Soros versus NZ on war against drugs

George Soros promotes drug policy reform and harm reduction causes…

Billionaire business magnate and philanthropist George Soros—who has long bankrolled drug policy reform and harm reduction causes—has published an op-ed in today’s Financial Times. It’s in support of a new report from the London School of Economics, which is signed by five winners of the Nobel Prize for economics and calls for an end the international War on Drugs.

Soros describes the report as “the most thorough account of the war on drugs” to date. Authored by some of the world’s top economists, it outlines the far-reaching damages wrought by international counter-narcotics efforts, and recommends that governments give top priority to evidence-based drug policies, moving away from prohibition and towards harm reduction. With this message, Soros writes: “I heartily concur.”

“For more than four decades, governments around the world have pumped huge sums of money into ineffective and repressive anti-drug efforts,” he continues. “These have come at the expense of programs that actually work such as needle exchanges and substitution therapy. This is not just a waste of money, it is counterproductive.” Soros is the founder of Open Society Foundations, which has done extensive work in promoting harm reduction programs.

But Soros believes “change is still possible” and hopes the new LSE report could herald a new direction in global drug policy. He writes: “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix a broken global framework for coping with the drug crisis. The costs of doing nothing are too great to bear.”

Hat Tip @NZDrug NZ Drug Foundation

…while New Zealand’s Parliament vote last night to effectively ban synthetic drugs and continue a futile war against drugs.

Warning as legal highs become illegal

The Government is warning of heavy penalties for selling, making or possessing synthetic drugs after the deadline of midnight tonight, when all remaining products will be stripped from shelves.

Parliament yesterday began debating an emergency law change under urgency, which will ban all remaining party pills and synthetic cannabis until a rigorous testing regime is in place.

It will come into effect tomorrow at 12.01am.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said that at this point, all interim approvals for psychoactive drugs would be revoked, remaining products would be recalled and retail licences would be cancelled.

“It will also become illegal to possess these products, so anyone thinking of stocking up … should bear that in mind.”

The penalty for possessing a small amount of a psychoactive substance is a $500 fine.

New Zealand seems to be changing in the wrong direction, repeating the failures of the past.

George Soros in the Financial Times:

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