Brazil must legalise drugs – its existing policy just destroys lives

For decades, guns and imprisonment have been the hallmarks of Brazil’s war against the drug trafficking. But the only way to beat the gangs is to stop creating criminals, says a top Brazilian judge
The Guardian (UK)
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The war raging in Rocinha, Latin America’s largest favela, has already been lost. Rooted in a dispute between gangs for control of drug trafficking, it has disrupted the daily life of the community in Rio de Janeiro since mid-September. With the sound of shots coming from all sides, schools and shops are constantly forced to close. The war is not the only thing being lost. For decades, Brazil has had the same drug policy approach. Police, weapons and numerous arrests. It does not take an expert to conclude the obvious: the strategy has failed. Drug trafficking and consumption have only increased. "The insanity of Brazil’s drug policy is striking," says Brazilian supreme court judge Luís Roberto Barroso.