Drugs Are Sick
Posted on Jun 24, 2009
U.N. drug chief Antonio Maria Costa believes drug use should be treated as an illness and not criminalized. Costa says international law enforcement should shift focus to traffickers rather than users, an intriguing (look at the U.S. prison population) but problematic (look at Mexico’s drug war death toll) strategy.
Drug use should be treated more as an illness than a crime, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said as he claimed a decline in the production of cocaine and heroin worldwide.
“People who take drugs need medical help, not criminal retribution,” said Antonio Maria Costa, director of UNODC, calling for universal access to drug treatment. Since people with serious drug problems provided the bulk of drug demand, treating this problem was one of the best ways of shrinking the market.
His call for international law enforcement to target traffickers rather than users came as it was announced that there is a worldwide growth in synthetic drugs.
Drug law reformers saw Costa’s words as a significant sign in the debate over the “war on drugs”. However, he said that legalisation was not the answer.
This is what 5.8 tons of cocaine looks like, as captured by Mexican forces with the help of the U.S. Homeland Security Department.