With an estimated global profit of 230 billion euros from illegal drugs made by organised crime groups each year, the war on narcotics remains as potent an issue as ever.
So too is the surrounding argument as to how best to tackle the supply and demand axis encouraging drug trafficking and addiction. Whilst those in favour of harsher penalties remain adamant deterrence is the only way to dissuade users, advocates of decriminalization point to successful case-studies in Holland, Germany, and most radically, in Portugal.
Our debate comes twelve years after Portuguese authorities dramatically re-classified drugs as a health problem, rather than a criminal issue. Despite initial predictions this new ‘depenalisation’ model would only abet further usage, overall consumption has actually fallen.
But is Portugal a special case? And is theirs a model replicable throughout Europe?
Join us for this edition of On The Frontline, with our guests: Antonio Maria Costa, former chief of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, and Howard Marks, a former drug trafficker once described by a British newspaper as the most sophisticated drug baron of all time.