US War on Drugs Has Failed: Report

Americans urged to focus on treatment, prevention, gun sales
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2008 8:42 AM CST
Francisco Flores, 42, who was deported in 1996 from the US gets a shot of heroin on the Tijuana River basin near the US-Mexico border in Tijuana earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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(Newser) – America is treating the symptoms rather than the disease of drug use, and its war on drugs will continue to fail unless it changes course, a new report by an influential Washington think tank finds. The report urges the US to develop stronger ties in the Caribbean and Latin America, where drug-interdiction efforts have suffered under the Bush administration, the LA Times reports.

Drug-fighting efforts are doomed to fail unless the problem of domestic consumption is attacked with as much zeal as the traffickers are, says the Brookings Institution report, whose co-author is Ernesto Zedillo, a former Mexican president who criticizes the American approach as "asymmetrical." "The only long-run solution to the problem of illegal narcotics is to reduce the demand for drugs in the major consuming countries, including the United States," the report states.