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What has the War on Drugs
done to the world?

Look at the murder and mayhem in Mexico,
Central America, so many
other parts of the planet,

the global black market estimated
at 300 billion dollars a year,
prisons packed in the
United States and elsewhere,

police and military drawn
into an unwinnable war

that violates basic rights,
and ordinary citizens

just hope they don't get
caught in the crossfire,

and meanwhile, more people using
more drugs than ever.
It's my country's history
with alcohol prohibition

and Al Capone, times 50.
Which is why it's
particularly galling to me

as an American that we've
been the driving force

behind this global drug war.
Ask why so many countries criminalize
drugs they'd never heard of,
why the U.N. drug treaties emphasize
criminalization over health,
even why most of the money worldwide
for dealing with drug abuse goes not
to helping agencies but those that punish,
and you'll find the good old U.S. of A.
Why did we do this?
Some people, especially in Latin America,
think it's not really about drugs.
It's just a subterfuge for advancing
the realpolitik interests of the U.S.
But by and large, that's not it.
We don't want gangsters and guerrillas
funded with illegal drug money
terrorizing and taking over other nations.
No, the fact is, America really is crazy
when it comes to drugs.
I mean, don't forget, we're
the ones who thought

that we could prohibit alcohol.
So think about our global drug war
not as any sort of rational policy,
but as the international projection
of a domestic psychosis.
But here's the good news.
Now it's the Russians leading
the Drug War and not us.

Most politicians in my country
want to roll back the Drug War now,
put fewer people behind bars, not more,
and I'm proud to say as an American
that we now lead the world
in reforming marijuana policies.
It's now legal for medical purposes
in almost half our 50 states,
millions of people can
purchase their marijuana,

their medicine, in government-
licensed dispensaries,

and over half my fellow
citizens now say it's time

to legally regulate and tax marijuana
more or less like alcohol.
That's what Colorado and
Washington are doing,

and Uruguay, and others
are sure to follow.

So that's what I do:
work to end the Drug War.
I think it all started growing up
in a fairly religious, moral family,
eldest son of a rabbi,
going off to university where I
smoked some marijuana
and I liked it. (Laughter)
And I liked drinking too, but it was obvious
that alcohol was really the
more dangerous of the two,

but my friends and I could get busted
for smoking a joint.
Now, that hypocrisy kept bugging me,
so I wrote my Ph.D dissertation
on international drug control.

I talked my way into the State Department.
I got a security clearance.
I interviewed hundreds of DEA
and other law enforcement agents

all around Europe and the Americas,
and I'd ask them,
"What do you think the answer is?"
Well, in Latin America, they'd say to me,
"You can't really cut off the supply.
The answer lies back in the U.S.,
in cutting off the demand."
So then I go back home and I talk to people
involved in anti-drug efforts there, and they'd say,
"You know, Ethan, you can't
really cut off the demand.

The answer lies over there.
You've got to cut off the supply."

Then I'd go and talk
to the guys in customs

trying to stop drugs at the borders,
and they'd say, "You're
not going to stop it here.

The answer lies over there,
in cutting off supply and demand."
And it hit me:
Everybody involved in this
thought the answer lay in that area
about which they knew the least.
So that's when I started
reading everything I could

about psychoactive drugs:
the history, the science,

the politics, all of it,
and the more one read,
the more it hit you how a thoughtful,
enlightened, intelligent
approach took you over here,

whereas the politics and laws of my country
were taking you over here.
And that disparity struck me as this incredible
intellectual and moral puzzle.
There's probably never been
a drug-free society.
Virtually every society
has ingested psychoactive substances
to deal with pain, increase
our energy, socialize,

even commune with God.
Our desire to alter our consciousness
may be as fundamental as our desires
for food, companionship and sex.
So our true challenge
is to learn how to live with drugs
so they cause the least possible harm
and in some cases the
greatest possible benefit.

I'll tell you something else I learned,
that the reason some drugs
are legal and others not

has almost nothing to do
with science or health

or the relative risk of drugs,
and almost everything to do with who uses
and who is perceived
to use particular drugs.

In the late 19th century,
when most of the drugs that
are now illegal were legal,

the principal consumers
of opiates in my country

and others were middle-aged white women,
using them to alleviate aches and pains
when few other analgesics were available.
And nobody thought about
criminalizing it back then

because nobody wanted to
put Grandma behind bars.

