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Secret British report on failure of drug prohibition

The drug war's 'Downing Street Memo'

The Guardian, a major British newspaper, has obtained a secret government study, presented to prime Minister Tony Blair in June 2003, that reveals in great detail the utter futility of a 'war on drugs'.

Only the first half of the strategy unit study, led by the former director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Lord Birt, has been publically released, on the eve of the Live 8 concert. The other half was withheld for 'security' concerns, but has been leaked to The Guardian.

The released first half of the study dealt with drug consumption patterns and drug-related crime, while the suppressed second half contained recommendations for drugs policy that serve as a scathing indictment of present drugs rhetoric.

The opposition Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, Mark Oaten, called on Downing Street to order full disclosure. "What this report shows and what the government is too paranoid to admit is that the 'war on drugs' is a disaster. We need an evidence-led debate about the way forward, but if they withhold the evidence we can't have the debate."

Danny Kushlik, of the Transform Drugs Policy Foundation, which campaigns for legalization, said the government was using the Act to hide the parts of the report which demonstrated that, far from reducing production, trafficking and supply, prohibition spawned the business.

"The fact that part of the report was released late on Friday night, right before Live 8 and the G8 meeting, shows how intent the government is on 'burying bad news'. Fortunately, they won't get away with it," Kushlik told The Guardian.

The available portions of the report are available at The Guardian website, at

The Transform website is at

Excerpt from The Brit Report - note the sharp spike in addiction rates coinciding with the advent of the modern 'War on Drugs' (late 1960s).

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