This morning, President Trump hosted a meeting at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly called “The World Drug Problem,” in which he called for the eradication of drug use and an escalation of the global drug war, all while pressuring nations suffering from drug war violence – including Mexico and Afghanistan – to agree to redouble their enforcement efforts lest they be subjected to U.S. sanctions. The Law Enforcement Action Partnership’s executive director and 34-year police veteran, Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), issued the following statement in response:
“Policing people for addiction has cost the U.S. over $1 trillion dollars without reducing overall addiction or overdose rates. Tens of thousands are killed each year in Latin America as cartels profit from prices artificially inflated by the policies Trump is endorsing. We must condemn any effort to promote this backwards, violent policy that has fueled dangerous criminals, killed hundreds of thousands of people, and threatens our international relationships and national security.
Going after the cartels and gangs that supply these drugs creates violence and destabilizes communities and entire regions. Mexico, Afghanistan, and other countries have suffered from corruption, violence, and poverty as a result of our (largely American-driven) global drug policies. Gang and cartel leaders need to be put behind bars for violent atrocities they commit, but without a legal system that can be regulated and controlled,, another dealer will always be waiting to take his or her place. In fact, when one cartel leader is arrested, it often creates a dangerous power vacuum. Violence almost always skyrockets after a major arrest in producer countries. This goal of eradicating drug use completely is a not a realistic goal – instead we need to minimize the harms associated with drug use by ending the War on Drugs and removing the criminal profit motive from the equation.
Reducing the harms of drug use worldwide requires international relationships built on mutual cooperation, trust, and evidence-backed solutions – not heavy-handed, unilateral threats. Pressuring countries into adopting policies that will ultimately hurt their citizens is a surefire way to further degrade our reputation on a global scale, and fuel anti-American sentiment and terrorism.”