It’s one of the more pathetic efforts I’ve seen by UNODC head Antonio Maria Costa. In today’s Guardian (The Observer), check out this headline and opening paragraph:
How many lives would have been lost if we didn’t have controls on drugs?
There is a growing chorus, not least in the pages of the Observer, calling for an end to drug control. The arguments are by now well known: too many people are going to jail and not to treatment. Eradicating the supply of illicit drugs is meaningless without reducing demand. Drug control has spawned a massive criminal black market. Some even say that the costs of prohibition far outweigh the benefits (although there is no body count of people who haven’t died thanks to drug control versus those who have been killed in the crossfire).
He knows our extremely legitimate and powerful argument (that prohibition is actually an absence of control) and is trying to turn it on its head by claiming that we’ve been controlling drugs all along, and that legalization is calling for “an end to drug control.” He also claims that whatever we’ve been doing all along has been saving lives (lots of them), but offers no evidence at all to support that.
His attempts to own the word “control” go to ridiculous lengths.
Drugs are controlled (not prohibited) because they are dangerous.
I beg your pardon? Drugs aren’t prohibited? Since when? Where? You can’t just waive a magic wand and say that since you don’t like the word “prohibited” you declare it to mean something else.
“Drugs… are dangerous.” Which ones? Compared to what?
“…because they are dangerous.” Right. That’s fine if you want to ignore, like, history and stuff.
Here was another good one in his attempt to counter legalizers:
First, drugs should be regarded as a health issue.
Addiction is an illness, not a lifestyle, and should be treated as such.
Um, no. Drug abuse should be regarded as a health issue, not “drugs.” Calling “drugs” a health issue is like calling “shoes” a health issue.
All in all, a particularly ridiculous OpEd.