Expert Pharmacologist
Jul 6, 2021
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The Global Commission on Drug Policy recently released its latest report on the world drug problem. The report outlines public perceptions and calls for myths about psychoactive substances and the people who use them to be dispelled, as negative attitudes and irrational fear cloud the consciousness of average citizens and those in power when it comes to developing an effective and humane policy program in this area.

It is drugphobia and the prejudices associated with it that are largely responsible for the fact that today the dominant model of drug policy around the world is prohibitionism, i.e. police prohibition. And in order to improve the situation and reduce the harms of drug use, this attitude must be changed.

The Commission is composed of prominent public intellectuals, twelve former heads of state, a former secretary-general of the United Nations and three Nobel Peace Prize laureates. For the thirteenth year in a row it has called our attention to the fact that the «war on drugs» policy of the past fifty years or more has been a complete failure, since not one of its objectives has been achieved, not to mention that these objectives themselves raise a great many questions.


The main goal is a drug-free world. People there enjoy their existence and the unrestrained consumption of goods and family values in complete capitalist harmony with themselves, without the aid of any substances.

The members of the Commission call our attention to the fact that this goal is not only unattainable (no one in their right mind would deny this), but that it is inherently wrong.

Drugs, or more accurately, psychoactive substances, have accompanied humans for centuries; they helped our ancestors learn about themselves and the world around them, cope with pain and fatigue, communicate, forget resentment, and have sex.

According to some hypotheses, such as the notorious Terence McKenna theory, such substances (specifically, psilocybin mushrooms) played a key role in the transformation of upright man into sentient man. Whether this is true or not, it is still difficult to verify, but there is no doubt that throughout history people have studied the properties of drugs, carefully systematized them, and passed their knowledge from generation to generation.

In this way, these substances have occupied an important place in human culture. Some world- or mood-altering plants have been used for ritual, religious and ceremonial purposes.


Attempts to «fight» various substances have also been around for a long time. Many mistakes have been made because of global transformations in social interaction. Thus, the beginning of modernity, the reconfiguration of the world after the discovery of new continents by Europeans, the expansion of trade relations - all this led to the fact that some substances, traditional for certain regions, «migrated» to other countries, where they were a novelty.

Such borrowings were accompanied by fears and legislative excesses. For example, coffee and tobacco were negatively characterized in a number of European countries: somewhere these novelties were received with great enthusiasm, and somewhere with suspicion, sometimes so strong that they were even tried to be banned.

Tobacco, imported by Columbus from America in 1493, soon began to spread throughout Europe, but not everywhere was the process under control. For example, in the Ottoman Empire, where tobacco appeared in the 16th century and was used as a medicine, in 1633 the attitude changed and Sultan Murad IV introduced the death penalty for smoking. But here, too, the prohibition proved ineffective and was repealed by the next ruler, who instead began to tax the tobacco trade.


In the U.S., the first laws prohibiting a number of other substances were passed - for example, the Harrison Act of 1914 criminalized opiates and cocaine, the use of which was widespread at the time. Thus, in 1971, President Richard Nixon would dub the era «the war on drugs».

The early 20th century also saw the beginnings of a propaganda campaign designed to stir up anti-drug hysteria in society and on the rising tides of this paranoia to pull in new economic and political resources to maintain an anti-substance apparatus.

The anti-drug propaganda machine that started its flywheel back in the 1930s in the United States has created the stereotypes, prejudices and fears that reign today and that have not lost their power over our minds to this day.

The father of this propaganda was Harry Anslinger, the man who achieved the creation of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, literally from nothing. His political tool was a drug hysteria built on blatant racism. The fight against certain substances was already based on xenophobia. Anslinger's strategy is clear from several of his famous quotes:
«There are a total of 100,000 marijuana smokers in the United States, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and showmen. Their satanic music, jazz and swing is the result of marijuana use. This same marijuana makes white women seek sexual intimacy with Negroes, showmen and others. Weed makes black men think they are as good as white men. The main reason to ban marijuana is its effect on degenerate races».


In those days, it would have been impossible to obtain the considerable funds Anslinger needed to fight pot without aggressively propagating horrific myths about the effects of this terrible drug on humans: it makes unbridled whores out of women and murderers and rapists out of men.

However, the initiator of the insane campaign got what he wanted and got the money to create the Bureau. More and more budgetary funds began to be allocated to the fight against «dangerous drugs». The hysteria began to spread to other countries.

