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Narcotic Legalization Could Result in Higher Death Toll, UN Anti-Drug Chief Says

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Moves to legalise narcotics could lead to increased consumption and more deaths, the U.N. anti-drugs chief said on Monday, challenging a global commission's recommendation that the use of some drugs like cannabis be legally regulated.

    In a report last month, the non-governmental Global Commission on Drug Policy advised allowing "experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs" including cannabis and certain so-called psychoactive substances.

    "New experiments are needed in allowing legal but restricted access to drugs that are now only available illegally," concluded the panel, chaired by Brazilian ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and including former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

    But Yury Fedotov, head of the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told a news conference, "I believe that such experimentation certainly will make drugs more available and (cheaper)." He added: "It means that we may face increased consumption of psychoactive substances which may result in more death and more suffering of individuals (and) their families."

    Marketed as "designer drugs" and "legal highs", new psychoactive substances can be made by slightly modifying the molecular structure of controlled drugs, making a new drug with similar effects which can elude national and international bans. There is disagreement on how to best counter the world's narcotics problem, with critics questioning a "war on drugs" and advocating some legalisation to try to undermine criminal gangs that thrive on narcotics trafficking.

    In Latin America, the legalisation of some narcotics is increasingly seen by regional leaders as a possible way to end the violence that plagues the cocaine trade. "There is a growing perception that the 'war on drugs' approach has failed," the Global Commission on Drug Policy said on its website (www.globalcommissionondrugs.org), adding that criminalisation did not reduce drug use. In many countries the harm caused by drug prohibition in terms of corruption, violence and violation of human rights largely exceeds the harm caused by drugs."

    In a move being closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalisation, Uruguay's parliament last year approved a bill to legalise and regulate the production and sale of marijuana - the first country to do so. Aimed at wresting the business from criminals, the small South American nation has gone further than countries that have decriminalised possession or, like the Netherlands, tolerate the sale of marijuana in "coffee shops".

    In the United States, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalised the sale of cannabis under licence, but Federal laws prohibiting it are still in place.

    The UNODC said in a June report that more Americans are consuming cannabis as their perception of the health risks declines, suggesting liberalisation may further increase its use among the young.

    By Fredrik Dahl - Reuters via Trust.Org/Oct. 6, 2014
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. methylman251
    Is it just me or is it becoming increasingly apparently the only people who are out there going to such extremes as blatantly lying about drugs and employing fear campaigns that are grossly exaggerated are those who have been given too much power, too much money or both in the war on drug USERS (if you can't take out the kingpins but we have all these guns, we have to use them on somebody right?)? I find it hard to believe that esteemed figures such as the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have concern for anything other than their job security....

    I wish I could be a journalist for just one day so I could ask these people the tough questions like 'you stand to lose a huge amount if drugs were legalized, what steps have you taken to ensure this conflict of interest doesn't interfere with your work?'
  2. Waiting For The Fall
    "Religion is the opiate of the masses," Ghandi once said. And coupled with these scary news handouts, which the press is eager to push onto these already opiated know nothings, will keep them comfortable knowing that as long as they don't do drugs they will be saved. And you shouldn't, either! And so the dogma goes... Once more the job is secure for the time being.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    I so feel what you're saying. But truth is, lots of quality political journalists have asked those questions, which never get answered honestly. Then they are are shuffled off for their efforts by the body guards of powerful fools such as him. Power, money and celebrity truths are hard--to near-impossible to nail down, a sad fact of life. Very hard for any single person to box the machine politic.

  4. Synesthesiac
    All that would happen if drugs were legalized is, yes, for a while use would go up. Shock. Horror. However due to the legislative change people would not only be better informed about the drug they are using but the quality would likely be better/regulated, and so it's far less likely people will end up in emergency situations than they currently do (more than 90% of hospital admissions are due to people taking something they had no clue they were taking from blood test results). And after the initial craze has worn off I would not be surprised if we see a similar situation to what we saw in the Netherlands and Portugal when they decriminalized and semi-legalized MJ, after the initial spike of interest it dropped to less use than before the change. They succeeded in making using MJ seem culturally not cool, so less people ended up using it than before.
  5. inazone
    When I was growing up in the late 70`s there was a veritable plethora of psychedelic substances from PCP to LSD, Downers such as Quaaludes to over a dozen pharmaceutical Amphetamines. While not all of these substances were legal the laws enforcing them were lax. The drug culture back then were I lived was self -regulating. People did sell these drugs but access was denied to those people who were deemed irresponsible for the most part. I noticed as the drug laws were getting tougher, many previous users moved away from the drug scene as did self regulation. Many of todays drug user`s in my humble opinion blame the drugs for their actions rather than accept responsibility. I think this is in part a cultural phenomenon brought on by years of "Just Say No" along with "This is Your Brain on Drugs" followed by the fried egg. And the general Anti- Drug Philosophy that Drugs handle you rather than focusing on ur ability to handle the consequences of responsible Drug Use, gradually gave way to the theories of "its not your fault that you can not control your urges because you have a disease -or- you can not control addiction as it control you. I do believe there is a small but significant group affected in this manner. I also believe the people who occasionally used psychotropic substance`s to expand and/or test the limits of their consciousness would cautiously resume this occasional experimentation if legally allowed to do so. This is not say some may not fare as well as others. Just as most people here are aware of the bell curve, most of us fit into the middle while some excel on the far edges, some also fall apart, The point is most of us succeed. The real question is this; is mind expansion worth the cost, I believe anything that advances our self-understanding & awareness is in itself a virtue. Provided the user is informed of the substance and it consequences.
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