Jacob Sullum on How Drug Prohibition Sows the Seeds of Its Own Defeat


U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime

One indisputable achievement of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, which overthrew a regime that alternately cracked down on opium production and profited from it, was an enormous increase in drug seizures. Between 2000 and 2010, according to a study published last week by the online medical journal BMJ Open, "seizures of raw and prepared opium increased by more than 12,000%." But the study's authors found that heroin purity in the United States rose by 60 percent from 2000 to 2007, the most recent year for which data were available, while heroin prices in Europe fell by 74 percent. This is what success looks like in the war on drugs, says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum.