viernes, marzo 06, 2009

Como terminar la guerra contra las drogas

The Economist publica hoy un muy oportuno reportaje de portada. Copio su premisa: "La prohibición ha fallado; la legalización es la menos mala solución." Después de un siglo de prohibición es hora de innovar, de pensar fuera de los clichés y lugares comunes. Es preferible, como con el alcohol, legalizar y regular, que dejar que el mercado negro sea el que reine a costa de la sangre de miles. Copio el argumento con más detalle:

The failure of the drug war has led a few of its braver generals, especially from Europe and Latin America, to suggest shifting the focus from locking up people to public health and “harm reduction” (such as encouraging addicts to use clean needles). This approach would put more emphasis on public education and the treatment of addicts, and less on the harassment of peasants who grow coca and the punishment of consumers of “soft” drugs for personal use. That would be a step in the right direction. But it is unlikely to be adequately funded, and it does nothing to take organised crime out of the picture.

Legalisation would not only drive away the gangsters; it would transform drugs from a law-and-order problem into a public-health problem, which is how they ought to be treated. Governments would tax and regulate the drug trade, and use the funds raised (and the billions saved on law-enforcement) to educate the public about the risks of drug-taking and to treat addiction. The sale of drugs to minors should remain banned. Different drugs would command different levels of taxation and regulation. This system would be fiddly and imperfect, requiring constant monitoring and hard-to-measure trade-offs. Post-tax prices should be set at a level that would strike a balance between damping down use on the one hand, and discouraging a black market and the desperate acts of theft and prostitution to which addicts now resort to feed their habits.

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