A new organization called the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy has recently been formed by a group of scientists who are upset that the people who make drug policy don’t appear to be paying much attention at all to science.
I don’t think it reflects very well on the scientific communities of the world, especially America and Britain, that such an organization is needed.
This organization is needed partly because for the last 40 years, scientists have managed to duck drug policy as an issue that concerns science in any way.
Indeed, I have friends in science who get very worked up over creationism and the like, but make nasty faces at me when I try to bring up areas where federal drug policy completely ignores the physically measurable universe as described in peer-reviewed, published scientific journals.
I can understand this. Most people in science tend to be white and/or belong to the upper middle class academic elite, which places them out of reach of most of the negative consequences of the War on Drugs.
And the War on Drugs feels morally appealing — why not just ban everything that’s bad?
But government policy has to be evaluated according to a stricter standard than the mere sensation of moral well-being that contemplating such policy produces in the people who support it.
It’s time for scientists to stand up and demand that drug policy be held accountable to science.
There’s too much money and too many lives at stake for us to be content with moral hand-waving when it comes to justifying the continuation of a war that’s been going on for around 40 years now and still hasn’t been “won.”