American war on drugs has ‘harmed public health’
According to a new report the American war on drugs has had negative effects on public health in the country; making this new report another valuable point for the abolishment of theirs and other countries’ drug policies.
The report was put together by medical journal The Lancet and Johns Hopkins University. The report focuses on how the harsh laws have damaged public health. It suggests that sending people to prison for minor drug offenses has greatly contributed to the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV.
The writers of the report are calling for something they are referring to as a ‘regulated market’ for cannabis. Currently there is a global movement towards the decriminalising of the plant; and the trial for legalisation of cannabis is scheduled to kick off in South Africa this year too.
“The global ‘war on drugs’ has harmed public health, human rights and development. It’s time for us to rethink our approach to global drug policies, and put scientific evidence and public health at the heart of drug policy discussions.” Said Dr Chris Beyrer from John Hopkins
Portugal is an example of a country that has been a bit ahead of the curve with decriminalising drug use. This policy has been in place since 2001 and if you are found with heroin, cocaine, or cannabis then you would have the option of receiving health care and perhaps recovery, instead of being arrested and sent to jail.
The report also highlights that the war on drugs contributes to the high incarceration rates experienced in America. Prison rates in the United States are the highest in the world at 724 people per 100,000.
The war on drugs has proven itself an outdated and toxic pre-election rally cry used by presidential hopefuls when campaigning for public approval and votes. The harsh sentencing experienced in most of the world for drug offenses is perplexing when murderers and rapists get much lower sentencing by comparison.
The more that academic institutions publicly speak out about it and write journals on the topic the better the chances of influencing policy and law makers.