The war on drugs

Last updated 10:12 13/05/2014

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OPINION: Aaron Nicholson gives a good history of the term "war on drugs".

We're agreed that there isn't one, except perhaps in Sweden where, after a failed experiment with liberalisation, focus on moral suasion and demand-side enforcement has made them the least drug damaged country in the world.

Targeting "Mr Big" was the worst possible way to wage any war on drugs.

It merely creates career paths in the supply chain, and has led to a static drug industry involving co- dependent gangs, police, counsellors, film-makers et al.

Yet, even this weakest resistance is better than abandoning the young to whoever can chemically exploit their unformed brains.

To the question of how to minimise the harm done by drugs I maintain that being drug-free is pretty fool-proof.

The argument that ''prohibition has failed, let's regulate instead" is truly bizarre. Prohibition is just the simplest and easiest form of regulation.

Alcohol prohibition failed because it was imposed against the common will. The war on drunk driving has been largely won because the common will has been mobilised behind it without ambiguity.

When New Zealand decides we want to be drug-free, we will be.

HAMISH SUTHERLAND
Gore

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