But when hundreds of thousands of Chinese
started showing up in my country,
working hard on the railroads and the mines
and then kicking back in the evening
just like they had in the old country
with a few puffs on that opium pipe,
that's when you saw the
first drug prohibition laws

in California and Nevada,
driven by racist fears of Chinese
transforming white women
into opium-addicted sex slaves.
The first cocaine prohibition
laws, similarly prompted

by racist fears of black men
sniffing that white powder

and forgetting their proper place
in Southern society.
And the first marijuana prohibition laws,
all about fears of Mexican migrants
in the West and the Southwest.
And what was true in my country,
is true in so many others as well,
with both the origins of these laws
and their implementation.
Put it this way,
and I exaggerate only slightly:
If the principal smokers of cocaine
were affluent older white men
and the principal consumers of Viagra
were poor young black men,
then smokable cocaine would be easy to
get with a prescription from your doctor

and selling Viagra would get you
five to 10 years behind bars.

I used to be a professor teaching about this.
Now I'm an activist, a human rights activist,
and what drives me is my shame
at living in an otherwise great nation
that has less than five percent
of the world's population

but almost 25 percent of the
world's incarcerated population.

It's the people I meet
who have lost someone

they love to drug-related
violence or prison

or overdose or AIDS
because our drug policies emphasize
criminalization over health.
It's good people who have lost their jobs,
their homes, their freedom,
even their children

to the state, not because they hurt anyone
but solely because they chose to use one drug
instead of another.
So is legalization the answer?
On that, I'm torn:
three days a week I think yes,
three days a week I think no,

and on Sundays I'm agnostic.
But since today is Tuesday,
let me just say that legally
regulating and taxing

most of the drugs that
are now criminalized

would radically reduce
the crime, violence,

corruption and black markets,
and the problems of adulterated
and unregulated drugs,

and improve public safety,
and allow taxpayer resources to be developed
to more useful purposes.
I mean, look, the markets
in marijuana, cocaine,

heroin and methamphetamine
are global commodities markets
just like the global markets
in alcohol, tobacco,

coffee, sugar, and so many other things.
Where there is a demand,
there will be a supply.
Knock out one source and another
inevitably emerges.
People tend to think of prohibition
as the ultimate form of regulation
when in fact it represents
the abdication of regulation

with criminals filling the void.
Which is why putting criminal laws and police
front and center in trying to control
a dynamic global commodities market
is a recipe for disaster.
And what we really need to do
is to bring the underground drug markets
as much as possible aboveground
and regulate them as
intelligently as we can

to minimize both the harms of drugs
and the harms of prohibitionist policies.
Now, with marijuana, that obviously means
legally regulating and
taxing it like alcohol.

The benefits of doing so are
enormous, the risks minimal.

Will more people use marijuana?
Maybe, but it's not
going to be young people,

because it's not going to
be legalized for them,

and quite frankly, they already have
the best access to marijuana.
I think it's going to be older people.
It's going to be people in their 40s and 60s
and 80s who find they prefer a little marijuana
to that drink in the evening or the sleeping pill
or that it helps with
their arthritis or diabetes

or maybe helps spice up a
long-term marriage. (Laughter)

And that just might be a
net public health benefit.

As for the other drugs,
look at Portugal, where
nobody goes to jail

for possessing drugs,
and the government's made
a serious commitment

to treating addiction as a health issue.
Look at Switzerland,
Germany, the Netherlands,

Denmark, England, where people who have
been addicted to heroin for many years
and repeatedly tried to quit and failed
can get pharmaceutical
heroin and helping services

in medical clinics, and
the results are in:

Illegal drug abuse and disease
and overdoses and crime
and arrests all go down,

health and well-being improve,
taxpayers benefit,
and many drug users even
put their addictions behind them.

Look at New Zealand, which
recently enacted a law

allowing certain recreational
drugs to be sold legally

provided their safety had been established.
Look here in Brazil, and some other countries,
where a remarkable psychoactive substance,
ayahuasca, can be legally
bought and consumed

provided it's done so
within a religious context.

Look in Bolivia and Peru,
where all sorts of products
made from the coca leaf,

the source of cocaine,
are sold legally over the counter
with no apparent harm to people's public health.
I mean, don't forget, Coca-Cola
had cocaine in it until 1900,

and so far as we know was no more addictive
than Coca-Cola is today.
Conversely, think about cigarettes:
Nothing can both hook you
and kill you like cigarettes.

