Nobel economists, others urge end to 'war on drugs'

Mon May 5, 2014 7:08pm EDT
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By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) - Global efforts to thwart the drugs trade have failed and the time has come for a radical rethink, according to a group of Nobel-prize winning economists, a former U.S secretary of state, the deputy prime minister of Britain and others.

"It is time to end the ‘war on drugs’ and massively redirect resources toward effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis," the group said in a foreword to a new academic report on global anti-drugs policies.

Citing mass drug-related incarceration in the United States, corruption and violence in developing countries and an HIV epidemic in Russia, the group urged the United Nations to drop its "repressive, one-size-fits-all approach" to tackling drugs.

The U.N. is due to hold a drug policy summit in 2016. Debate on the merits of drugs liberalization is already growing.

"(The U.N.) 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 foreword said.

Signatories of the text included five Nobel-prize winning economists - among them Kenneth Arrow, Christopher Pissarides and Thomas Schelling - as well as former U.S secretary of state George Schultz, British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Javier Solana, a former European Union foreign policy chief.

It accompanied a report on the impact of global anti-drug policies published by the London School of Economics on Tuesday.

Some countries in Latin America have begun to turn away from U.S-led attempts to stamp out drugs through prohibition.   Continued...