The United Nations is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of the “international war on drugs.” Yes, it was in 1909 that 13 countries joined together in the “International Opium Commission” to halt the Chinese opium trade. And how did that go? According to the Associated Press, although strongman Mao Zedong managed (or so his government claims) to make significant inroads in the 1950s, nowadays “Government statistics put the number of known addicts in China at 1.2 million, including 700,000 heroin users, more than two-thirds of them under the age of 35.”
Strangely, after a century's worth of attempts to forcefully stamp out two perfectly legitimate and useful human urges—to make a decent living, and to pleasurably alter our consciousness—drug warriors are no closer to victory. The chief of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, even confesses to feeling “somewhat frustrated” that his impossible job is so darn impossible.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009