A group calling itself the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a report Thursday declaring: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world."
"We have to realize that we are dealing with a global propaganda of illicit drugs here," Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Drug Control Service, told RIA Novosti.
He cited Russia's "sad" experience of easing the sale of medicines containing the narcotic codeine, which led to a surge in abuse. President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered that codeine drugs be available only by prescription starting in November and proposed mandatory treatment instead of jail for addicts.
Among the members of the independent commission are former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan and ex-presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. Its supporters include airline tycoon Richard Branson and financier George Soros.