Juan Manuel Santos is the previous president of Colombia, which makes him a little bit of a drug-policy skilled by default.

Middle to a generations-long civil conflict is a wrestle over his nation’s coca-producing areas, that are answerable for as a lot as 60% of the uncooked materials supplying international cocaine demand.

Coca manufacturing is each a key technique of subsistence for rural farmers in addition to a transparent signal of the extreme financial imbalance between the worldwide south and north. As such, worldwide cocaine coverage — such because the 25 years’ value of the weed-killer glyphosate sprayed onto 4.2 million acres of Colombian farmland, a U.S.-backed interdiction marketing campaign that Santos opposed — is propelled by political and financial issues moderately than public security or public well being.

Which makes cocaine a typical drug. Politics, and never science or public well being, encourage the classifications and restrictions imposed on unlawful medication together with cannabis and heroin in addition to cocaine, based on a report launched this week from the International Fee on Drug Coverage, a Switzerland-based group of former heads of state, of which Santos is a member.

“It was a political choice” to categorise cocaine and cannabis as harmful medication, and to permit different highly effective and lethal narcotics, like opiates, to be prescribed by medical doctors, Santos stated, as per the Guardian. “Based on the research we’ve seen over the previous years, substances like cannabis are much less dangerous than alcohol.”

Different members of the fee embody British billionaire and drug-policy reform advocate Richard Branson; former U.Ok. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg; Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the U.S. federal reserve; and former presidents and prime ministers from Nigeria, South Africa, Chile, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland and others.

Particular person nations are free to set their very own drug legal guidelines, however three worldwide treaties agreed to below the auspices of the United Nations additionally affect drug-control coverage. The newest worldwide treaty on drug management was signed in 1988, which suggests neither scientific understandings nor sensible insurance policies have been reviewed in additional than 30 years. Controls are really useful by medical and scientific specialists, however — like most legal guidelines — are voted on by U.N. member-states a part of the Fee on Narcotic Medicine, which leaves classifications finally beholden to politics.

And that may be a vital downside, stated Ruth Dreifuss, the previous president of Switzerland and chair of the fee. “The worldwide system to categorise medication is on the core of the drug management regime,” she stated, “and sadly the core is rotten.” Dreifuss desires a complete overhaul of standing drug classifications, and needs well being and medical specialists from the World Well being Group (WHO) to steer it.

Although some nations, together with the US, have bullied others into abandoning liberalized drug legal guidelines as a result of they violated these treaties, home developments make an extra mockery of the worldwide drug-control order and additional show the fee’s level.

Thirty-four U.S. states have handed liberalized cannabis legal guidelines that violate American federal regulation, which continues to say that cannabis is a extremely addictive drug with no medical profit. That assertion is instantly contradicted by a gentle stream of scientific analysis, together with a major evaluation carried out by the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medication.

These unhealthy insurance policies have worse results than mere hypocrisy. As a lot as 80% of the world’s inhabitants lacks entry to life-saving and life-sustaining medicines, and “all the causes” why “are linked to repression and prohibition-based management techniques,” based on the fee.

Restrictive insurance policies set alongside political traces have fueled each the continuing human and pure destruction in Colombia in addition to the American opiate disaster, based on the fee. Greater than 70,000 folks died of drug overdoses in America in 2017, an annual toll higher than the entire variety of American useless throughout greater than a decade of fight in Vietnam.

However now what? The previous heads of state saying their present counterparts ought to do one thing else, one thing completely different, all have one thing in frequent — they’re all former heads of state, not ready to behave politically. Step one is admitting you have got an issue. If the previous heads of state weren’t fairly capable of repair the problems they’re not figuring out, determining why and mustering the political help to place science, and never energy or votes, in command of drug coverage is likely to be the fee’s biggest profit, moderately than telling us but once more what most already know.

TELL US, do you suppose drug classifications have extra to do with politics than science?