects on the central nervous system, such as a narcotic. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 7
  8. 8. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 8
  9. 9. The “drugs” in the “War on Drugs” are the “Psychoactive substances” that are illegal.“Psychoactive substances” have mind-altering properties. They include: • alcohol, • tobacco and • Psycho-pharmaceuticals • as well as mild stimulant such as coffee, tea, caffeinated drinks, mate or coca leaves. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 9
  10. 10. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 10
  11. 11. Diagram of Psychoactive substances ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 11
  12. 12. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 12
  13. 13. ILLEGAL©Jeffrey Dhywood - 13
  14. 14. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 14
  15. 15. Drugs and crime• Acquisitive crime (shoplifting, burglaries, robberies, prostitution)• Street gangs: control most of the street-level drug dealing• Drug cartels: deep links to organized crime, right-wing militias, left-wing guerillas, terrorism and even rogue governments. Involved in several coups over the past 30 years.The mass incarceration of drug offenders has turned the prison system into a highly efficient training and recruiting system for street gangs and drug cartels, offering gateways from street gangs to drug cartels for the most “talented” alumni. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 16
  16. 16. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 17
  17. 17. Organized crime and narco-trafficking 19
  18. 18. Deep roots into society of Narco-trafficking & organized crimeNarco-trafficking provides huge resources to organized crime, allowing it to establish deep roots into the society.Narco-trafficking heavy reliance on corruption for its operation further deepens its roots into society.Money-laundering and organized crime’s involvement into cash-intensive activities extend its reach even further. Narco-culture has become the dominant culture in some parts of the world.The longer narco-trafficking is allowed to flourish, the deeper the roots it grows into society, the harder it becomes to eradicate it.Alcohol prohibition lasted only 13 years, but it took the US, the most powerful country on earth, more than 50 years to somewhat curb the power of the mafias. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 20
  19. 19. Geopolitics of drug traffickingdeep links to organized crime, right-wing militias, left-wing guerillas, terrorism, covert operations, secret services, rogue governments. Involved in several coups over the past 30 years, fuelling violence in wider national and regional conflicts (Afghanistan, Pakistan, West Africa: Mali, Guinea Bissau, BurmaMany affected countries, such as Colombia, Afghanistan and Burma, have long histories of internal and regional conflict. However, drug money has played a major role in motivating and arming separatist and insurgent groups, and domestic and international terror groups, blurring the distinction between them and criminal gangs. In the longer term, violence can traumatise populations for generations, in particular fostering a culture of violence among young people. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 21
  20. 20. Producing & transiting countriesProducts and services Drug traffickers see are paid in kind Market opportunities Emergence of a Growing substance local marketplace abuse problem Spread of violence for control Of local marketplaces ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 22
  21. 21. The double balloon effectCrackdown in one region displaces Crackdown on a substance displacesdrug production and trafficking to use and abuse to other substances.another, further spreading the 1970s: Heroin (US, EU)plague of narco-trafficking,corruption, destabilization, 1980s: Cocaine (US, EU)violence and substance abuse. 1990s: Amphetamines (US, EU, Asia) 2000s: Heroin (Eastern EU, Central Asia) – ATS (US, Europe, Asia) 2010s: Psycho-pharmaceuticals (US) heroin (Eastern EU, Central Asia, Africa) – ATS/amphetamines (EU, Africa, Asia), cocaine (EU, Africa, Asia, Latin America) ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 23
  22. 22. Understanding the illegal drug marketplace ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 24
  23. 23. Prohibition promotes addiction and facilitates initiation Experimental CasualInitiation Use – 50% Use – 20% Users in accelerating pattern of use often go through a“honeymoon” period and become proselyte and therefore accelerating contagious. They frequently resort to drug dealing to Pattern of use subsidize their pattern of use, supplying initiates, 10% experimental and casual users, which also gives them easier access to the substances and leaves them even more exposed at a time of highest vulnerability. Abuse/Addiction < 5% Abusers & addicts are the main initiators & suppliers The vast majority of users never go beyond casual use ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 25
