The numbers don’t lie: It’s time to end the harmful and ineffective “war on drugs.” Take it from five Nobel Prize–winning economists.
A new report from the London School of Economics, Ending the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy, includes an appeal from five Nobel laureates and other leading experts to experiment with alternative policies.
“It is time to end the ‘war on drugs’ and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis,” the report states. “The pursuit of a militarized and enforcement-led global war on drugs strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage.”
The report, supported by the Open Society Foundations, quantifies the links between failed drug policies and violence, displacement, mass incarceration, and public health epidemics. It concludes that governments must rethink harmful punitive policies and develop an increased focus on security, economic development, and human rights.
As governments around the world are increasingly experimenting with fully taxed and regulated cannabis markets, the report suggests policymakers rigorously monitor these experiments to see what can be learned or adopted.
Ending the War on Drugs was presented by the London School of Economics to the Interior Minister of Guatemala, which has been among those governments demanding a UN review of the drug control system, due to take place at a special session in 2016.
“The United Nations has for too long tried to enforce a repressive, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” write the Nobelists. “It must now take the lead in advocating a new cooperative international framework based on the fundamental acceptance that different policies will work for different countries and regions.”
The Nobel laureates who endorsed the report are Kenneth Arrow, Christopher Pissarides, Thomas Schelling, Vernon Smith, and Oliver Williamson. Other signatories include renowned economists, political scientists, and human rights experts from around the world.