The single fact that drives me insane with anger when it comes to drugs is the complete erasure of the responsibility of the drug-using countries, combined with their refusal to see any solution other than those that penalise the countries where the source plants are grown.
Let us examine the famous USAmerican "War on Drugs". To begin with, why is it a war? Who are they waging the war against? Nature? Chemistry? Their own citizens who are caught with
Let's start at the beginning though. Coca. Coca is the root of cocaine (and Coca-Cola and Novocaine, but you know that). Coca is also a plant with many traditional religious and nonreligious uses all over the
Along came a German, Friedrich Gaedcke, who proceeded to isolate the cocaine alkaloid in 1855. Albert Neimann, another German scientist, improved the purification process in his PhD and published the thesis in 1860. Richard Willstätter synthesised it in five steps first in 1898. An Italian doctor, Paolo Mantegazza, was the first recorded person to experiment with the alkaloid. A chemist Angelo Marani, became the first person to market it in Vin Marani in
To recap, cocaine was first isolated by a German. The purification process was developed by a German. An Italian began experimenting with cocaine, and another Italian began marketing it in wine. A USAmerican manufacturer began selling the drug in various forms. And finally the
I cannot stress enough the fact that WITHOUT THE PROCESSING THE COCA PLANT IS PRETTY USELESS TO ADDICTS AND DEALERS.
Moving on to the mechanism of the War on Drugs. In my not so very intensive internet research and one and a half years of listening in class, I have gathered that the main prongs of the war are:
- Eradication of Coca
- Military assistance to
, to control growing, processing and trafficking Colombia
- Zero tolerance of drugs inside the
- Extreme pressure on Andean nations to involve themselves in the eradication of coca
The observed effects have been an increase in coca growing, an increase in the drug trade, increased civil war in Colombia, the spread of cultivation to other parts of existing coca-growing countries as well as non-coca growing countries, ridiculously escalating violence inside and outside the drug producing and consuming countries, increase in entry points and routes to the USA and a ridiculous number of people in jail in the USA on charges of possession of marijuana.
Eradication of coca is a ludicrous strategy because, firstly, it kills all plant life, including food and cash crops, without affecting coca itself too much, since coca was originally a weed. It has also been noticed that new strains of the plant are emerging that are resistant to the herbicides being used. The destruction of plant life then causes erosion in the delicately balanced areas of the
In the hypothetical Utopia where these things are all surmounted, there remains the issue of the violence. Agreed
Firstly, the average campesino in this situation is basically shot. You don’t cooperate with the military, they shoot because you're a guerrilla; you don’t cooperate with the guerrillas, they shoot you because you're a spy. You don’t cooperate with the narcos, you're a problem and they shoot you; you don’t cooperate with the anti-narcos, you're a narco and they shoot you. It is inevitable that they are sucked into one of the sides in this kaleidescope of a conflict.
Secondly, everyone is in the drug trade! This is the most incredible story ever, of the wife of a US Army Colonel, posted to
The self-interest of the "enlightened" "developed" world never ceases to amaze me. Despite the costs to themselves, their own population languising in jail, dying of overdoses, lives destroyed by drugs, they cannot begin to admit that perhaps a significant part of the problem comes from themselves, and take healthy steps to address it, because those steps might actually have more benefit for "developing" nations than themselves. I hate to make such emotional and frankly excessive accusations, but I can think of no other reason for the persistent destructive belief in the rightness of their stand of the part these nations in the face of lives lost and years of evidence to the contrary.
Coming soon, Neoliberalism is Evil!
*Evo Morales - The coca plant is not cocaine.
**Somebody find me some statistics that show what percentage of the population of various countries are hard drug users. I tried and got lost in anger along the way. I'm willing to BET it will bear me out. From what I know