HAT Forum: May 1, OISE 11am-1pm Room 11-204

Forum: Saturday May 1, 2010
OISE : ROOM 11-204
Facilitator: Jody Perrin

THE WAR ON DRUGS

The United States is perhaps the largest and most lucrative market in the world for what we deem to be 'illegal drugs' or substances which have mood altering effects but are proscribed by our culture. The response of the American administration was been in recent years to attack on the sources of supply, usually outside of its borders and involving many millions of dollars in funding, equipment, personnel information-sharing, directed against suppliers in numerous countries ranging from Afghanistan to Columbia, especially Mexico. This is often termed the War on Drugs. (Canada and Mexico under similar conservative administrations seem to merely tag along with this initiative)

Some questions might include:

1) Is this strategy yielding positive results?
2) What are some of the costs of this initiative to the countries receiving this 'aid' and some of the costs to all of us in terms of policing, incarceration, human effects of criminalization of behaviors. etc. in our own countries?
3) Has prohibition worked in the past?
4) Is this strategy (war of drugs and prohibition) one which fits in with our Humanist Principle no.4 which states we "affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to maximum possible freedom compatible with the rights of others." Or Principle no.11, we "affirm individual and social problems can be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking, joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings"?
5) Can we think of some other strategies that might help our societies rationally and humanely deal with some of the problems of our collective drug addictions?