Tag: War on Drugs

‘Learning to Live with the Narco in Mexico’, Stories from Survivors of the War on Organized Crime


Throughout the infamous “war on drug trafficking” in Mexico, both international and local media have regularly referred to the missing and the dead in statistical terms that fail to capture the enormity of human tragedy the war left in its wake. Moreover, coverage of drug barons like El Chapo Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, has seriously overshadowed the stories of the conflict’s victims.

Little attention is paid to the bereaved the day after a violent event, or communities that have learned to live with daily pain. Every corpse, every bone found in each of the hundreds of clandestine graves, is the testimony of countless parents, sons and daughters, friends and spouses, who harbour wounds that may never heal.

Fighting back against Georgia’s war on drugs

Georgia’s draconian laws against narcotics are in the spotlight, as activists take to the streets and demand an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

There are angry crowds in Tbilisi again. On International Human Rights Day (10 December), protesters gathered outside Georgia’s parliament building to call on the government to “decriminalise!”. The event ended in a confrontation with the police, as protesters obstructed the main road. Nobody doubts that protests will continue; Georgia is fighting a war on drugs, and activists of the White Noise Movement are on the front line.

The decriminalisation of marijuana has been a real issue in Georgian politics since 2011. The country has a particularly repressive no-tolerance policy towards drug users, which has endured (with a few changes) since the Soviet period.

Australians Ask: Have We Lost the War on Drugs?

Many Australians agreed with Greens party leader Richard Di Natale recently when he called for an end to the war on drugs. The Greens is a minority party that supports conservation, responsible environmental management such as climate change action, and social justice. It also advocates a more independent foreign policy for Australia.

The country’s politicians, policy makers and health professionals have been arguing for years over recreational drug strategies — ‘Just say no’ versus ‘harm minimisation’, and tough law enforcement versus decriminalisation are well trodden warpaths.

US: Disastrous Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use

The massive enforcement of laws criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the United States causes devastating harm, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today. Enforcement ruins individual and family lives, discriminates against people of color, and undermines public health. The federal and state governments should decriminalize the personal use and possession of illicit drugs.

The 196-page report, “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States,” finds that enforcement of drug possession laws causes extensive and unjustifiable harm to individuals and communities across the country. The long-term consequences can separate families; exclude people from job opportunities, welfare assistance, public housing, and voting; and expose them to discrimination and stigma for a lifetime. While more people are arrested for simple drug possession in the US than for any other crime, mainstream discussions of criminal justice reform rarely question whether drug use should be criminalized at all.

Scheduling of Kratom by DEA Protects Big Pharma

The DEA has announced the scheduling of Kratom, a southeast Asian plant used extensively in traditional medicine, to Schedule 1 beginning 30 September. According to the DEA website, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, has long been used in traditional medicine. Advocates claim the substance has great potential to mitigate the effects of opioid addiction and in the treatment of chronic pain, which is typically treated now with opioid drugs like Oxycodone.

Federal Marijuana Laws Reek of Hy-Pot-Crisy

Cannabis is considered dangerous until proven safe, while known toxins like asbestos are still legal.

For a few brief months, it looked like America might take a step closer to sanity. And then came the news: the Obama administration will not loosen federal restrictions on marijuana after all.

Before delving into the issue of marijuana, consider its two fellow “gateway drugs:” alcohol and tobacco. Aside from the potential benefits from drinking a glass of red wine, neither one is good for you.

The Futility of Fighting Dark Web Drug Markets

The use of dark web drug markets is growing exponentially. While law enforcement has consistently failed to reduce online sales, non-profit initiatives are working to reduce the potential harms of drugs purchased through the dark web.

Recent data indicates that online drug markets are swiftly gaining international popularity. This is particularly evident in the results of the Global Drug Survey 2016 (GDS), which surveyed over 100,000 respondents – primarily those who use illegal drugs – from over 50 countries around the world. Around one in 10 participants reported having purchased drugs through the dark web at least once, while five per cent of respondents claimed they “did not consume drugs prior to accessing them through” the dark web.

Data from the Economist indicates that the turnover of international drug sales through the dark web has increased by over 800 per cent in the past four years; from around $16million in 2012 to between $150m and $180m in 2015.

Isis’ Brutal Drug War Reflects Global Prohibition Norms

The international community has lambasted Isis for its distinctive form of brutality, yet remained curiously silent on Isis atrocities commited in the name of drug control, perhaps because they mirror so well repressive drug laws elsewhere around the world.

Isis, the militant group which has seized control of swathes of Iraq and Syria since 2013, implements authoritarian rule over all who reside in its claimed territory. In accordance with their strict interpretation of sharia law, Isis leaders consider all intoxicating substances to be haram, meaning they are prohibited by Islam.

Violence Without Justice: Mexico’s War and its Consequences

Mexico’s War is a civil war against and amongst citizens, regardless of where they stand on the drug business, of devastating consequences for the population and the state.

Mexico’s so-called war on drugs has not ended. While no longer part of the government’s official discourse, the logic of war continues to pervade the state’s militarized strategies against criminal organizations. Most importantly, this war continues to be felt amongst individuals, families, and local communities that endure its consequences in the form of extortions, kidnappings, disappearances, torture, and forced displacements. More than “collateral effects,” these various forms of violence and its victims are at the center of Mexico’s ongoing war.

Five of the Most Repressive Countries for the War on Drugs

Rodrigo Duterte, the new president-elect of the Philippines, is making headlines with calls for the vigilante killing of drug-offenders, as well as the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Earlier this month, Duterte – known as “The Punisher” – told the public how to respond if they encounter a drug offender, saying: “please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support”.

His proposed repressive practices and harsh strongman rhetoric are bound to have serious consequences once he takes office on June 30, particularly if he is successful in reinstating capital punishment. However, in the global landscape of drug policy, Duterte is not alone with his approach to drugs.