When researchers ask heroin addicts
what's the toughest drug to
quit, most say cigarettes.

Yet in my country and many others,
half of all the people who
were ever addicted

to cigarettes have quit
without anyone being
arrested or put in jail

or sent to a "treatment program"
by a prosecutor or a judge.
What did it were higher taxes
and time and place
restrictions on sale and use

and effective anti-smoking campaigns.
Now, could we reduce smoking even more
by making it totally illegal? Probably.
But just imagine the drug war nightmare
that would result.
So the challenges we face today
are twofold.
The first is the policy challenge
of designing and implementing alternatives
to ineffective prohibitionist policies,
even as we need to get
better at regulating

and living with the drugs
that are now legal.

But the second challenge is tougher,
because it's about us.
The obstacles to reform
lie not just out there

in the power of the
prison industrial complex

or other vested interests
that want to keep things

the way they are,
but within each and every one of us.
It's our fears and our lack of knowledge
and imagination that stands
in the way of real reform.

And ultimately, I think that
boils down to the kids,

and to every parent's desire
to put our baby in a bubble,

and the fear that somehow
drugs will pierce that bubble

and put our young ones at risk.
In fact, sometimes it
seems like the entire

War on Drugs gets justified
as one great big child protection act,
which any young person
can tell you it's not.

So here's what I say to teenagers.
First, don't do drugs.
Second, don't do drugs.
Third, if you do do drugs,
there's some things I want you to know,
because my bottom line as your parent is,
come home safely at the end of the night
and grow up and lead a
healthy and good adulthood.

That's my drug education
mantra: Safety first.

So this is what I've dedicated my life to,
to building an organization and a movement
of people who believe we
need to turn our backs

on the failed prohibitions of the past
and embrace new drug
policies grounded in science,

compassion, health and human rights,
where people who come from
across the political spectrum

and every other spectrum as well,
where people who love our drugs,
people who hate drugs,
and people who don't give
a damn about drugs,

but every one of us believes
that this War on Drugs,

this backward, heartless,
disastrous War on Drugs,

has got to end.
Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you.
Chris Anderson: Ethan,
congrats — quite the reaction.
That was a powerful talk.
Not quite a complete standing O, though,
and I'm guessing that some people here
and maybe a few watching online,
maybe someone knows a teenager or a friend
or whatever who got sick,
maybe died from some drug overdose.
I'm sure you've had these
people approach you before.

What do you say to them?
Ethan Nadelmann: Chris, the most
amazing thing that's happened of late

is that I've met a growing number of people
who have actually
lost a sibling or a child

to a drug overdose,
and 10 years ago, those
people just wanted to say,

let's line up all the drug
dealers and shoot them

and that will solve it.
And what they've come to understand
is that the Drug War did
nothing to protect their kids.

If anything, it made it more likely
that those kids were put at risk.
And so they're now becoming part of this
drug policy reform movement.
There's other people who have kids,
one's addicted to alcohol, the other
one's addicted to cocaine or heroin,

and they ask themselves the question:
Why does this kid get to
take one step at a time

and try to get better
and that one's got to deal with jail
and police and criminals all the time?
So everybody's understanding,
the Drug War's not protecting anybody.
CA: Certainly in the U.S.,
you've got political gridlock

on most issues.
Is there any realistic chance of anything
actually shifting on this
issue in the next five years?

EN: I'd say it's quite remarkable.
I'm getting all these calls

from journalists now who are saying to me,
"Ethan, it seems like the only two issues
advancing politically in America right now
are marijuana law reform and gay marriage.
What are you doing right?"
And then you're looking at
bipartisanship breaking out

with, actually, Republicans in the Congress
and state legislatures
allowing bills to be enacted

with majority Democratic support,
so we've gone from being sort of the third rail,
the most fearful issue of American politics,
to becoming one of the most successful.
CA: Ethan, thank you so much for coming to TEDGlobal.
EN: Chris, thanks so much.

CA: Thank you.
EN: Thank you. (Applause)



【TED】イーサン・ネーデルマン: 麻薬戦争に終止符を打つべき理由 (Ethan Nadelmann: Why we need to end the War on Drugs)

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CUChou 2015 年 2 月 5 日 に公開
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