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With aid of these distinctions, we see that present drug policy appears to contribute to the increase of violence in our communities.It does so by permitting and indeed, causing the drug trade to remain a lucrative source of economic opportunity for street dealers, drug kingpins and all those willing to engage in the often violent, illicit, black market trade.In the 50-year period following the first 1912 international convention restricting use of opium, heroin and cocaine, the United States' use of illicit drugs other than cannabis was consistently below 0.5% of the population, with cannabis rising to 1–2% of the population between 19. With illicit drug use peaking in the 1970s in the United States, the "Just Say No" campaign, initiated under the patronage of Nancy Reagan, coincided with recent (past month) illicit drug use decreases from 14.1% in 1979 to 5.8% in 1992, a drop of 60%.
Meanwhile, the effect of present policy serves to stigmatize and marginalize drug users, thereby inhibiting and undermining the efforts of many such individuals to remain or become productive, gainfully employed members of society.
Furthermore, current policy has not only failed to provide adequate access to treatment for substance abuse, it has, in many ways, rendered the obtaining of such treatment, and of other medical services, more difficult and even dangerous to pursue.
Danny Kushlik, head of external affairs at Transform, said the intervention of senior medical professionals was significant.
He said: "Sir Ian's statement is yet another nail in prohibition's coffin. Physicians are duty bound to speak out if the outcomes show that prohibition causes more harm than it reduces." Nicholas Green, chairman of the Bar Council, made comments in a report in the profession's magazine, in which he said that drug-related crime costs the UK economy about £13bn a year and that there was growing evidence that decriminalisation could free up police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health.
These conclusions have been reached by a succession of committees and reports including, in the United Kingdom alone, the Police Foundation, the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, the Royal Society of Arts, and the UK Drug Policy Consortium.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has also acknowledged the many "unintended negative consequences" of drug enforcement. Fiona Godlee, gave her personal support to Rolles' call for decriminalisation, and the arguments drew particular support from Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, who said we should be treating drugs "as a health issue rather than criminalising people" and "this could drastically reduce crime and improve health".
In response to claims that prohibition can work, as argued by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, who drew attention to the drug policy of Sweden, Henrik Tham has written that sometimes it's domestically important to stress drug policy as successful; in the case of Sweden, where this notion is important, such claims serve "the function of strengthening a threatened national identity in a situation where the traditional 'Swedish model' has come under increasingly hard attack from both inside and outside the country." Tham questions the success of the Swedish model – "The shift in Swedish drug policy since around 1980" ...(more difficult to receive nolle prosequi for minor drug crimes) ..."towards a more strict model has according to the official point of view been successful by comparison with the earlier, more lenient drug policy.
However, available systematic indicators show that the prevalence of drug use has increased since around 1980, that the decrease in drug incidence was particularly marked during the 1970s and that some indicators point towards an increase during the 1990s." Leif Lenke and Börje Olsson from Stockholm University have conducted research that showed how drug use have followed the youth unemployment in close correlation.
Notwithstanding the vast public resources expended on the enforcement of penal statutes against users and distributors of controlled substances, contemporary drug policy appears to have failed, even on its own terms, in a number of notable respects.
These include: minimal reduction in the consumption of controlled substances; failure to reduce violent crime; failure to markedly reduce drug importation, distribution and street-level drug sales; failure to reduce the widespread availability of drugs to potential users; failure to deter individuals from becoming involved in the drug trade; failure to impact upon the huge profits and financial opportunity available to individual "entrepreneurs" and organized underworld organizations through engaging in the illicit drug trade; the expenditure of great amounts of increasingly limited public resources in pursuit of a cost-intensive "penal" or "law-enforcement" based policy; failure to provide meaningful treatment and other assistance to substance abusers and their families; and failure to provide meaningful alternative economic opportunities to those attracted to the drug trade for lack of other available avenues for financial advancement.