Drugs by Ethan Nadelmann is a responsive article aimed against common war on drugs ideas. Nadelmann separates his article into seven different sections, addressing specific beliefs of anti-drug sentiments such as “The Global War on Drugs Can Be Won” and a pro-legalization sentiment “Legalization Is The Best Approach”. Through a condescending tone, Nadelmann believes that the war on drugs continuously causes more harm than good by responding to these drug sentiments under the belief that regardless of government regulations and prohibition, narcotics will always have a global presence, supply and demand.
Nadelmann first dismisses the notion of a “drug-free world” stating that the goal “is no more attainable than an ‘alcohol-free’ world. He then dismisses the two ‘simple’ goals of reducing supply and demand for drugs with comparative examples that present feebly regulated countries in Europe with similar a supply and demand of narcotics as the heavily drug-regulated society of America. History also supports this notion since there has “virtually never been a drug-free society”. Afghanistan is used a prime example to show that increases in regulation will only positively correlate to an increase in circumventing the regulations. The war on drugs does however, have potential if it focuses on harm reduction instead of prohibition. The United States is a prime example of misplaced efforts with over 500,000 drug-related prisoners, many of whom are racial minorities. Instead, these efforts can be utilized towards promoting safe and knowledgeable use of drugs. Finally, Nadelmann believes that legalization may be the best approach to the war on drug. Legalization is a possibility that can ground the drug problem to simple health issues of addiction, reducing or eliminating dangerous criminal markets and save over $100 billion a year; the negative effects will mainly be felt by terrorists, violent insurgents and corrupt politicians who assume the criminal and physical risks to chase extremely high profits. Although biased and condescending, Nadelmann objectively opposes the war on drugs under the notion that despite government prohibition, drugs will always have a global presence, legally or illegally.