The War on Drugs began in the early 1970s when President of the United States of America Richard Nixon proclaimed illicit drug abuse “public enemy number one.” Multiple United Nations conventions in 1961, 1971, and 1988 also tried to address the problem by criminalizing the possession, use and manufacture of illicit drugs. Policy makers argued that harsh law enforcement action against those involved in producing, distributing and using illegal drugs would decrease supply and demand of drugs.

However, an increasing number of policy makers from around the world are now declaring that the existing approach has failed to prevent illicit drug use and supply, or curtail the wider socio-economic and health issues associated with taking them. It is argued that a change to the current paradigm is therefore needed sooner rather than later.

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