The War on Drugs: The smack of firm government
Drugs won the War on Drugs decades ago, so why are governments still squandering billions on this unwinnable battle? Where did the idea come from? Can we even agree on what drugs are? Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt delve into the tortuous evolution of the futile battle against narcotics. From morphine users Jules Verne and Bismarck and cocaine fan Sigmund Freud to the Opium Wars, the Red Scares, the Jazz Panic, Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on narcotics in 1971 up to Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no”, the War on Drugs becomes a justification for racism, a proxy assault on the ’60s – and an immovable block on evidence-based policy.
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Thank you to drugs expert Steve Rolles for his assistance with this episode.
• “This is about as profound a policy failure as any you can find anywhere on Earth.” – Ian Dunt
• “If the hideous monster Frankenstein came face-to-face with the monster Marijuana he would drop dead of fright.” – Harry J Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics director
• “When they say ‘war on drugs’ what they mean is, war on some things we don’t like.” – Ian Dunt
• “By accident or design, the drugs war had evolved into a race war.” – Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy
• “Drugs function like pornography or the military do with technology. They drive forward rapid change.” – Ian Dunt
Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production and music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production