  24. 24. Structure of the illegal drugs marketplace Broad overlap between the soft drugs and hard drugs marketplaces Retail dealers often are heavy users who subsidize their own use 65 + Past Month use of illicit Drug 55-59 in US by Age Category -2010 45-49 MJ 35-39 cocaine 26-29 all 24 22 Transition from casual 20 to problem use Transition from 18 soft to hard drugs 16 Retail dealers of hard drugsDealers of soft drugs 14 Are the main initiators.often carry ecstasy andhallucinogens. 12MJ street dealers generallyoffer hard drugs as well. 0 10 20 30 The illegal marketplace supply chain incentivizes the transition from soft drugs to hard drugs and from casual use to problem use. Children & youths are most at risk. 26 ©Jeffrey Dhywood -
  25. 25. The illegal drug marketplace: A network marketing system• All transactions, especially at the highest levels, are done throughconnections• At every level, people only know their direct supplier and theirdirect customers• Those at the top make a lot of money• Those at the bottom barely survive, often merely subsidizing theirown use. They are the weakest link in the supply chain.• Retailers are the main users; they are the initiators of new usersand supply casual users ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 27
  26. 26. Structure of the illegal drugs marketplace (Hard drugs) ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 28
  27. 27. Structure of the illegal drugs marketplace • Organized crime controls most of the wholesale of illegal drugs, especially hard drugs. • Informal networks consists of independents producers and/or traders. Informal networks control a larger part of the marijuana trade, especially in the US and Canada. They control most of the market of psychedelics. • Abusers and addicts represent only 10% of the users, but 90% of the consumption. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 29
  28. 28. What is the rationale behind prohibition? Is there a logic to this madness? ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 30
  29. 29. Harm potential and legal status“While there is a clear rationale for a separate legal status for medications, the rationale for the distinction between substances that are under international control and those that are not is more problematic. The substances which are included in the international conventions reflect historical understandings in particular cultural settings about what should be viewed as uniquely dangerous or alien.”2004 WHO report “Neuroscience Of Psychoactive Substance Use And Dependence” ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 31
  30. 30. There are no clear relationships between the legal status of a substance and its intrinsic harm potential, the personal and societal harm it may inflict independently of its legal status 32
  31. 31. Global Health Risks Chartchart from the Global Health Risks report compares the top global health concerns using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) – Illicit drugs is number 18 Illicit drugs are a relatively minor Illicit drugs global health risk 33
  32. 32. Preventable deaths in the worldcause deaths affected population morbidity within the or users affected population (per 1,000)Malnutrition 6,000,000 1,000,000,000 6.00Tobacco 6,000,000 1,000,000,000 6.00Unintentional injuries (accidents) 3,340,000 Road traffic accidents 1,260,000 Drowning (excluding floods, boating and water transport) 450,000 Poisoning 315,000 Falls 283,000 Fire 238,000Overweight 3,000,000 1,500,000,000 2.00Alcohol 2,500,000 2,000,000,000 1.25Unsafe sex 2,444,000Intentional injuries / violence 1,659,000 Suicides 815,000 Homicides 520,000Adverse drug reactions 1,500,000illegal drugs 245,000 200,000,000 1.20 ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 34
  33. 33. 7,000 Preventable deaths in the world (in 1,000s) Unintentional injuries: 3,340,0006,000 Road Other traffic accidents, accidents, 794,000 Fire, 238, 1,260,0005,000 000 Intentional injuries - 1,659,000 Illegal drugs are a relatively minor Falls, 283 ,000 poisoning Drowning4,000 , 315,000 , 450,000 Others, 3 cause of preventable death 24,000 Suicides,3,000 homicides 815,000 , 520,0002,0001,000 - malnutrition tobacco Unintentional overweight alcohol unsafe sex Intentional Adverse drug illegal drugs injuries injuries reactions ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 35
  34. 34. Casualties related to illegal drugs The vast majority of deaths related to illegal drug use comes from injecting druguse and fall under 2 major causes:• Overdoses (mostly accidental and due of wide variation in concentration of illicitdrugs)• HIV-AIDS caused by hazardous administration practices, a direct consequence ofprohibition. Narco-violence: 100,000+/year (Mexico and Central America: 45,000/year) Most of the harm caused by illegal drugs derives from their illegal status.The World Health Organization (WHO), estimates deaths related to illicit drug use worldwide at 245,000 (overdoses, suicides and AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C).Victims of narco violence are not included in this total. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 36
  35. 35. Why?Why has a relatively minor social and lifestyle issue been so vilified?Why have so much attention and so many resources been thrown at this relatively minor issue while other more prominent causes of death receive far lower attention and far fewer resources?Why so much inflexibility?Has prohibition really reduced the spread of substance abuse?Would substance abuse be much worse without prohibition?If so, was it worth the huge price paid for it?Is the drug problem a relatively minor problem that has been blown out of proportion with catastrophic consequences? ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 37
