News release. No Embargo. Date: 31 May 2011
Tel: 0117 325 0295 or 07970 174747
War on Drugs - Obama and Cameron can leave a legacy of peace
On Thursday 2 June the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a panel of world leaders and politicians, will host a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York to launch a report that describes the drug war as a failure, and calls for a paradigm shift in global drug policy, including the decriminalisation and legal regulation of drugs.
Transform Drug Policy Foundation welcomes the report, because fifty years of global prohibition have resulted in massive levels of crime, destabilised entire nation states, created huge health harms, criminalised 250 million users, and wasted trillions of dollars.
Danny Kushlick, Head of External Affairs said: “This report is a watershed moment that puts legal regulation of drugs onto the mainstream political agenda worldwide.
“Globally we spend $100 billion a year on the war on drugs, so if we carry on as we are, over the next decade we will waste a trillion dollars increasing insecurity, damaging development and promoting crime and ill-health in some of the most disadvantaged places on earth.
“We call on UK party political leaders to call a ceasefire in their political point scoring, and instead unite to explore peaceful and effective alternatives to the war on drugs.
“The UK Government is also in the perfect position to bring the US to the table to negotiate an end to the war on drugs and a Marshall Plan to consolidate the peace. In 2002 David Cameron called for the UN to debate legal regulation, and in 2004 President Obama described the war on drugs as an “utter failure”. Cameron and Obama now have the greatest opportunity ever to use the ‘essential relationship’ to find a peaceful solution to the longest conflict of modern times. Ending the war on drugs and bringing peace to some of the most violent places in the world would be a truly great legacy.”
Danny Kushlick, Head of External Affairs (+44) 07970 174747
Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst (+44) 07980 213943
Notes for Editors:
1. For full details of the Global Commission on Drugs report and press conference see http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2011/05/former-presidents-of-brazil-colombia.html
2. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is an NGO with special consultative status at the United Nations www.tdpf.org.uk
3. Count the Costs is a global campaign supported by 30 NGOs exposing the costs of the war on drugs: www.countthecosts.org
4. David Cameron
Parliamentary debate, December 5th 2002, when David Cameron told the House of Commons, "I ask the [Labour] Government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried, and we all know that it does not work."
As a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into drug misuse in 2002, Cameron voted in favour of recommendation 24:
"24. We recommend that the Government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways—including the possibility of legalisation and regulation—to tackle the global drugs dilemma (paragraph 267)."
"Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades."
5. President Barack Obama
"The war on drugs has been an utter failure":
6. Supporters of Reform
For a list of political leaders, professional and faith leaders, and celebrities backing an end to the war on drugs see: http://tdpf.org.uk/MediaNews_Reform_supporters.htm