Treating addicts as criminals has done absolutely nothing to address this crisis, writes Richard Branson.
Just as prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States in the 1920s, the war on drugs has failed globally. Over the past 50 years, more than $1 trillion has been spent fighting this battle, and all we have to show for it is increased drug use, overflowing jails, billions of pounds and dollars of taxpayers’ money wasted, and thriving crime syndicates. It is time for a new approach.
Too many of our leaders worldwide are ignoring policy reforms that could rapidly reduce violence and organised crime, cut down on theft, improve public health and reduce the use of illicit drugs. They are failing to act because the reforms that are needed centre on decriminalising drug use and treating it as a health problem. They are scared to take a stand that might seem “soft”.