A Journey from
Prohibition to Courageous Action
– an editorial from Efficacy
The Policy Shift
All evolving technology has a leading edge, even for social technology. For humankind's drug struggle,
the "War on Drugs" is no longer that edge. It is now drug legalization and related policies.
A call is building
for all drug sales to come under government control to eliminate the market for drug dealers and to end
the vast culture of criminality surrounding illegal drugs. Even Walter Cronkite is in the fray,
saying in 2006,
"...nothing will change until someone has the courage to stand up and say ... the war on drugs has failed." Efficacy and
other like-minded organizations are at the beginning of that new courage, a courage to create
a dramatic shift on how we take responsibility for illicit drugs.
There is much in this site that reveals how drug prohibition, A.K.A "War on drugs," is not effective and
even destructive of our society. It damages race relations. It packs
our prisons. It breeds police corruption and abuse. It drains
funds best used for urban renewal and educational programs. Please read the Efficacy material at this site or explore the many
links we provide. You may find yourself deeply impacted. For the founders, staff and supporters of Efficacy, our initial exposure
to the dark side of our society has,
moved us to see the alarming extent to which criminality feeds off our current drug policy
moved us to help our nation get beyond our anxieties and fears
moved us to appreciate the drug problem as a natural struggle for a civilized world.
The New Journey
In the voice of one sheriff,
Controlling the drug supply is like holding water in a fist, it just leaks out and goes on to something else...
Eventually, we will realize a fist won't work against what is fundamentally a spiritual problem.
- Bill Masters, San Miguel County Sheriff, Colorado
In Humanity's quest to conquer drugs, the journey is not from drug war to peace, but from prohibition to courageous-action;
from eradication policy to public-health policy. The need for a new direction in how we take responsibility for illicit
drugs has already gained recognition in law enforcement
(see related video) and
(see related video).
It's Efficacy's mission to expand such recognition
with the goal of reducing the societal damage caused by drug-war policies, without worsening—at the
very least—the actual abuse of drugs. It is a new approach — one no longer based on blind faith in
the power of law but a new journey based on spiritual faith in the strength of a civilized society.
The so-called 'War on Drugs', is a prohibition that began with the Harrison Narcotics Act passed by Congress in 1914.
It was President Nixon, in 1969, who first called it the "War on Drugs" — a seemingly apt term on the heels of
President Johnson's "War on Poverty." But Nixon's slogan was more than political fashion. It called forth a genuine and
vigorous intention to solve a problem that vexes the human soul. An intention ringing with bellicose rhetoric and stark
metaphor — leadership at its best one would think. Yet, we now know, it was leadership
without a workable plan.
Appropriately, those calling for an end to drug prohibition are primarily non-users of illicit drugs. We are parents and
grandparents — serious citizens who want to see the street dealers shut down for good. We see the drug war as
mean-spirited. We believe that risky drugs should be licensed and sellers regulated, just as is currently done with alcohol,
tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
A time of courage is before us — courage for trusting what spiritual institutions, social agencies and ordinary folk
can accomplish regarding problem drug use. This country has had almost a century of drug prohibition and four decades of the
war on drugs, yet there are more drugs on our streets—at cheaper prices and higher potency—than ever before. We
have nothing but meaningless victories to celebrate for this "war." Drug use should be handled as a public health issue. It
is the journey forward.
Amazingly, society is shifting. The Wall Street Journal
noted on May 14, 2009:
The Obama administration's new drug czar
says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift
favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
Moving forward is what humanity does best.
Searching for rational solutions to drug issues
The need for a fresh and unbiased approach to decades-old questions surrounding
substance abuse is more than evident and voices for reform are getting louder
every year. Efficacy was founded in order to support and facilitate efforts
aimed towards worldwide drug liberalization, with an eye on society with reduced
crime rate and better health protection for vulnerable groups.
Instead of spending astronomical sums of money on ineffective
law enforcement techniques, governments must be expected to take
full responsibility and start directly controlling trafficking of
psychoactive substances through legally sanctioned channels. That way it
becomes possible to eliminate lucrative opportunities for international
drug syndicates, as well as to ensure that drug users will be protected
from counterfeit drugs. By reducing the amount of moralizing noise and focusing
on practical issues that can be improved, we can make a conscious choice to move
the frontline to entirely new area and attempt a rational strategy based on realistic facts.
We are aware that a broad coalition of forces will be needed in order to trigger
fundamental change. To this end, we are actively cooperating with a number of
organizations sharing our ideals and methods, including public forums such as EuroChemicals
where open debate about sensitive issues can happen in real time. Together we have the power to learn from past mistakes and start
a process of reform that will lead to a permanent, sustainable solution that takes into account different perspectives on production,
regulation and consumption of drugs.
View Thornton interview:
Transcript or YouTube video.
Clifford Thornton is interviewed on the Pinky Show,
an educational TV show hosted by Pinky, the cartoon cat —
a show described as "weirdly irresistible
and intellectually compelling." With "deadpan humor," the show delivers an unusually comprehensive interview of
Mr. Thornton on drug policy reform.
A video response — see one person's
video & musical statement on the Drug War, using parts of the Thronton interview.