In the latest UN report, the estimated death rate from drug use is 200,000 per year while deaths from alcohol is 1000% higher. Tobacco deaths are 2000% higher. Also alcohol & tobacco has addiction rates at 500-600% higher than illicit drugs. What surprised me most from this report was that parts of it that were surprisingly different to the usual preaching that total abstinence was the only approach. The UN usually fail dismally to realistically address the current illicit drug situation worldwide, relying mainly on the law & order issues. The UN are accustom to taking the views of the US government and manipulating statistical data to push those views. This report had a few promising statements from UN anti-drugs head Antonio Maria Costa pushing harm minimisation over zero tolerance. They might be finally feeling the pressure from other countries besides the US to have a change of strategy but the report was still basically an extension of US drug policy.
UN anti-drugs head Antonio Maria Costa:
"A multilateral approach was needed and a stronger focus on health..."
Mixing in promising outcomes with the standard unworkable strategies is maybe a new approach?:
"The eradication of poverty must go hand-in-hand with the eradication of the drug crops,''
Not surprisingly, the standard rhetoric used for nearly 40 years gets trotted out:
"Despite the progress, we still have a long way to go to protect our societies from the health and security threats stemming from drugs.''
Nearly four decades have gone by since the US led, the 'War on Drugs' started in the US and became the model for the UN. Millions have lost their lives as a direct result and the effects of such a brutal, limited solution has changed many societies for ever. Millions of non violent people in jail, the rapid spread of HIVAIDS, millions of untreated mental health patients, military style fighting in city suburbs, underground drug cultures and more. All this to stop such a minute number of people relative to other more important problems.
Irony at it's best:
"While drugs are a serious global problem, the number of users worldwide is relatively small and drug-related deaths are only a fraction of those caused by alcohol, tobacco or AIDS"
A certain question will keep getting asked until the UN takes on real workable strategies that are suggested thousands of times each year by the world's experts:
If the current strategy has never worked in 37 years, why haven't we tried something different?