ENDING the consumption and the trafficking of illegal drugs is “impossible”, according to Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s outgoing president. In an interview with The Economist Mr Calderón, whose battle with organised crime has come to define his six years in office, said that countries whose citizens consume drugs should find "market mechanisms" to prevent their money from getting into the hands of criminals in Latin America.and
In an interview recorded last month for this week’s special report on Mexico, Mr Calderón said: "Are there still drugs in Juárez [a violent northern border city]? Well of course, but it has never been the objective…of the public-security strategy to end something that it is impossible to end, namely the consumption of drugs or their trafficking…
Mr Calderón’s comments sum up what seems to be a growing consensus: stopping or even seriously reducing drug consumption has so far proved impossible, so it is time to focus on ways of making that consumption less harmful. That sort of thinking has been fashionable for a long time on the demand side, with innovations such as needle exchanges and methadone replacement now common in many rich countries. The next step is to explore legal ways of managing the supply side, as Colorado and Washington have recently voted to do.Here's an idea, make drugs legal.
Sitting presidents such as Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala are pushing for a rethink. As a result of this agitation the Organisation of American States, a regional body, is compiling a report on drug policy which is expected to explore alternatives to the current regime.