Breaking the Taboo is a new hour-long documentary arguing that the War on Drugs has failed, and it’s streaming on YouTube for free. It’s a high-quality production produced by Richard Branson’s son and narrated by Morgan Freeman, and it features many interviews with former heads of states around the world.
I’ve heard many of the arguments and statistics before, but it’s very powerful to see them presented in one place, especially regarding the inability of governments to stop the drug trade on both the supply side and the demand side while empowering cartels and encouraging cycles of poverty, abuse, and violence.
I continue to view the ending of this war as inevitable. Opinion polls continue to trend in this direction, and cash-strapped governments will soon be encouraged to trade the costs of enforcement for the tax revenue of legalizations. This film comes at a tipping point and will probably help push many on the margin; I think it’s even good enough to change some minds.
I think the most charitable arguments against ending this “prohibition” involve concerns about abuse, but I think it’s important to emphasize, as this film does, that such abuse is already happening, and it’s hard to help addicts when we’re sending many of them to jail where they will still find drugs because we can’t keep them out of prison and where they are likely to return to the black market drug trade when they get out of prison.
Some of the statistics about legalization leading to reduced use in a few countries almost sound too good to be true, but coupled with falling cigarette use in the United States, it certainly provides some hope and food for thought.
The War on Drugs may be unwinnable. But the War on the War on Drugs might be.