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War on Drugs 'failed' thanks to cheaper, powerful highs

The War on Drugs — a failure. Researchers say worldwide it’s much cheaper to get high now than the last several decades, and you can get more powerful stuff now, too.

"Now, researchers say the war on drugs has heightened crime, corruption and violence, but done little to control the sale of drugs.” (Via WPMT)

U.S. and Canadian researchers published the study about seven different regions worldwide Tuesday in the British Medical Journal Open. In the United States alone, they looked into the prices and purity of heroin, cocaine and marijuana from 1990 to 2007. Even adjusting for inflation, those prices fell 81, 80 and 86 percent, respectively. Yet two drugs’ potency skyrocketed, especially pot at 161 percent. (Via British Medical Journal Open)

Some law enforcement officers continue to call on governments to legalize and regulate some drugs. The executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — or LEAP — told CNN this summer drugs should be treated as a public health crisis, not a criminal justice issue. (Via CNN)

“We have spent our careers on the front lines of the war on drugs. We have decimated communities, mainly poor communities and black communities. You know, and it’s time for a change.”

So how much have we spent on this failing war? No one seems to agree.

The White House says the National Drug Intelligence Center puts the cost at $193 billion in 2007 alone. That includes not just spending on law enforcement, but also lost productivity and health care. (Via The White House)

The non-profit Drug Policy Alliance puts federal and state spending at $1 trillion over the last four decades. (Via Drug Policy Alliance)

But perhaps we should fall back on the study itself. Researchers conclude their findings “suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing.”

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