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‘A training in violence’: the connecting line between France’s ‘war on drugs’ and jihadism

In France, there are many ways in which the pool of violence caused by drug prohibition bleeds into home-grown jihadism. But there is an alternative.

The other silence breakers: women in the war on drugs

Today we see an increase in the number of women around the world actively taking on leadership roles and advocacy positions to use their voice to speak up for other women.

How the country that invented many of the world's drugs turned against them – until now

Cocaine in 1859; heroin in 1888 – and a ban introduced in 1929. Now, however, times are changing – and more compassionate policies are taking root.

The logic of Singapore’s death penalty for drugs is untenable

My experience working with the families of death row inmates has shown me just how problematic this legislation really is.

Bloodshed, shame and lies – this is why you should give a damn about prohibitionist drug policy

This is the reality of the ‘war on drugs’: children dying alone because of shame and stigma, escalating incarceration of women, and violent enforcement centred on the global south.

Whose morality? Johann Hari on the future of the ‘war on drugs’

“If your morality doesn’t look at the actual practical effects of what you’re doing, it’s not a moral debate, it’s just posturing.”

‘A training in violence’: the connecting line between France’s ‘war on drugs’ and jihadism

In France, there are many ways in which the pool of violence caused by drug prohibition bleeds into home-grown jihadism. But there is an alternative.

Listen to a recorded audio version of this article.

Turkey successfully legalised and regulated its opium production. Could Mexico?

That’s the question asked by the governor of the biggest opium-producing state in Mexico – a state which, unsurprisingly, is also one of the most violent.

A marijuana arrest that went terribly wrong: the story of Miguel Ángel Durrels

In September 2013, Miguel Ángel Durrels was arrested in Buenos Aires province for marijuana possession. 12 hours later he was found dead in the local police station. His sister has serious doubts that he committed suicide. Español

After an insubstantial UN drugs summit last month, what’s left for Latin America?

The global crackdown on drugs has spurred violence akin to war in some Latin American countries. But the world’s historically powerful countries are still reluctant to confront a problem they don’t recognise as their own. Español

Across Asia, we need to give the women incarcerated by the ‘war on drugs’ a voice

Only then will the public begin to see the human face of repressive policies and the lives destroyed in the pursuit of an impossible ‘drug-free world’.

Is the ‘war on drugs’ destroying women’s lives?

Across the world, women are being incarcerated at an alarming rate for drug offences. The vast majority are single mothers, and facing situations of extreme poverty.

Missed opportunity or a foundation for the future of drug reform? Measuring success at UNGASS 2016

Our challenge is to maintain momentum: that the UN General Assembly Special Session is used as a springboard for action rather than obstacle to implementing evidence and rights-based drug policies.  

I discovered the truth about Singapore's 'war on drugs'. Now I campaign against the death penalty

The Singaporean criminal justice system expected Yong Vui Kong to die for a mistake he’d made when he was just 19 years old. There are many other stories like his.

Listen to an audio version of this article.

Unravelling the myth of China’s 'Opium Plague'

The image of China as an opium slave was the starting point for an international ‘war on drugs’ which, over a century later, is still being fought today.

Kidnapped and coerced: this is Liliana's story

In this photo essay, Liliana recounts how she was threatened and forced into transporting drugs to Argentina, where she is now being incarcerated far from her two children in Venezuela. Español

Searching for an alternative to the ‘war on drugs’ in Rio de Janeiro

The Brazilian city has been an extreme example of the failure of the ‘war on drugs’ – but recent policing measures offer potential alternatives. Can Rio learn to fight violence rather than drugs? Español

In Mexico, the human rights abuses of the ‘war on drugs’ have been a daily reality for more than a decade

Impunity over human rights violations generates an unconscionable mixture: the economic and political interests of criminality go unscathed, while the most marginalised, and often innocent, people face the worst consequences. Español

Where do we go from here? The drug policy debate continues

The global drug prohibition model stokes human rights violations across the world, despite the recent UN drug summit. What can be done? openDemocracy and the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) explore in our ongoing partnership.

"Our children are dying": meet the activists saying 'no more' to the 'war on drugs'

In April, openDemocracy was in New York to meet the Caravan Activists, a remarkable group of men and women, who have lost loved ones to the 'war on drugs'. Now they campaign to change the system.

Impasse or turning point for the ‘war on drugs’? UNGASS 2016, explained

The official consensus from the United Nations summit last month was ‘business as usual’ for the global drug control regime. But there’s cause for optimism for the future. Here are three predictions. Español

‘Symbol of life’: where taking drugs is a sacred act

The war on drugs is presented as a battle against social evils. But from the Andes to the Caribbean, prohibition has criminalised cultural expression. Español

From the US to Indonesia, why do we perpetuate the ‘war on drugs’?

As the United Nations General Assembly Session meets in New York today to discuss the ‘world drug problem’, our roundtable explores the political convenience and political gain that drives prohibitionist drug policy and the ‘war on drugs’. Video (7:34).

At the United Nations, are we any closer to ending the global addiction to prohibition?

The unregulated, unlicensed drug market is the purest, most deadly form of capitalism – prioritising profit above all else. It is time for an approach rooted in public health rather than criminal justice. Español

Why is the UN failing to solve the ‘world drug problem’?

On 19 April, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) meets to find a solution to the failed policies of the ‘war on drugs’. Our specialist roundtable discusses why the preparatory negotiations have been riddled with problems. Video (7:17).

What hope remains for drug policy reform at UNGASS?

The inability to recognise the reality of the current situation worldwide is the biggest failing of the ‘outcome document’ for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem. Español

Our drug policy system is an expensive failure. What are the alternatives?

The exorbitant cost of punitive drug policy is actually an argument for change. What if we invested in good quality treatment for addiction instead? Español

Has Argentina entered the 'war on drugs'?

One of the dangers of the new government's anti-drugs measures is that they enable military intervention in matters of domestic security, a path that once taken, is hard to reverse. Español

This is how Singapore teaches children to stay away from drugs

The city-state has been distributing morbid anti-drug propaganda in its schools. So we asked an expert what Singapore’s harsh anti-drug policies actually achieve in reality.

“They were telling pure lies”: a survivor of Mexico’s Tlatlaya massacre shatters the official account

“Everyone in the government, the state, wanted this to go unpunished. They thought I would never talk.” Eyewitness Clara Gómez González speaks out. Español

Drug control reformers must remember our commitment to human rights

The prohibitionist approach undertaken by drug policies has created a great deal of unnecessary suffering. With the United Nations General Assembly meeting this April, a paradigm shift is needed in our drug control system. Español

Meet the Brazilian sociologist fighting back against the 'war on drugs'

"We have to stop the war on drugs if we want to live in a safer and more just society". (3:53 minutes)

In the Middle East, the prospects of a kinder drug policy remain distant

Across the Middle East, the ‘Americanisation’ of global drug policy seems as engrained and as inflexible as ever.

What’s really behind the ‘failure’ of the US ‘war on drugs’ in Afghanistan?

Although drug production has not been reduced, this has not really been a failure. The drug war’s true function lies in reinforcing western support for the war.

Drones, drugs and death

The war on terror’s methods of mass surveillance and remote warfare are not unique. The US is also addicted to covert tools in its ‘war on drugs’, with disastrous consequences.

“The degree of the racism is insane”: Johann Hari on the ‘war on drugs’

“African Americans are no more likely to buy or sell drugs than any other group, but they make up the overwhelming majority of the people who go to prison for it.” (27:42 minutes)

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