The core strategies of the U.S. War on Drugs are eradication, interdiction and incarceration. After a 40-year and trillion-dollar effort, illicit drugs remain available to meet a remarkably stable demand.
Drawing on decades of government-gathered and publicly available data, William Martin, director of the Drug Policy Program, and contributing expert Jerry Epstein contend that U.S. drug policy is premised on incorrect assumptions, aims at the wrong targets and can never succeed. But because these data run counter to a century of anti-drug propaganda, they play only a small role in public policy, mass-media presentation and popular perception. In this policy report, Martin and Epstein call for a reexamination of the data and sweeping revision of existing strategies. They urge formation of a politically independent national scientific commission, its members chosen by the National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services, to facilitate open examination and honest consideration of alternatives to current failed or flawed policies.