  36. 36. Caricatures of the prohibitionist propaganda The prohibitionist propaganda systematically displays the dangers of drug use with harrowing cases But then, why is alcohol shown This way instead of this way? ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 38
  37. 37. Their drug use didn’t destroy their careers A drug conviction would certainly have ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 39
  38. 38. The accession of not one but three illegal drug users in a row to the USpresidency constitutes an existential challenge to the prohibitionistregime.The fact that some of the most successful people of our time, be it inbusiness, finances, politics, entertainment or the arts, are current orformer substance users is a fundamental refutation of its premises anda stinging rebuttal of its rationale.A criminal law that is broken at least once by 50% of the adultpopulation and that is broken on a regular basis by 20% of the sameadult population is a broken law, a fatally flawed law.How can a democratic government justify a law that is consistentlybroken by a substantial minority of the population? What we are witnessing here is a massive case of civil disobedience notseen since alcohol prohibition in the 1930 in the US.On what basis can a democratic system justify the stigmatization anddiscrimination of a strong minority of as much as 20% of its population? ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 40
  39. 39. Prohibition is the worst possible form of controlProhibition was the wrong answer to a real issue.• It gives control of the prohibited substances to organized crime with catastrophic consequences.• It spreads violence and corruption and increases exponentially the harm of drug use.Prohibition cannot work in a market economy.Organized societies should be able to do a better job than organized crime at managing and controlling potentially dangerous substances. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 41
  40. 40. Regulation of legal psychoactives Learning from the 3 existing models – their strengths, their flaws and limitations ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 42
  41. 41. Alcohol©Jeffrey Dhywood - 43
  42. 42. Alcohol• Highly normative, social lubricant of Westerncivilization, consistently glamorized.• Super-powerful Lobby strongly opposed to any reform• Taxation totally inadequate to social costs• Little restriction on use and marketing• Limited campaigns of education & prevention• Rapid growth of consumption in emerging countries ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 44
  43. 43. WHO conclusions on Alcohol regulationsFew places use effective policy measures to prevent death, disease and injury from alcohol use. Many countries have weak alcohol policies and prevention programs.Since 1999, restrictions on alcohol marketing and on drunk–driving have increased, but there are no clear trends on most preventive measures.Most useful and cost-effective strategies:(1) Regulating the marketing and availability of alcoholic beverages (in particular to younger people);(2) Drunk-driving laws;(3) Demand-reduction for alcohol through taxation;(4) Accessible and affordable treatment for alcohol dependence. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 45
  44. 44. Tobacco•A model of successful restriction of a powerful lobbywithout throwing anybody into jail.•Spectacular reduction of use in a growing number ofcountries. US prevalence of use decreased from over50% in 1950 to less than 20% in 2010.•Reduced normativity, deglamorized.•Restrictions on marketing and use in public spaces;education and prevention campaigns•High level of taxation, even if probably stillinsufficient to cover societal costs in most countries.•Use still rising in emerging countries due to lax regulations andpowerful tobacco lobby in some countries. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 46
  45. 45. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 47
  46. 46. Psycho-pharmaceuticalsNeuroscience: the Holy Grail of the medicalization ofnormalcy.A super-powerful lobby subsidized by health insurance inmost countriesEmergence of cosmetic psycho-pharmacology: the use ofmedicine to enhance physical, cognitive or mentalperformance raise the issue of the legitimacy ofrecreational or sybaritic use.Rapid increase of the world market for psycho-pharmaceuticals from $19 billion in 1997 to $137 billionin 2010 with projections for $300 billion by 2018.Abuse of psycho-pharmaceuticals now surpasses abuseof illicit drugs in many countries, affecting primarilychildren and the elderly. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 48
  47. 47. The third wayControlled legalization ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 49
  48. 48. What do we want to accomplish? Reduce crime & Reduce the harm crime-related caused by harm substance abuse These two goals are compatible and non-exclusive ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 50
