Yesterday, I followed a tweet from Newark Mayor Cory Booker to a documentary called "Break The Taboo", about the war on drugs.
Sat on a panel with @RichardBranson last night for the premiere of this film about the failure of the war on drugsIt is a stunning hour long look at what a huge failure the war has been (illegal drug use has been on the rise for decades), and the devastating effects it's had on neighborhoods and countries across the world.
In an article on CNN.com from September of 2011, the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 22 million people aged 12 and over use drugs like pot, cocaine, heroin and meth in the US.
While cocaine and meth use have continued to decline over the past decade, marijuana use is on the increase. Most "drug warriors" find this statistic alarming, due to some states legalizing medical marijuana use.
Gil Kerlikowske, our current drug czar, said:
Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use,” his statement said. “I urge every family - but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug political campaigns - to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal drug use.http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/...
After watching this documentary, I came away with a much more heightened sense of awareness about the actual cost of this war, in human lives, on our environment, and in the cost to our economies, all over the world.
The filmakers interviewed past and present leaders of countries from South America, the US, Mexico, Russia and Europe, who were together for a conference in Poland called Global Commission on Drug Policy . All of them are looking at different ways to address these problems, and legalizing is one of the obvious answers.
The list of attendees was impressive- César Gaviria, former president of Columbia, Kofi Annon, former SG of the UN, Fernando Cardoso, former president of Brazil, and Ruth Dreifuss, former president of Switzerland and Minister of Foreign Affairs, among others.
Featured in the documentary are Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Here are their "principles and recommendations":
End the criminalization, marginalizationAfter watching this documentary, even people who object to the use of drugs (while condoning alcohol and other legal drug use) will see that the war on drugs is a huge failure, costing $2.5 TRILLION dollars and millions of lives wasted.
and stigmatization of people who use drugs
but who do no harm to others. Challenge
rather than reinforce common misconceptions
about drug markets, drug use and
Encourage experimentation by governments
with models of legal regulation of drugs to
undermine the power of organized crime
and safeguard the health and security of
their citizens. This recommendation applies
especially to cannabis, but we also encourage
other experiments in decriminalization and
legal regulation that can accomplish these
objectives and provide models for others.
Offer health and treatment services to those
in need. Ensure that a variety of treatment
modalities are available, including not just
methadone and buprenorphine treatment but
also the heroin-assisted treatment programs
that have proven successful in many European
countries and Canada. Implement syringe
access and other harm reduction measures
that have proven effective in reducing
transmission of HIV and other blood-borne
infections as well as fatal overdoses. Respect
the human rights of people who use drugs.
Abolish abusive practices carried out in the
name of treatment – such as forced detention, forced labor, and physical or psychological abuse – that contravene human rights
standards and norms or that remove the
right to self-determination.
Here is the trailer to give you a sampling:
And the full length documentary: