WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Forty years after U.S. President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the global fight is a failure, an international panel concluded in a report released Thursday.
"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," the Global Commission on Drug Policy said in its report, "War on Drugs." "Fifty years after the initiation of the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the U.S. government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."
The report's executive summary said expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs "clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption."
Any wins in eliminating one source or trafficking organization "are negated almost instantly" by the materialization of other sources and traffickers, the report said.
Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said U.S. drug policy wasn't a result of a "drug war" mentality and its "balanced drug control efforts are making a big difference," The Wall Street Journal reported.
Among other things, the report recommends government experiment with "models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens." It also recommends that governments rethink "common misconceptions" about drug markets, use and dependence.
"Making drugs more available, as this report suggests, will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," Lemaitre said in a statement.
The international panel was formed in 2010 as a spinoff of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, which published a report in 2009, the Journal said. The Global Commission is funded by Richard Branson of Virgin Group Ltd., George Soros' Open Society Foundation, the Instituto Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the Centro Edelstein de Pesquisas Sociais in Brazil.