The war on drugs has failed: doctors should lead calls for drug policy reform

Evidence and ethics should inform policies that promote health and respect dignity
British Medical Journal (BMJ)
Monday, November 14, 2016

bmjThree United Nations treaties, the oldest from 1961, seek to "advance the health and welfare of mankind" by prohibiting the non-medical use of some drugs. To this end, countries criminalise producers, traffickers, dealers, and users at an annual cost of at least $100bn. But the effectiveness of prohibition laws must be judged on outcomes. And too often the war on drugs plays out as a war on the millions of people who use drugs, and disproportionately on people who are poor or from ethnic minorities and on women.