Straits Times, 24 Feb 2016 - Some countries are legalising the use of certain pernicious drugs, like cannabis, but Singapore cannot afford to contemplate that prospect. Not after having struggled with drug abuse since its founding. Indeed, it was a distribution centre for opium during colonial times. By the time its British rulers awoke to the need for anti-drug laws, addiction had worked its way through society, leading to various forms of experimentation, even among schoolchildren. That prompted the setting up of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in 1971. Over four decades later, the agency is still waging war against the scourge.
Jerusalem Post, 21 Feb 2016 - Spark-Up Nation has a pretty good ring to it, don't you think? Saul Kaye, the CEO of iCAN, certainly does. For Kaye, whose company is holding its second annual CannTech conference on cannabis in Israel next month, the Jewish state is fertile ground for growing a cannabis economy.
New York Times, 17 Feb 2016 - ZARANJ, Afghanistan - Shortly after sunrise, an Afghan special operations helicopter descended on two vehicles racing through the empty deserts of southern Afghanistan, traversing what has become a superhighway for smugglers and insurgents. Intelligence showed that the men were transporting a huge cache of drugs and weapons from Helmand Province to Nimruz Province, a hub for all things illegal and a way station on the global opium trail. Hovering above, the troops fired tracer rounds into the sandy earth beside the vehicles, which skidded to a stop.
New York Times, 16 Feb 2016 - GARMSIR, Afghanistan - The United States spent more than $7 billion in the past 14 years to fight the runaway poppy production that has made Afghan opium the world's biggest brand. Tens of billions more went to governance programs to stem corruption and train a credible police force. Countless more dollars and thousands of lives were lost on the main thrust of the war: to put the Afghan government in charge of district centers and to instill rule of law. But here in one of the few corners of Helmand Province that is peaceful and in firm government control, the green stalks and swollen bulbs of opium were growing thick and high within eyeshot of official buildings during the past poppy season - signs of a local narco-state administered directly by government officials.
Boston Globe, 16 Feb 2016 - GARMSIR, Afghanistan - The United States spent more than $7 billion in the past 14 years to fight the runaway poppy production that has made Afghan opium the world's biggest brand. Tens of billions more went to governance programs to stem corruption and train a credible police force. Countless more dollars and thousands of lives were lost on the main thrust of the war: to put the Afghan government in charge of district centers and to instill rule of law.
Bangkok Post, 10 Feb 2016 - The United Nations is aiming to set a new macro policy on recreational drugs worldwide, starting today. It has taken almost a generation even to get to this point, which is the token beginning of a UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs. There are strong feelings emerging that the UN itself might even take a stand leaning towards legalisation of such drugs. A kickoff meeting this evening in New York will hear testimony, mostly from the pro-enforcement side. This is, essentially, Thailand's time to stand up for this country's policies on illegal drugs - or to call for changes. It is certain that after today's "interactive panel discussions" on the subject that a handful of Latin American countries and most of the 279 NGOs registered to attend will be lobbying hard on the legalisation side. Thailand and Thais are not prepared to go that far. Yet changes must be made.
The Nation, 05 Jan 2016 - As I have written before, human rights watchdogs estimate that 100,000 Mexicans have been killed in the past 10 years at the hands of drug cartels during the so-called war on drugs. That is an average of 10,000 people killed per year.