9 Things We've Learned From a 50-Year War on Drugs

Across the Americas, the model of prohibition has fuelled inequality, bloodshed, and the mass violation of human rights. We need to understand why it has failed. 

Why has the ‘war on drugs’ in the Americas actually increased the militarisation and bloodshed associated with drug trafficking? By creating an enormous illegal market controlled by complex and increasingly powerful criminal groups, violent conflicts have intensified across the region. At the same time, repressive policies have violated the human rights of tens of thousands of people. Here are nine lessons we’ve learned from 50 years of drug wars, drawn from a joint report by 17 organisations from 11 countries in the Americas.

1. Militarised state action actually increases the violence

Consider Mexico. Here, the war against drug trafficking has led to more than 70,000 murders as well as major infringements on millions of people’s liberty and security. In 2006, president Felipe...

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