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Watch the first ever live +Versus global debate on the #warondrugs on Google+ at 7pm GMT/ 2pm EST today. Here’s a few stats we found in new surveys: 91% agreed the war on drugs has failed. 90% agreed that offering treatment rather than jailing drug users is a better approach. 95% agreed that governments should debate methods other than jail to solve the drugs issue. Read on for more and watch to get involved in the debate...
More than 91% of people surveyed globally are in agreement that the war on drugs has failed...
RAV SUTHERLAND's profile photoRobert R. Bernier's profile photoHamuera Pugh's profile photoDeborah Sadler's profile photo
As long as we agree, jail is the treatment for drug dealers. User's will only get help if they want it.
mammals like getting high. War on one's biological nature? Never going to work.
I really hope I don't forget this is on, just recorded an episode on the same topic for #TheOtherChats - I am very eager to see what all data you guys pulled up on this hot button topic. Kudos for always seeming to preach to the causes that need focus shifted back to them!
Obviously speaking from ignorance there +sir Andres Think, don't just regurgitate slogans.
+sir Andres - I don't think that is the case, and most studies on the topic would also tend to disagree. America has a huge issue with prison populations, and the vast majority of that is for drug offenses (and typically not even dealers, to be honest).
This war had taken resources away from goverments more than it gains. We should not be close our minds to progressive ideas that can help.
+sir Andres - Yes I would say the same, as the offense here would be an issue of manslaughter, and in the same token I think the manslaughter should be at least considered to be dropped in the instance of intoxication, or have a separate standing and be tied in with other substance use crimes we have (such as alcohol). Typically in these cases the killing of the person is seen in a different light than the drug use.
There is much more important things for us to war against than peoples choice to use drugs in the comfort of there own homes as long as they are not affecting others. Lets have a war against poverty, or crime, or violence. Most people that I know that do drugs A) are not poor B) Do not steal or commit crimes C) Are actually more peaceful than all the people I know that only drink alcohol. Its not the drug that causes the problems...It is the mentality or personality of the person committing the Wrong. Any Debate on this?
is this starting at 2pm EST? Wouldn't that be 11am PST or now? Why does the page say it doesn't start for an hour?
The path to legalization is blocked by so many factors, all of which are based on payola. Too many people make money from the legal drugs we are sold, and hold too much sway with governments. There is simply more money to be made with prohibition than if it was abolished, or they would have already done away with it.
The only non-prescription drug I do is Caffeine. I would like to see drugs of abuse switched from legal punishment to a health concern. We could make a considerable dent in our deficit problem if we regulated and taxed them.
+Shawn Cox I partly agree with you, there are other important issues, however I know some people who fitted into the categories above, however, through stronger strains became distant, paranoid, lost marriages, friends and all self esteem/confidence in everything, just became bitter and insular which led to more drug use and made it worse. I know they took them of their own free will, but it's only now that some of the dangers are becoming apparent and little is done to stop new and stronger varients being available, and who knows where that will end?
ONLY "drug" I ever use is Omega 360mg Fish Oil and
Triple Strength Osteo-Bi-Flex ONCE a day, two tabs, that's it.
Put an end to for profit, private jails while you are at it.
Jimmy Z
Hmmm...pssssst...just an FYI...I have a roommate that can't live without "COKE" as in Coca Cola the soda not powder now. "SHE" become very cranky/moody if she stay off of it more than a Freaking DAY or 2. A Total 1000% Wacko/Psycho "Biatchs". So how in the world r they gonna band "SODA"? :-)
The failure is obvious to all but the hard-line law'n'order types. And all they want is to get re-elected. We should decriminalize all drug use and regulate them as we do alcohol and tobacco, two of the most dangerous drugs in the world. That would drop the price overnight and remove the power of the drug cartels and mobs.
I urge everyone to go spend some time around someone addicted to heroin or meth, or their families. Also, the drug cartels are not the ones causing all of the crime in the United States, its the addicts. For every 1 drug mule, there is probably hundreds of users perpetrating crimes in this country in order to buy those drugs. Do you honestly think that a meth-head or heroin addict will not rob you blind because its suddenly legal? Its easy to say "oh well its their fault for using drugs", but wait until its your child and see if you feel the same way.

While I can agree that the current tactics definitely need to be re-examined (something I think we can all agree on ), I think legalization is a very slippery slope.
It's all about money. Drugs are an easy out for those who sell drugs. There are no jobs that can help people without an education. To work a full time job on minimum wage and to provide for a family is very difficult. That is one reason selling drugs are appealing than being part of the working class. I
offering treatment is fine, but most users don't want it. Had a friend who's daughter is a heroin addict. He's tried many time to take her for treatment, she waits until he leaves the treatment center then checks herself out. She doesn't want to get better, she doesn't care. She only comes to him when she wants money. Most don't get treatment until they hit total rock bottom or have some major event that shows them the light. But yeah the war on drugs is an epic fail, agree there.
What is society coming to when you get a longer prison term for having a crushed up plant in your pocket than you do for raping someone. Can you say messed up priorities?
Whether drugs are legal or not, if people are better educated about these things, they are less likely make rash decisions. It won't stop it altogether, but there is a better chance that someone who knows the consequences won't go down that slippery slope in the first place.
Sadly, I believe we as a world community and society, have failed. We have failed in the rearing of our children. We have failed in the commitments to those we've sworn oaths to. As a world body, we have become very self interested. What can you do for me? Oh, you haven't done it yet? What's wrong with you? I'm more important than you or anyone you know! Due to the global communications ability, we want everything and we want it now. Narcissism seems to be an even worse drug, with little or no cure. Everyone thinks they can handle it...We must take the criminal element out of it...Legalize and regulate. Then, we need to get the religion aspect out of it also. We as a world community need to start showing a little love towards those that don't have. It is a statistical fact that 60-85 percent of convicts released from prison, go back. Richard Branson leading the way.
There are studies that show that if people have access to "safer" drugs that they tend not to go to heroin or meth. The real issue though is all the havoc it causes in the producer countries.
Adam M
Plants are not drugs. Drugs are infused with man-made chemicals.
+Tony Tango Treatment has nothing to do with legalization. I am all for better treatment.
It is time for the the truth to emerge and sadly it never will spontaneously do so particularly where the US government is concerned. The war on drugs is a public relations gimmick. Yah sure there are law enforcement folks local and national that are supposedly fighting the war but they are in actuality fighting themselves. The US has been involved with and actually makes a profit on the drugs that come into this country overseas or across the border. They WANT us to have a drug problem because that means revenue for them (under the table of course) and justifies increased spending on law enforcement and public and private prisons (good for business). If there wasn't a "war on drugs" think of how many people would lose their incomes...The "war on drugs" should more aptly be called "the war on us".
For what we spend to put drug users in prison we could probably be providing healthcare for them and a good percentage of the rest of us.
don't forget governments provide lots of jobs (which we pay for )for the war on drugs always said why make criminals out of normal people and waste money on busting them and get to the root cause, why people abuse anything food drugs whatever, legalising and treatment would help rather than harm just read the latest BS they busted a bunch of college kids coming back from Canada with alcohol and pot why ?because they were under 21 and drinking alcohol is illegal at that age well i said to myself thank god they caught them because god knows what they might have done next murder rape mugging etc wonder if those subjects are on their curriculum at college WHY jeopardise their future over such minor shite I would rather walk around a college campus than down town anywhere and i bet most kids down town would love to be on a college campus but how they gonna get there?
i'd like to say that the usefully side 4 drugs is smaller than the the bad side but in fact getting drugs depends on the case of the one's family where is the real father,mother,sister,brother,real family from all of that? we are very far from THE GOD.............
Ro Roe
I agree with this, however what do you do with those who have killed or hurt others while they are high?
Think of all the tax revenue we haven't been collecting by not legalizing the drug trade.
illegal drug market just fulfills delinquency needs for cash. See how the mexican, colombian cartels provide themselves with huge amounts of cash, guns and corruption. this war is over, and is lost.
lets put the resources used to fight drugs to better use
Zabi D.
I live in the netherlands, you can smoke weed next to police, hasj and some other soft drugs. If they would legalize it fully, then the dealers will be left with no jobs. No crime, then they gonna steal your shit.

Life is give and take;)
Zabi D.
Brian did you know google + is not for kids like you?

I bet you got no any brain cells for a conversation.
The laws are too weak and drugs are used/sold/given as a wmd against nations labeled as hostile to bring their youth's a new kind of war..... this is no more a civilian case.....
Zabi D.
Everyone got problems tisa that doesn't mean, you should destroy your self by taking drugs. Here even kids 13 some 12 smoke weed, thats the bad side of it.
Zabi D.
Whats the case in portugal??
Just like everything else these days, it's not about what's a better approach ... there are politicians. lobbyists, and corporations who make an insane amount of money from #warondrugs (and other various wars going on). How much research you do and how solid your evidence is becomes completely irrelevant. If your research goes against their wallet it will be just as effective as me whispering it to a cat. Fix those dirty corrupt politicians if you want half a chance at fixing the world.
+Zabi Dehqani , Portugal stopped treating it as criminal activity and focused on treating it as health related.
The war is lost, money should not be spent on punishment, but education and treatment. There is only a small minority of drug users have a problem with the effects of excessive misuse of drugs. in moderation there are no issues.....
The people against drugs are always the ones that need it most. I don't do drugs, but I'm not such a tightwad that I can't see how prohibition causes far more problems than the drugs do.

These people might need drugs to help open their 3rd eye.
So I'm going to jump in here and address a couple issues. First, the War on Some Drugs is a tool for corrupt politicians to line theirs and their friends pockets who own Private Prisons, those who run the Drug testing corporations and any business that makes money off this War and those it effects! That includes Police Depts, attorneys, and especially the supposed treatment centers. 2nd, to those who use the old lame excuse that people that do drugs commit crimes...some may because the drug war keeps prices inflated for the drugs so in order to pay for em some users with NO morals commit them, but most of the crime stats come from the fact that just using and possessing drugs is a crime in and of itself! So, if its a crime to use or possess and you're caught, you add to the stats of crimes being committed. Doesn't really take a rocket scientist to see that! Last but not least of all, to those who think addicts can only be fixed with jail or even some treatments like methadone or suboxyn, which only line the pockets of Pharm companies, are sadly mistaken.

Sir Richard Branson, who I admire greatly for you joining us in the Movement to end this War, and your fight for Ethanol, if you don't know, you must know this, along with all others....there is a way to save addicts and the War on Some Drugs is why you can't get it in the U.S. (There are clinics in Mexico and Canada). It is called IBOGAINE! It can cure addictions in ONE DOSE!!
Please see this link to learn more!

I also drive a Dodge Caravan that runs on Ethanol because I support and urge ethanol to made from Hemp Stalk Cellulose which because of the Drug War, can't be grown or used due to Oils companies special interests and their lobby groups.

Sir Richard, I would love to interview you on my radio show, HempRock Radio and chat about your work on this issue and your work with Peter Gabriel and The Elders!!

Thanx for all you do!!!
Lynne Wilson aka the Happy Hemptress
Assuming that the war on drugs is anything other than a thinly veiled method of driving the price up on a commodity used to fund over-the-books, covert activities and to keep corporate prisons loaded up with their Federally funded guests, is misguided and naive. It's likely not to going to end any sooner than the "war on terrorism." Too many pockets are being lined by these strategies to give them up.
If you legalize it > you can tax it. :)
That's totally true... But then you can't hide what you do with the money as easily.
Doug de long got his eyes wide open,good speech.Power corrupts,money equals power,money will always corrupt those in power,especially if they have a coke habit!It's human nature to explore new things,to experience pleasure for pleasure's sake!It's human nature to become addicted.There is no easy answer,no quick fix,but if it ain't broke don't fix it.Clearly world policy is broken,some more than others,but a major change is needed if anything is gonna change.I fear that global corruption will stop the shake up of world laws required to really address the problem.
It doesn't matter if you think legalization of drugs is a good idea or not, Portugal has already proven it is. Your straw man arguments and appeals to ignorance will never change that.
You're never going to solve anything when you say it's a WAR. Negativity only attracts more negativity.
Keep the words of wisdom coming Richard, maybe someone will eventually sit up and take notice
"It's not about drugs, it's about personal freedom" - Bill Hicks
It reminds me of a quote from the series "The Wire " about war on drugs.... wars end
With all your different stances I'm surprised to have never heard you endorse Ron Paul.
I really think liberal elitist like Sir Richard Branson should put their money where their mouth is or frankly shut up. Hey Richard, how about spending a few of your millions to build clinics for these drug addicts? Oh yeah, that’s not how the liberal elite operate.
Gary. I agree. And Richard is a classy guy, so i'm surprised he hasn't done anything, quietly, in the background...
I really think conservative whiners like +Gary Davis should learn how to pluralize words correctly. Otherwise they might get written off as a lower primate incapable of higher thought processes.
I kinda like just like going thru theses posts bcauz some of the comments r funny... But I'm reality I have no idea Wut any of u r talking about :P
There is so much money involved. The massive government effort is endless. Think of how many people make their living fighting this so called war. That's where the real war will be fought in trying to put all those people out of work.
We could re-allocate 10% for prevention, rehabilitation and education. The other 90% of global expenditures on the War on drugs, let alone any real military spending, could feed the world.
Let em overdose, that will solve the problem straight up. It's not society's issue people get hooked on drugs. Everyone has a choice. We've all been there. Except most of us say no. The ones that give in and make it a life long affair then expect everyone to pick them up all the time, let them go. Bye bye meth crack freaks and heroin junkies.
Pyrrhus a Greek king had a famous battle against a Roman emperor of old, a losing battle which to all and sundry was obvious too see, and after winning he said, 'one more such victory and we're surely lost', he probably lost about 91% of his army, whatever the outcome of this war, it will prove to be a pyrrhic victory.
Who wants to have an addict work for you or date your daughter or be in your unit in the army? They can't be trusted to (1) get clean or(2) stay clean. An alcoholic usually smells drunk but drug users don't. If they're in the joint they can't get drugs as easily but then again, maybe they can. You need the wisdom of Solomon on this one.
There was a war? I thought it was fund raiser? Law enforcement and those brave officers who put their lives on the line daily need our support. When it comes to drugs and other human vise surely there is a better way. Just an opinion.
It would be interesting to see if there was more or less alcohol related crimes before and after prohibition.
I was going to compare this with Prohibition ... that bombed too.
We desperately needed an underclass and the war on drugs was an elegant solution. However, I think we will soon need the raw talent languishing in prisons to recreate the American Dream.
Like all attempts to legislate morality, jail/punishment is a deterrent at best and does not fix the problem--often it exacerbates it. Input person struggling with addiction, output hardened criminal.

In my opinion, we should put the responsibility of freedom on the people, educate them, regulate/tax their substances appropriately, and provide addiction help services. Teach people to know the law, know their bodies, know their substance, and know their limits.

Having a drink isn't a problem. Getting drunk every night is. South Americans chewing on coca leaves as a sort of morning coffee isn't wrong, banging 7 gram rocks is. Breathing 23% oxygen isn't bad. Prolonged exposure to very high oxygen concentrations, however, can cause oxidative damage to cell membranes, the collapse of the alveoli in the lungs, retinal detachment, and seizures.

Don't excuse bad parenting, don't excuse criminal behavior, don't excuse poor decisions--teach common sense, but give people the freedom to learn the hard way.

That's my .02, anyways.
Let's do what the Muslims do, execute the dealers.
i would say. let the person that whant to take it take it. less mouths to feed. hey the world is getting overpopulated as it is.
Why is it adults must be told what they can do in the privacy of their own homes! Prohibition didn't work then its not working now! Take the power away from the dealers . If people want an escape they'll find one!
This is and has always been about money and control.

There is not sufficient reason for marijuana to be illegal while tobacco is legal. Are we concerned about the health of our people, or pointing the finger at people who think differently than ourselves?

There are drugs though that no person has any business doing, and for that we need real, honest, education. Personally, I would like to live and let live, and allow people to do whatever they wish, as long as it does not infringe on the health or well being of others. Unfortunately, people are damn crazy fools a lot of the time, and that is what makes this always such a hot discussion. Very difficult. It comes down to a question of 'are we able to allow people to police themselves?' Very difficult question.
+Richard Branson I like your radicalization. I might not always agree, but it shows a thinking person and people like that and of that caliber change the world more drastically.
I don't like the word "war on..." as this not a positive expression. War is not positive and then the result may also become negative. Other no-no words is "struggle", "fight" and "against".
Better to name things what you want to achieve instead, in a positive thinking.
The main problem in the last 30 years was that this was considered an war and not a social disease, AIDS and other Pandemics have been fouth for that much time, thow not controlled AIDS is now a general knowledge issue, and only people that take risks get it, no one shows 6 year old kids what an Overdose does to a person, no one shows to 12 year old kids what drug addicts missed out on life because of their drug use, Information is Power, only 2 things must be done, distribute drugs at low cost thru controlled government shops, and give people information on what drug use does to the brain and the body, legalization with government control is the only way, if they did it with tobacco why not cannabis or opium derived drugs, even cocaine, a well informed person should be free to use any of these drugs, just don't ask his government for help on getting out of it!
Drug legalization is fast becoming middle ground.
Ram Jet
Education is very important but but what people forget is alcohol is the pre cursor to people loosing there inhibitions then saying stuff it I will have a line of coke or pop a pill on a night out. If you legalize it then everyone will be on drugs. Thailand & Bali has the right attitude - DEATH PENALTY.
34 years of smoking Marijuana. The results? I am in excellent health for my age - even for someone younger. I own a 500000 dollar home, have a lovely wife, and pretty much do what I like with my day to day. I am intelligent, articulate and imaginative. Yeah, pot is soooo bad.

I'm tired of hearing about "stronger strains". Here's the clue, if you are a whack job, drugs will make it worse - but so will most things in this modern world.
Keep on telling yourself that. I have seen people shouting and fighting with people that does't exist all because of drugs, so keep on using it and if it happens to you don't say I didn't tell you.
+Joel Ballem I have seen all sorts or people doing all sorts of things. That is evidence of nothing but my own views on my own assumptions. Think more deeply, or you will be providing 'solutions' that have no bearing on the problem.

I've been smoking pot for 34 years. I know whereof I speak. What experience do you have other than making assumptions based on what you think you know?

+Joel Ballem You say that as if all drugs do the same things to you. Perhaps you should research a little deeper to find out the truth behind what does what before you go shooting from the hip like that.

It's said that smoking weed - whether in herbal form (grass) or solid will lead to stronger drugs, but as +Ted Ewen has stated, some people are just susceptible to wanting the higher high or the harder hit.

Hash is often prescribed to those with Glaucoma or Multiple Sclerosis, so it can't be all bad and about the worse thing it does if taken to extremes, is make one lethargic and slightly paranoid. Otherwise, I'm afraid I agree with some of the other 'pro' hash posters here: it's down to individuals.

Look at the issues caused by alcohol and then look at tokers. Most of the tokers couldn't be bothered to fight, yet it seems it's the first thing on a drinker's mind. Tokers get too paranoid to drive and often crash out where they are rather than get in the car and risk themselves and others. This is not so with drinkers, who tend to think their driving improves after a few pints or a few glasses of wine.

I'm not suggesting that hash smoking is good and I'm sure that many medical practitioners would suggest that it's anything but good, but I have known a great many people who are just like Ted and have healthy, productive lives and would rather smoke a joint (or whatever their preference for taking it), rather than drink.

They will not damage their livers, kidneys or end up in motorway pile-ups like many drinkers and are generally less argumentative than others, preferring instead to reason things out.

Personally, I prefer to remain straight, drinking only very occasionally. Even then it's only a can or bottle of beer or perhaps a couple of glasses of wine if I'm not going anywhere.

As for hash, I haven't touched any of that in well over fifteen years and that was through choice. I feel I'm articulate, intelligent and well capable of making my own decisions after weighing up the pros and cons. I have concluded that hash is not for me, not because it's illegal as it's never been legal, but because I prefer to write and I feel I do that better straight than zonked out.
Too bad the conservitive govenment in Canada did not hear about this be for enacting their crime bill. The bill is going to cost Canadian's billions of dollars for no benefit.
to Kit Kelley: Yeah, you're right. I didn't think abt. that.
One of the reasons why "The War On Drugs" has not worked is because you cannot clump everyone together and treat them all the same.Addicts and people with addictions are not all the same in the way they go about their dysfunctional life. Yes; I agree that an addiction is and addiction;but some people are more addicted to prescription drugs;and not all addicts drink and drug. There are all types ;and conditions ;and Doctors and Mothers & Fathers & care takers should also take some responsibility in not letting these people slide by;or think its ok if they have an occasionally pill. We have to think of it like we would an allergy and that some people are allergic to drugs and really cannot have them;end of story no exceptions.Also the way that the legal process works in relationship to all of this is not working either.It is type for re-evaluation and a new process all the way around.
I Work with a Slite Paranoid person, as some one as described in this comments, i have to cope with her paranoid bad mood every day, it's not easy, because no one should be subjected to constant antagonism and bad mood from colleagues, so drug use is not only a problem for people o do it it's a problem for every one how has to deal with drug addicts attitudes, and let's be honest, many people that do drugs, not all thou, just because they do it, think that living in a society, is a thing that does not apply to them!, I'm a social Anarchist, i Believe that a Society can exist were people work for a common good without wasting time and money in bureaucracy, but i do not impose my beliefs and way of life, to other people!
Why must we police every aspect of life? I'm an adult I should be able to choose what I do in the privacy of my own home. The war on drugs doesn't work! Its about keeping people under big brothers watchful unforgiving eye! ENOUGH !!
+Ted Ewen Thanks for telling people that WEED is not Drugs....Hard Drugs are Drugs. Hard drugs make you crazy and unreliable. Marijuana is a soft drug and has been used for thousands of years with no deaths to its name...Some people are simply morons even without marijuana. It is not like they will become smarter with it. So people tend to blame the Weed for their stupidity. Weed is less addictive than Coffee!
Coffee is very hard to drop because it's everywhere and it is causing traffic jams at DD's with traffic accidents galore to the point that it should be delivered door to door like milk was in the old days.
I need help filming my new diagnosis of Frontal to temporal degeneration diseases. This journey should be followed so others will no what to expect
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