Until the early twentieth century, attempts to prohibit and regulate the substances were more localized, but as early as 1912, the first International Opium Conference in The Hague signed a convention to control the production of and trade in morphine, cocaine and their derivatives.

After World War II, in an era of another tumultuous global transformation, including in international relations, states decided to strengthen these arrangements. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 consolidated a system of world drug policy that is still in force today. The report of the Global Commission notes that the text of this agreement uses hysterically colored language, a unique case in world law.

The 1961 Single Convention, for example, calls addiction to illegal drugs a «grave evil» - a definition we will not find in any other international instrument, be it the agreements on genocide, slavery, apartheid, torture or the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The experience of Anslinger and other «servants of the people» who speculate on and at the same time inflate drugphobia has been very successful: politicians have seen that the war against such «serious evils» as white powder and green weed is a win-win option in the struggle for electoral ratings. Until recently, shouting nonsensical slogans like «Drugs are evil!» was a must in the repertoire of all those who wanted to win power and win the hearts of gullible and frightened voters.

At the same time, experts have recently begun to draw public attention to the fact that the status of substances («legalized/banned») has almost nothing to do with the level of harm they can cause to health.

For example, according to Professor David Nutt of the United Kingdom, one of the most dangerous drugs in terms of its physiological effects and impact on social behavior is alcohol, «which kills more people than malaria, meningitis, tuberculosis and dengue fever combined», yet it is legal in most countries.

In 2009, David Nutt released his famous ranking of harmful substances based on an analysis of a great deal of scientific data. The Global Commission's report contains a table showing these results, and it clearly demonstrates that the level of international regulation of the consumption and trafficking of substances is completely random and in no way correlated with their potential harm.


This, in the Commission's view, is one of the major problems demonstrating the need to review ineffective and inhumane drug policies.

Until people begin to think critically about their irrational fears-until the debate about «substances» and those who use them is purged of the hysterical legacy of the 1930s-we cannot have an adult and serious conversation about the various alternatives in this area.

Among them are decriminalization of drug use and possession and legalization of drugs, that is, transfer of control over drug markets from criminal groups to the state.

Commissioners pay special attention to the language we use to discuss the problem, because it is language that determines our thinking and perception of reality. Not long ago, people who use drugs were called «animals», «zombies», «shitheads», and other terms - and this was the social norm.

The main goal and intention of those making such a lexical choice is obviously to dehumanize the «junkies», to maintain a negative public opinion about them. Consequently, they can be killed (take at least such a monstrous atavism as the death penalty for drug crimes in a number of countries, or the terrible situation in the Philippines, when at the call of President Duterte about 14,000 people suspected of using illegal substances were killed without trial), tortured, kidnapped and held in «rehabilitation» centers.

You can make TV reports about seizures of brothels, which sometimes show half-naked women without their consent, etc.


The Commissioners recommend that we, and especially the media and politicians, be careful about the language used.

If the word «drug addict» has not been used by decent people for many years, the Commission proposes to go further and abandon the term «drug user» and replace it with «person who uses drugs», where both syntactically and semantically the main word is «person».

The report also draws attention to the fact that stigmatizing language also affects people who use drugs themselves, and especially those who depend on them. Being fixated on the «stigma» imposed by society, they stop believing in their own strength, begin to consider themselves as nothing, «slaves» of drugs and, thus, lose the strength to achieve their goals and, above all, refuse to take any measures to get rid of drug addiction.

The result is a vicious circle: by calling on society to show «zero tolerance» towards «drug addicts» and not to consider them human until they «defeat» their «harmful passion», they themselves create an environment in which it is much harder for people to gain strength, seek help and change something.


As long as public attitudes to this problem remain the same, we will not be able to change drug policy. And we would very much like to change it, to make our coexistence with substances peaceful and productive again, and to transfer control of the market from the hands of the drug mafia to the states.

The murderous and senseless «war» on drugs must cease, and ways must be sought to regulate it, based on scientific evidence and common sense, rather than succumbing to hysteria and political manipulation. Everything has its time and place, and we can safely say that the place and time to dispel the myths about drugs is here and now.


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Don't buy from me
New Member
Jul 28, 2023
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Awesome article!!! A+ Pretty much all inclusive. Probably could have mentioned the successes with decriminalization in Oregon, but awesome nonetheless! Thank you very much, and congrats!!!


Expert Pharmacologist
Jul 6, 2021
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Thank you, bro!
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing :unsure:
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