'War on drugs' a failure, Nobel winners warn

May 6, 2014

The global "war on drugs" has been a catastrophic failure and world leaders must rethink their approach, a group including five Nobel Prize-winning economists, Britain's deputy prime minister and a former US secretary of state said Tuesday.

An academic report published by the London School of Economics (LSE) called "Ending the Drug Wars" pointed to violence in Afghanistan, Latin America and other regions as evidence of the need for a new approach.

"It is time to end the 'war on drugs' and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis," they said in a foreword to the report.

"The pursuit of a militarised and enforcement-led global 'war on drugs' strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage."

The report said "rigorously monitored" experiments with legalisation and a focus on public health, minimising the impact of the illegal drug trade, were key ways of tackling the problem instead.

The report was signed by George Shultz, the US secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former NATO and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

It was also signed by Nobel economics prize winners Kenneth Arrow (1972), Christopher Pissarides (2010), Thomas Schelling (2005) Vernon Smith (2002) and Oliver Williamson (2009).

The report cited the large drug-related prison population in the United States, political repression in Asia, corruption and unrest Afghanistan and west Africa, violence in Latin America, HIV infections in Russia and even a global shortage of pain medication as spin-offs from the war on drugs.

"The drug war's failure has been recognised by professionals, security experts, human rights authorities and now some of the world's most respected economists," said John Collins, coordinator of international drug policy at the LSE.

"Leaders need to recognise that toeing the line on current control strategies comes with extraordinary human and financial costs to their citizens and economies."

Explore further: 'War on drugs' is fueling HIV epidemic: report

Related Stories

'War on drugs' is fueling HIV epidemic: report

June 26, 2012
A pressure group that includes six former presidents called Tuesday for the United Nations to acknowledge that "repressive drug law enforcement" was driving an HIV/AIDS pandemic.

New designer drugs multiplying, testing authorities, UN says

June 26, 2013
New drugs marketed as "legal highs" and "designer drugs" are emerging fast and in great numbers, and authorities are struggling to keep up, a new UN report warned Wednesday.

Global 'war on drugs' a failure, future in regulation, prevention: experts

October 24, 2012
The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), a new international lobby group for liberalisation, called Wednesday for what it termed the failed war on drugs to be replaced by policies oriented to regulation and prevention.

Drug trafficking corrupts Kyrgyzstan's politics and underworld

March 18, 2014
Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked and mountainous country in Central Asia, serves a powerful role in the Eurasian drug trade by playing the "mule" that carts heroin and other opiates between Afghanistan and Russia. Many researchers ...

IAS urges Russian government to radically reassess counterproductive drug policies

June 27, 2011
28 June 2011. Geneva, Switzerland. As Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Russian state Duma, calls for a "total war on drugs" to tackle Russia's growing drug problem, the International AIDS Society (IAS) urges the Russian government ...

Recommended for you

Findings link aldosterone with alcohol use disorder

July 18, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute ...

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

July 17, 2017
A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.

Why does prenatal alcohol exposure increase the likelihood of addiction?

July 7, 2017
One of the many negative consequences when fetuses are exposed to alcohol in the womb is an increased risk for drug addiction later in life. Neuroscientists in the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions are ...

Researchers say U.S. policies on drugs and addiction could use a dose of neuroscience

June 23, 2017
Tens of thousands of Americans die from drug overdoses every year – around 50,000 in 2015 – and the number has been steadily climbing for at least the last decade and a half, according to the National Institute on Drug ...

Study provides further support for genetic factors underlying addictions

June 13, 2017
Impairment of a particular gene raises increases susceptibility to opioid addiction liability as well as vulnerability to binge eating according to a new study.

From pill to needle: Prescription opioid epidemic may be increasing drug injection

May 8, 2017
The prescription opioid epidemic is shrinking the time it used to take drug users to progress to drug injection, a new Keck School of Medicine of USC-led study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.