A report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy has concluded that the global war on drugs has failed. The commission, which includes a group of politicians and former world leaders, says the current anti-drug policy has been fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths.
The authors of the report have called for some drugs to be legalised and for an end to the criminalisation of drug users.
They also criticised governments that claim the current war on drugs is effective. But, the White House has rejected the findings, saying the report is misguided. The US government has spent more than $2.5 trillion fighting the war on drugs over the past 40 years.
How essential is the need for frank dialogue on the issue? Can the calls for legalising or decriminalising drugs help deal with the problem or will they make it worse?
Inside Story, with presenter Jane Dutton, discusses with Neil McKeganey, a professor of Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow; Steve Rolles, a senior policy analyst at Transform; and Guxd De Wit, an addiction therapist.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Thursday, June 2, 2011.