Children should have the right to grow up in a politician-free world

That ain’t gonna happen, either.

The World Federation Against Drugs and the Swedish Society for Sobriety and Social Upbringing has published a rather massive (134 page) volume titled: The Protection of Children from Illicit Drugs – A Minimum Human Rights Standard — A Child-Centered vs. a User-Centered Drug Policy by Stephan Dahlgren & Roxana Stere.

Robert DuPont says “This book is a major landmark in human rights and international drug policy.” (Of course, if you have to turn to hack Robert DuPont for a book review, you’re in trouble.)

This rather interminable paper goes on and on — first in parsing various U.N. documents to support the position that the human rights of the child are the paramount consideration and that the various agreements don’t just mean that children should be protected from using dangerous drug themselves, but that they should essentially be protected from any societal use of those drugs deemed “illicit.” This justifies, to the authors, today’s prohhibition efforts.

The book then goes on to rail against the various harm reduction efforts world-wide, which it mostly dismisses as efforts to paint the drug user as a victim.

Where is really gets into the crux of the matter, however, is when they talk about the drug-free society.

The authors acknowledge that the notion of a drug-free society has been ridiculed as completly unrealistic and utopian. But that doesn’t bother them:

Nevertheless, the achievement of a “drug- free society” is an aspiration and the only reasonable one in the context of the present international legal framework.

As long as the UN drug conventions impose the limitation “exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs”; CRC Article 33 requests States Parties “to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances” and International Labour Orga- nization Convention 182 defines “the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and traf- ficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties” as one of the worst forms of child labour, a “drug-free world” is the appropriate goal.

But of course, it does matter whether a drug-free society is a utopian ideal.

If a drug-free society is realistic and achievable through prohibition, then a prohibition regime could theoretically protect children from being exposed to illicit drugs, illicit drug use, and trafficking.

However, we know that a drug-free society is as impossible as a sex-free society. We also know that prohibition does little (or nothing) to
reduce illicit drug use (and any harms that may come from that use). Additionally, prohibition causes a laundry list of additional harms that can damage children, including:

  • Empowering criminals, who have no compunction about selling to children, to control the sale of illicit drugs
  • Breaking up and destroying families through excessive incarceration
  • Turning children around the world into agents of drug trafficking organizations, due to the profitability of the black market and the fact that prohibition makes it advantageous to use children

It is admirable that the authors and the groups they represent care about the children, but it would be better if they actually promoted policy that helped children, rather than destroying the lives of children while chasing some utopian fantasy.

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27 Responses to Children should have the right to grow up in a politician-free world

  1. strayan says:

    A drug free world is a dangerous utopian fantasy. To eliminate all traces of drugs would require the total annihilation of life as we know it. A group of people working towards that goal is absolutely chilling. They need to be stopped and separated from the rest of society before they cause further harm.

    A drug-free world – or a drug-free city – is an unrealistic idea and a harmful concept if set as an ultimate goal, just like other utopias that have been set as aims in history.

  2. Francis says:

    I used to assume that the drug warriors’ apparent fanatical obsession with “the children” was simply a cynical ploy to manipulate people’s emotions and fears while appearing to take the moral high ground in debates. I’m not so sure anymore. Frankly, it’s gotten a little, well, creepy. I’m wondering if a “Prohibitionist Registry” might be in order? I mean, if Gil Kerlikowske moved next door to your family, don’t you think you should have a right to know?

  3. Cold Blooded says:

    “Nevertheless, the achievement of a “drug- free society” is an aspiration and the only reasonable one in the context of the present international legal framework.”

    I guess that means “drugs must be prohibited because they are prohibited.”

  4. primus says:

    Even “they” admit that it is “only reasonable…in the context of the present international legal framework”. That is the key. The framework MUST be dismantled. I feel the best way to do that is to reframe the question; instead of ‘ending prohibition is too full of uncertainty to contemplate’ we should be attacking prohibition as ‘an unreasonable restriction on freedom which is not working’. The key is to ring the freedom bell. Once that meme is firmly entrenched, change can begin. Until then, it will be just same same.

  5. someguy says:

    If a drug-free society is realistic and achievable through prohibition, then a prohibition regime could theoretically protect children from being exposed to illicit drugs, illicit drug use, and trafficking.

    Of course, this conveniently omits alcohol, tobacco, and countless corporate-controlled synthetic pharmaceuticals, all of which are just as dangerous, if not more, than cannabis.

  6. SCOOBY says:

    Well… would seem that a change in the current framework is needed.

  7. Randy says:

    More moral preening from drug warriors. Film at 11.

  8. Curmudgeon says:

    Adults should have the right to live in a politician-free world.

  9. Matthew Meyer says:

    Social reproduction versus private desire, Part MMCMXXVIII.

    One thing we might try is to question the claim that social reproduction is threatened by drugs, or at least that prohibition is a good way to address that possible threat.

    Pete does just this by listing some harms to children of prohibition.

    Sometimes arguing for the exercise of liberty plays into the false dichotomy of social reproduction vs. private desire (urges!). Then, perhaps, our interlocutors will paint us as minimizing the dangers to the children so that we can get high.