  49. 49. The challenges of effective regulation• Decriminalization leaves control to organized crime. Only controlled legalization can reclaim control of production and trade of the currently illegal drugs.• We must learn from the 3 existing models of legalized psychoactives drugs (alcohol, tobacco and psycho- pharmaceuticals) to improve on these models and avoid their pitfalls and limitations.• Keeping at bay powerful commercial interests: The main threat to effective control in a legal market is not from black market interests but of the legal industry influencing politics over time to increase availability and, in turn, profitability. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 51
  50. 50. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 52
  51. 51. Model optimizationThe illegal drugs problem does not have a unique solution, but rather a continuum of possible outcomes under varying conditions. The one-size-fits-all prohibitionist approach doesn’t work. Drug policy reform must be a dynamic process, with a regulatory model that is adaptable to local conditions and can evolve over time as new circumstances demand.Pragmatism and practicality rather than principled moralism should be the leading guideline of policy-making.The objective of drug policy reform should be to create an optimized regulatory model that reclaims the control of illegal drugs from organized crime, creating and implementing practical and efficient mechanisms to manage and minimize societal costs. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 53
  52. 52. 3 major objectives of drug policy reformViolence and crime reduction: A properly controlled marketplace can reduce, dismantle and possibly eliminate the illegal drug market, which in turn will reduce the presence and influence of organized crime and reduce drug-related violence.Harm reduction: Safe and controlled legal access can reduce harm to existing users, reduce drug related deaths, improve the health of users/addicts, improve their social integration and reduce harm caused by problematic users to their proximate environment and to society at large.Prevention: Proper control and prevention can minimize access to minors, reducing or postponing initiation, which is a prerequisite for long-term improvement of the substance abuse issue. It will prevent moderate, responsible users from becoming problem users. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 54
  53. 53. The 5 pillars of controlled legalization• Legalize: reclaim control from organized crime• Tax: Reduce or eliminate the financial burden placed on taxpayers by the consequences of drug use and drug prohibition.• Control: Quality control, access control, marketing control• Prevent: Reduce and postpone initiation; prevent soft drugs users from moving to hard-drug use; prevent casual users from falling into abuse.• Treat: Reach out and early intervention on problem users• Educate the public about the dangers of substance abuse ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 55
  54. 54. Basic structure of a regulated marketplace• Focus on problematic use, with a special emphasis on preventing it in the first place, rather than trying to prevent all use of illicit drugs.• A strict separation between distribution and retail channels of soft drugs and hard drugs to minimize the transition from soft drugs to hard drugs.• A strict separation between casual users and problem users of hard drugs.• Supervised maintenance for problematic users (heavy users and addicts) of hard psychoactives. Such an approach offers many benefits that will be detailed underneath, chief among them, a dramatic reduction of initiation, which is the best warrant of long-term success.• Protection of children and youths, with strong prohibition of underage access and prevention of diversion, especially for hard drugs. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 56
  55. 55. Step 1 Separate soft drugs from hard drugs• Regains control of the largest segment of the illegal drug marketplace.• Establishes quality control, which eliminates intoxication due to adulteration.• Eliminates the marketplace-driven gateway effect from soft drugs to hard drugs• Allows focus on prevention of abuse• Nudges hard-drugs users towards milder substances.• Allows control of underage access ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 57
  56. 56. Considerations for soft drugs legalization and controlRestrictions: • Underage access (forbid sale, prevent diversion) • Operating under the influence (driving, etc.) • Zoning restrictions: proximity to schools, parks, sport facilities and venues where children tend to congregate • Marketing: Packaging, promotion, advertising, etc. • Use in public places • Opening hours • Quantity per customer and/or per purchaseEstablish purity, potency and active ingredients standardsRequire health warnings on packaging and other marketing material ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 58
  57. 57. Step 2 - Hard drugs management: The health and harm-reduction approachSubsidized access with supervised administration in specialized premises for problem users:• Establishes contact with vulnerable populations.• Facilitates reinsertion of marginalized populations into productive role in society.• Eliminates acquisitive crime.• Nudges abusers towards substitution and/or treatment.• Eliminates hazardous administration practices and reduces the spread of AIDS and other blood-borne infections.• Reduces the social contagion of substance abuse• Strict quality control eliminates intoxication and accidental overdoses ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 59
