D H
Feb 4 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

Can the history of the global drug trade help us understand modern legal policy?

[Picture: Opium fields, Qurna, Egypt, 1900] The global trade of drugs has a long history, but the international trade of drugs expanded to an industrial scale during the European colonial period, leading to some of the first examples of wide scale drug prohibition and even war over trade of opium. Advances in science have since led to an abundance of modern drugs, and regulation or prohibition has become commonplace across the globe. However black market drug trade has also grown proportionately during this time and today some believe the global drug market may be worth up to $400 billion. This huge industry shows no sign of weakening despite many decades of robust prohibition and efforts to eliminate drug trafficking. With drugs funding many other illicit activities and criminal networks forming around illegal drug revenues, the global drug trade has become inextricably linked to social problems, corruption, violence and even war, in places going so far as to effectively take control of whole states, narco-states. So, what can the history of the global drug trade tell us about modern legal policy surrounding drugs? What indication is there for a need to change policy moving forward? What policies would be best suited to deal with these issues moving forward? globalissuesnetwork.org/learn-about-our-global-issues/illegal-drugs
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Prohibition doesn't work
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Prohibition doesn't work

Drugs have always been a commodity of social control, used since the Opium Wars to subdue non-forthcoming foreign nations. The US has now done the same in multiple regions despite claiming to be fighting an international War on Drugs, while the CIA have supported trafficking from South East Asia to Latin America to Afghanistan [1]. This sorry state of affairs has even turned inward as the US government has turned a blind eye to American pharmaceutical corporations causing a opiate epidemic with their own citizens. Drug prohibition has always failed, government control of the supply and use of drugs is always preferable – people should have the freedom of choice in safety, this is much more important than ineffective blanket-prohibition. History has demonstrated that the war on drugs has been ineffective, more about destabilising and "American Empire" than actually controlling drug use or even supply, prohibition in general has always caused black markets, social problems and often an increase in drug use.

thedea.org/a-short-history-of-prohibition-and-the-drug-war aclu.org/other/against-drug-prohibition [1] wearechange.org/real-drug-lords-brief-history-cia-involvement-drug-trafficking addictions.com/opiate/the-role-of-pharmaceutical-companies-in-the-opioid-epidemic

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D H
Feb 4
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DH edited this paragraph
Drugs have always been a commodity of social control, used since the Opium Wars to subdue non-forthcoming foreign nations. The US has now done the same in multiple regions despite claiming to be fighting an international War on Drugs, while the CIA have supported trafficking from South East Asia to Latin America to Afghanistan [1]. This sorry state of affairs has even turned inward as the US government has turned a blind eye to American pharmaceutical corporations causing a opiate epidemic with their own citizens. Drug prohibition has always failed, government control of the supply and use of drugs is always preferable – people should have the freedom of choice in safety, this is much more important than ineffective blanket-prohibition. History has demonstrated that the war on drugs has been ineffective, more about destabilising and "American Empire" than actually controlling drug use or even supply, prohibition in general has always caused black markets, social problems and often an increase in drug use.
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