The war on the drugs is failing miserably: Narcotics use rose by 35% worldwide from 1998-2008, in spite of anti-drug efforts. A new Global Commission on Drug Policy report says that that anti-drug policies have failed by encouraging organized crime, the fighting of which costs taxpayers millions of dollars and leads to thousands of deaths. The report calls for the legalization of some drugs and an end to the criminalization of drug users. Addicts need to be treated like patients, not criminals.
In BBC News, Adam Mynott quotes former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria as saying, "We hope (the US) at least starts to think there are alternatives." According to the report, "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won."
Meanwhile, a group of university scientists are studying the "sacred mushroom" chemical psilocybin, which is capable of yielding positive, life-changing experiences. This substance is found in certain psychoactive mushrooms and used for centuries in various cultures for divinatory, healing, and religious purposes. 89% of the volunteers who took the drug reported positive changes in their behaviors, and those reports were corroborated by family members or others. The behavior changes most frequently cited were improved relationships with family and others, increased physical and psychological self-care, and increased devotion to spiritual practice (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this incredible show about a book that was nearly banned from publication in the US, thanks to the War on Drugs).