  58. 58. Benefits of subsidized supervisedaccess on the illegal drug marketplace• Removes the drug dealing necessity from problem users• Eliminates the social side of administration; reduces or eliminates the contagiousness of substance abuse, which in turn sharply reduces initiation.• Eliminates a supply source for casual users.• Removes the foot-soldiers from the illegal drugs marketplace.• Sharply reduces the illegal marketplace to the hazardous casual user market and far more hazardous initiates market. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 60
  59. 59. Challenges of supervised access• Issue of proper identification of problem users and filtering out of casual users.• Limited availability and/or excessive restrictions, demands or pressure on problem users may drive them away from the program and back to the illegal marketplace.• Risk of diversion by program operators and/or users if the program is not properly controlled.• Leaves program operators exposed to dangerous and tempting substances. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 61
  60. 60. Step 3 -Establish a highly restricted legal marketplace for casual users• May not include the most harmful substances and the most harmful modes of administration• Strict quality control eliminates intoxication and accidental overdoses• Accessible to registered users only• Require waiting period and clear warning to new users• High level of taxation• Restriction on purchase – maximum amount per purchase and/or per month• Restrictions and packaging can be designed to sharply reduce diversion• Strict control of access to minors ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 62
  61. 61. Benefits of restricted legal access for casual users• Postpone and reduce initiation• Allows early detection of accelerating patterns of use and problem use• Allows early intervention• Avoids marginalization of users• Eliminates the last remnants of the illegal drugs marketplace• Protect children from becoming foot-soldiers and cannon fodder of narco-trafficking. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 63
  62. 62. Is restricted legal access for casual users necessary?While the general public and politicians are warming up to the idea of legalizing soft drugs, especially in Western countries, there is generally a strong resistance to the legalization of hard drugs.The harm-reduction approach is gaining ground around the world and has been endorsed by the WHO while UNODC is warming up to the concept.The step 2 of our proposed roadmap, based on harm-reduction with prescription maintenance, would eliminate over 90% of the hard drugs market from the illegal marketplace, and remove most of its foot-soldiers and retailers. This in turn would reduce the residual illegal marketplace to casual users and initiates of hard drugs, a highly hazardous an unprofitable market.The legalization of soft drugs such as cannabis and the supervised subsidized access of hard drugs to abusers might sufficiently weaken the illegal drug trade to the point of essentially destroying it.Therefore, step 3 of our roadmap, restricted legal access for casual users, might be unnecessary. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 64
  63. 63. Breaking down the illicit drug marketplace SOFT DRUGS HARD DRUGS Strictly separate channels Casual use Problem use to discourage transition Prevent transition Controlled from soft to hard drugs.Adult use from casual use to subsidized access Strong restrictions on problem use. with supervised promotion & marketing High barrier of administration Transition from access. casual to problem Transition from Some diversion to soft to hard drugs Eliminate diversion underage to underage & is probably unavoidable Prevent diversion initiation Underage Prevention of underage use. Separating problem users from casual users Strict prohibition of sale to allows early intervention in case of minors. Efficient mechanisms accelerating pattern of use. Controlled to prevent diversion, especially for hard drugs. subsidized access prevents initiation. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 65
  64. 64. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 66
  65. 65. Prohibition v/s Controlled LegalizationProhibition  coercion Controlled legalization  NudgingForced transformation of human nature Respect of individual rights & lifestyle choices as longTotalitarianism: communism, fascism, prohibitionism as they do not intentionally endanger othersPropaganda, censorship, mass incarceration of Education, prevention, treatmentdeviantsProvokes: Rebellion/Resistance/deviance Promotes: voluntary cooperation, participationExclusion: Inclusion:Segregation, discrimination, persecution, demonization Reaches out to the most at-risk populationsMarginalizes the most at-risk populations Bring them to productive role in societyTurn them to crime careersAll actors of the supply chain are unknown, and The various agents of the supply chain are clearlyvirtually the entire population must potentially be identifiable; relatively light control apparatus iscontrolled, requiring an extremely heavy enforcement sufficient to ensure that they abide by the rules thatapparatus. govern them. Quality control issuesNo quality-control, unknown concentration and Known, quality-controlled products, safeadulterants, unsafe administration: administration intoxication through unknown adulterants Eliminates intoxication through unknown Accidental overdoses adulterants Epidemic spread of AIDS and other diseases Eliminates accidental overdose related to unsanitary administration practices to Reduce spread of AIDS and other diseases related users, their partners & their children to unsanitary administration practices ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 67
