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June 2006
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World drug czar claims victory

Anthony Maria Costa is sort of John Walters, but on a global scale. He’s in charge of the UN Office on Drug and Crime, which pretty much has as its goal the imposition of United States’ failed drug policy on the rest of the world. (It’s the one part of the UN our government seems to like, since it acts like a U.S. lapdog and mindlessly promotes prohibition.)
According to this Bloomberg article:

Global Drug War Is Being Won, Illegal Use `Contained,’ UN Says
June 26 (Bloomberg) — The world is winning the war on drugs, according to a United Nations report that said opium production might soon be eradicated in Asia’s notorious “Golden Triangle” and coca cultivation in the Andean region of South American has decreased 25 percent since 2000.
“Drug control is working and the world drug problem is being contained,” Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in a statement accompanying the release today of the agency’s 2006 World Drug Report.

Of course, that’s just like the drug czar’s regular pronouncements here, as Jeffrey Miron notes in the article:

“If you read these reports over time from the UN or the U.S. drug czar, you see a constant up and down, from claims of victory to statements that things are horrible,” Miron said in an interview. “You tend to find that a problem that is solved one place shifts to another. There will always be some uses going up and some going down, and these reports don’t address issues like the costs of drug use from diseases spread by needles or infringements on civil rights from the drug war.”

And that’s so true. Any time a number goes down temporarily, regardless of context, the prohibitionists claim victory specifically attributed to their efforts (usually with no causal evidence). If the number, instead, remains the same or goes up, that’s merely a reason to put out a press release calling for increased vigor (and more funding).
Nice job security.
(Also note that Costa brags about coca cultivation being down in the Andean region, but doesn’t mention the actual distribution of coca. That’s partly because many experts believe that the traffickers have developed higher yields needing less cultivated area, and there’s been no evidence of a reduction in supply.)

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