28 October 2009

Rudman's narrow thinking on drugs

Brian Rudman bemoans opiates as a "deadly scourge" effectively calling for the eradication of opium plants in Afghanistan. He doesn't have a suggestion as to what Afghan farmers should do instead, doesn't consider how this will shift production elsewhere, and doesn't even think that the criminalisation of opium creates many of the problems inherent in the trade. After all, opiates are used for medication, such as morphine.

He says "no one" is fighting it, which is patent nonsense, I guess he missed this. Although the futility of it is clear, since the Afghan government and so many in Afghanistan are reliant on the trade.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which has a vested interest in retaining the status quo, is his main source of information, and of course it is going to play up the threat. Nowhere are the questions asked:
- Is the main reason it is so profitable because it is illegal?
- Are some of the reasons it is so deadly because it is illegal?
- Is the criminal involvement in the trade because it is illegal?
- Will the elimination of opium in Afghanistan end the trade and supply of heroin?

Where does Rudman get this "fact " from, for example "It is triggering the spread of HIV at an unprecedented rate"? Really? So are the reports that in Africa the location with the highest prevalence of HIV, it is about sexual transmission NOT opiate use just nonsense?

Or is it that he has a terribly old fashioned view on the war on drugs, in that the decades of continued failure have passed him by?

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