Today in “Asked and Answered” (Drug War Edition)
Via the WSJ: Have We Lost the War on Drugs?
Answer: Yes, we have lost (and badly).
Of course, the entire notion of a “war” in this case was misplaced (to understate the matter by quite a bit) because there is no way to win, if winning is supposed to look anything at all like a halt to drug use (or even a substantial diminution thereof).
It is only a “win” if the goal was to increase the prison populations and to increase violence and organized crime in Colombia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Or if one’s goal was to continually break drug seizure records (’cause we are constantly breaking those). Also: the wholly thing is winning! if one likes spending billions upon billions of dollars to achieve all of these outcomes.
One place to start, if we ever do decide to start to rationalize our drug policies, is to recognize that the utter elimination of drug abuse is impossible and therefore, any policy goals have to take that fact into consideration before defining “success.”