  66. 66. Legalization will not end organized crime But it will weaken it ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 68
  67. 67. Legalization and organized crimeLegalization will remove considerable resources from organized crime and weaken it substantially, but it won’t destroy it.While legalization will allow refocusing law enforcement efforts, it will also refocus organized crime; the drug cartels will expand their other activities – extortions, kidnapping, human trafficking, etc. Such activities are far less profitable and far more dangerous than narco-trafficking though, which will greatly reduce the profitability and therefore the appeal of criminal careers.Legalization will allow turning the tide, even if a long struggle will remain to curb organized crime to manageable levels.Countries such as Mexico will require deep structural changes to eradicate systemic corruption and impunity. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 69
  68. 68. After losing the war, can we win the peace? To win the peace means to reduce crime and violence, which in turns requires areduction in the number of criminals. To that effect:• Reduce the appeal and profitability of crime• Separate hardcore criminals from low-level operatives, offering them economicalternatives.• Reinsertion of repented criminals into society• Disarm and disband criminal organizations Countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia or possibly Mexico may require “Peaceand Reconciliation” programs to overturn the sub-cultures of violence prevalent inmany segments of the society and promote a more peaceful and inclusive society. Ultimately, the root causes of violence must be addressed: lack ofopportunities, poor education, poverty and inequality. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 70
  69. 69. Can Mexico learn from Colombia? Mexico Colombia• 3,000 km border with US • 2,500 km away from the US• Drug trafficking started in the • Drug trafficking started in the 1920s 1970s• Deeply-rooted links between organized crime and all levels • Deeply-rooted links between of government organized• Systemic and endemic crime, insurgencies, paramilita corruption ry militias and all levels of• Pervasive impunity – 1 in 10 government crime is reported; 1 in 10 reported crime leads to • Systemic and endemic conviction corruption • Pervasive impunity ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 71
  70. 70. How to get thereThe US has adopted over the past 20 years a de-facto piecemeal (and somewhat erratic) approach to drug policy reform. Marijuana is now legal for medical use in 18 states and fully legal in Washington and Colorado. Such a piecemeal approach is probably not a realistic option in the countries most affected by narco-violence, the transiting and producing countries.In order to be successful, legalization should be implemented by a coalition of countries with the intent to pressure the major consuming countries, the US and Europe, to reform their own drug policies.Short of that, legalization through most of South America, including Colombia, Central America and Mexico, would place the US in a quandary.I have been advocating since 2011 the creation of a broad Latino American coalition of the willing to reform, led by Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala.President Perez Molina of Guatemala has been working diligently since taking office in January 2012 towards a region-wide debate on legalization. Mexico and Colombia are still warming up to the idea and have failed to give their full support so far. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 72
  71. 71. ConclusionControlled legalization is not a seal of approval on drug use. Starting with junk food and tobacco, many things are legal while being generally disapproved. Replacing the uncontrollable illegal trade with a controlled marketplace is vastly different from saying that it’s OK and safe to use illicit drugs.Far from giving up and far from an endorsement, controlled legalization would be finally growing up; being realistic instead of being in denial; being in control instead of leaving control to the underworld.It would abolish the current regime of socialization of costs and privatization of profits to criminal enterprises, depriving them of their main source of income and making our world a safer place. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 73
  72. 72. Addressing substance abuse holisticallyIdeally, from a research and policy-making point of view, substance abuse should be viewed in its entirety rather than focusing solely or mostly on illegal drugs.It would be particularly instructive to study the evolution of substance abuse and its associated harm over the last century or even longer. ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 74
  73. 73. Find out more Twitter: @JDhywood Jeffrey Dhywood Investigative writer, author of “World War-D:The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization“ ©Jeffrey Dhywood - 75