Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Drug prohibition in various forms has been in place for over 100 years. Based on the simple premise that drugs are bad for the people who take them, and for communities as a whole, Governments spend billions on attempting to eliminate the supply and use of illegal substances, like cocaine and marijuana.
While it seems wholly plausible that a drug-free world would make it a better place for the majority – there is overwhelming evidence that the criminalisation of drug production/ supply/ possession is not largely effective at creating a 'drug free' society. In fact there are many who argue that the "War on Drugs" has been a failure. Under prohibition drug usage has risen, drugs have become cheaper and more available, and illicit production has easily met the growing demand.
Worse, the policy of making drugs illegal may have led to a series of catastrophic unintended consequences associated with illegal trade – violent criminals rule production, increasing drug-related crimes manifold. The drugs industry generates over $300 billion each year which has been associated with funding corruption and terrorism (building an arms insurgency which has fuelled civil war in Colombia for example, and reportedly providing income for the Taliban.
Steve Rolles is our connector of the day on Tuesday. He works for the UK group 'Transform' which campaigns for the legalisation of all drugs. In his book "After the war on drugs: Blueprint for regulation" Rolles argues that we have a clear choice: drugs markets can remain in the hands of organised criminals and street dealers, or they can be controlled and regulated by the Government. By legalising drugs, we can minimise the harms associated with drug supply and use.
What do you think of this argument? Send your questions for Steve Rolles here and we'll put the best of them to him on Tuesday's show.