  10. Servetus says:

    Not a drug free society, but a fact free society is what prohibitionists seek. They don’t want facts getting in the way of eliminating people they don’t like; drug users, in this instance. So the prohibitionists rationalize the facts to support their moral emotions. They are the Todd Akins of the law enforcement world.

    If protecting children were an absolute, as the Dahlgren/Stere report claims, then harm reduction would be part of the formula. Instead, prohibitionist behavior is more like that of a Muslim fundamentalist who kills his teenage daughter over some petty moral indiscretion. Accordingly, once someone has imbibed the evil weed, or whatever, there is no turning back. Their souls are forever polluted. To anti-drug zealots, the wages of drug sin must be death, or at least a lifetime of persecution.

    A lopsided trend exists among political and/or religious conservatives who employ proscriptions instead of free will and reason. For instance, abstinence sex education refuses to discuss condoms, and the Catholic Church claims they’re ineffective; all lies directed at preserving a perverse and inadequate system of truly primitive moral emotions—not thinking or reasoning.

    Legal problems faced by drug users are motivated by the same types of primitive moral sanctions faced by women and oppressed minorities throughout the world. The problems originate from mindless authoritarianism. Rational thinkers are ultimately forced to confront this enemy. They’ve fought it for thousands of years.

    • stlgonzo says:

      “Well you were raped,and that is your fault little lady. I only see 2 options for you now. Either marry your rapist of be stoned to death. Which do you choose?”

      “You have been caught with a relatively harmless drug that has no fatal dose but you only have two choices. Go to jail or go to court ordered rehab.”

      I know the two don’t quite reach the level of stupidity but you are correct about the kind of thinking involved.

  11. Duncan20903 says:


    I agree. Children deserve a drug free world. Can’t we build some self contained life support pods, launch them into orbit and send all the children there for their own protection until they turn 25? Children are far too precious to be exposed to reality before their brains have finished.

    • claygooding says:

      How long before the supply ships that maintain those pods begin to have “private” deliveries,,next thing you know someone orders LED lights and empties the closet.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        clay, you missed the phrase “self contained”. The only thing delivered to these pods would be newborn infants.

  12. Duncan20903 says:


    Francis’ Law discovered by outsider!

    The Marijuana Myth: What If Everything You Think You Know About This Plant Is Wrong?

    It appears that Francis’ Law is really catching on. But talk about specialty niches, sheesh!

  13. Maria says:

    “We want a ‘a Child-Centered vs. a User-Centered Drug Policy.” Right.

    I had a hard time reading any of that without hearing “we want an infantile society.”

    If you take what these people say to heart then to achieve their utopia all of life needs to be removed, at least if there is even a chance a child will be harmed. Ideas, sex, faith, industry, exploration, food, sharp objects, hard corners, swimming. Everything that could potentially or even theoretically harm a child in some fashion is to be removed, denigrated, combated, or outlawed.

    It’s so bizarre. It becomes a situation where rational arguments and objects become framed as “You don’t agree with me? So in other words… you want children to get hurt?” You can’t win. It’s like the societal equivalent of “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

    It doesn’t help that for many of these groups, at least in the US, 21 year olds are still classified as children. Sometimes even 25.

  14. War Vet says:

    So, what about all the children who died in Afghanistan and Iraq because of drug money financed terrorism and insurgents? Is it better to let a child die than to let him be around a pot smoker . . . do these people really believe that dead children can rehabilitate back to life as easy as a child drug user can rehabilitate out of drug use? How many children get sexually abused in Afghanistan because of drug money financed/empowered Taliban . . . the war on drugs furthers sexual abuse amongst children, so I’ll call every drug warrior a sex offender enthusiast. How perverted does one have to be to sincerely think drugs are worse than rape or death?

  15. Duncan20903 says:

    Harold and Kumar visit the White House: linky

    • Peter says:

      “KUMAR: So you get high and then you put other people who smoke weed in jail? That’s so hypocritical.”

      That line should be endlessly repeated in political ads for the Johnson Gray ticket. Bush/Obama, it’s all the same, drug war as usual.

  16. Duncan20903 says:

    Why the heck can’t I get my comments to post last?

  17. kaptinemo says:

    A long time ago, the social critic Philip Wylie warned us about the creeping infantilization of society he called ‘Momism” and where it would lead us as a nation. I am afraid he’s been proven right…and not just here in America. It seems some of the Swedes didn’t get the memo, either.

    The DrugWar is Momism ‘writ large’, the now-institutionalized treatment of adults as children by ‘their’ government…ad infinitum.

    An example of Wylie’s writing may be found here. It gives a very prescient view of our times, today, with his very trenchant prediction on the present social atmosphere in Congress. The past is always prologue.

  18. claygooding says:

    Jimmy Carter’s Drug Czar Calls Obama’s War On Marijuana “Totally Insane”

    President Obama’s war on marijuana–both medical and recreational–is “totally insane,” says Peter Bourne, the director of the National Drug Control Policy under Jimmy Carter. In a brief interview with Newsweek, Bourne voiced support for removing federal penalties for marijuana possession and allowing states to regulate marijuana how they see fit:

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