To the editor:
President Obama should heed the report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy that declares the War on Drugs to be a failure.
In short, the report states what we already know from history and common sense: The war ties up police and judicial resources, clogs our prisons with nonviolent offenders and offers a law enforcement solution to a medical problem. It also shows that, since the inception of the war in 1970, billions of dollars have been spent, but production and consumption of drugs has only increased.
The White House responds that we shouldn’t make drugs more available. Of course, no one advocates that. This is the same sort of demagoguery that has made real debate impossible and has led to billions of dollars wasted, and a serious problem unresolved.
We may not have a consensus on how we should change our response to drugs, but we should agree that change is necessary. When a policy — any policy — fails consistently and demonstrably for 40 years, it is sheer madness to insist on maintaining it. But that is precisely what the Obama administration is doing.
It is a sad irony that the president who promised change would fail to deliver it in the one area where it is so obviously needed.