Why The War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure

Find out about the advantages on harm reduction as opposed to the war on drugs approach


The war against drugs has been a terrible disaster for everybody involved. Why? And can we do something differently?

Here is a 6-minute video about the advantages of harm reduction as opposed to the drug war approach.

The core strategy of the war on drugs is: No drugs – no problems!

So almost all of the efforts in the past few decades have been focused on eradicating the supply of drugs incarcerating drug traffickers.  But this ignores the most fundamental of market forces – supply and demand. If you reduce the supply of anything without reducing the demand first its price goes up, this might lower sales for many products, but not for drugs. The drug market is not price sensitive, drugs will be consumed no matter what they cost, so the effect is to encourage production of more drugs and recruitment of more traffickers which increases availability. This is also known as the balloon effect (The Balloon Effect explained: http://bit.ly/1SfnP3b).

Many of the problems we associate with drug use are actually caused by the war against them. For example, prohibition makes drugs stronger. The prohibition of drugs has also led to more violence and murders around the world.

Is there actually something different we can do? Is there a way out of this mess?

In the1980s Swiss authorities tried a new strategy – Harm Reduction. The results were a sharp drop in drug related crime and two thirds of the people in the centers (after receiving medical and social care) got jobs, because now they could focus on getting better instead of financing their addiction. Today over 70% of heroine addicts in Switzerland receive treatment , HIV infections have dropped drastically, death from heroin overdoses dropped by 50% and drug related street sex work and crime has been reduces enormously. So there are methods that are not only way cheaper, but though actually work instead of creating more problems.

After 40 years of fighting it’s about time to stop the war on drugs and move on to something better.

Check out the Stop The Harm campaign to find out how you can influence the drug policy: https://stoptheharm.org

Further reading on the drug war:

Nixon on the war on drugs: http://bit.ly/1QRJcZ7

The Economics Behind War on Drugs: http://bit.ly/1VOJiPk

Black Kids get more often arrested for drug offenses: http://brook.gs/1ppiPH6 & http://bit.ly/1kJs83H

World Drug Report: http://bit.ly/1QY97NU

Global supply of drugs: http://bit.ly/1OLXq6u

Four pillars drug strategy: http://bit.ly/1Qkhh0y