Asked and Answered, WDR Edition

Will we ever eliminate or sharply reduce drug supply and demand?

From the 2010 World Drug Report’s Executive Summary:

In 1998, a special session of the UN General Assembly decided to work towards the “elimination or significant reduction” of illicit drug production and abuse by 2008,and adopted a series of sectoral plans to reach that objective. Gathered at the end of the 10-year period, Member States were not satisfied with the results and declared that they were still “gravely concerned about the growing threat posed by the world drug problem.” The decision was taken to continue the effort over the following decade.

Can overall drug supply and demand be “eliminated or significantly reduced” by 2019, as called for by the Member States?

No, no it can’t.  Next question?

Indeed, the notion that we will ever be able to eliminate or significantly reduce drug supply and demand ever is misguided and is at the heart of the failure in US (and international) drug war policies.  We spend billions to maintain (at best) the status quo over the long haul (with victories, of a sort, here and there).  This continues to strike me as poor use of resources.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Pete says:

    Just think how many jobs would be lost by canceling the War on Drugs!

  2. matt says:

    Indeed the prison industrial complex and the police industrial complex would be hit particularly hard. 🙁

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “Indeed the prison industrial complex and the police industrial complex would be hit particularly hard.”

    This is so true…how much discussion is out there about how the War on Drugs, much like our military-industrial complex, have both outlived much of their usefulness as they have turned into little more than huge jobs programs…