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Pleasure and pain
Pleasure-Seeking Behaviour
Avoiding Pain

Help LE MARCHÉ MONDIAL DE LA DROGUE Inutile et coûteuse, la guerre à la drogue Au-delà de la drogue
Le Monde Diplomatique : Drogue La "guerre à la drogue" ou l'hypocrisie étatique Le Plan Colombie :Guerre contre la drogue et $$$ Drug peace campaign
Qui est Oussama ben Laden ?
Les origines et les enjeux de la prohibition des drogues

Every year, close to 2 million people worldwide are imprisoned because of anti-drug laws, including 1 million in the USA alone. The clandestine behaviour that these laws impose on drug users also makes them run greater safety risks by, for example, sharing needles, or taking drugs without knowing what they really contain.

Opponents of today’s anti-drug laws point out that when alcohol was prohibited in the U.S. in the early 20th century, consumption of adulterated alcohol (alcohol that was distilled improperly, or that contained methanol) resulted in over 10,000 deaths and over 30,000 cases of blindness in less than 10 years.

While today’s anti-prohibitionists stress the perverse effects of making drugs illegal, they are also pursuing another, perhaps even more difficult goal: to teach people to make conscious choices about their sources of pleasure and their methods of escapism. From this perspective, the only way to evolve a truly meaningful policy for preventing drug use is through dispassionate, non-moralistic debate based on scientific information.


The international market in illegal drugs is said to account for about half of all flows of money worldwide. According to the April 2000 edition of the authoritative French weekly Le Monde diplomatique, this market has more financial power than the central banks!

If the drug trade persists despite all the so-called wars on drugs, the reason is that it serves the purposes not only of various rebel movements and terrorist groups, but also of sovereign states and their intelligence services, who use it to finance their arms purchases and clandestine activities.

The most typical example is the drug trade in Central Asia, which is closely linked with the secret activities of the CIA. Before the Soviet war in Afghanistan, scarcely any heroin was produced in this region. But within just a few years, the territories along the Afghani-Pakistani border became the main supplier of heroin to the world market, accounting for 60% of all heroin consumed in the United States. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the number of people with heroin dependencies rose from close to zero in 1979 to 1.2 million in 1985.

Many dictatorships and many multinational firms also derive their funding from the drug trade, because its illicit status makes for incomparable profit margins. The laws prohibiting drugs thus represent one of the primary factors in the success of the drug trade, on which these protagonists have grown rich.

Given the interests at stake, the drug trade thus serves as a pretext for undermining the political institutions of poor countries and colonizing them economically. Hence the “war against drugs” does not look like it is going to be won any time soon.

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