War on drugs

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Sean Penn aspired to literary journalism, but failed to capture the world outside his own head. Reuniones Anuales GBM / FMI Lima 2015

What is literary journalism, and why did Sean Penn fail to carry it off?

Sean Penn's interview with El Chapo hinges on a moral exploration of a man who lives in the public imagination as a super-villain. The story unravels because its voice does not enable moral insight.
Dale una oportunidad a la paz. Reuters/John Vizcaino

Is Colombia finally on the verge of lasting peace?

Colombia has set up a new peace process to secure justice for hundreds of thousands of victims of the FARC. But it's tried and failed at this approach before.
This has been one of the worst starts to the music festival season ever, in terms of harm from overdoses. mixtribe/Flickr

What is ‘drug checking’ and why do we need it in Australia?

Testing drugs at music festivals not only means we can assess whether they contain anything unexpected, but it's an opportunity to try to change the behaviour of users.
The extensive preparations for Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s escape from the maximum-security Altiplano prison took place within sight of its watchtowers. AAP/Newzulu/Irving Cabrera Torres

‘El Chapo’ jailbreak is both a Mexican and an American story

'El Chapo's' jailbreak seemingly confirms American narratives that represent Mexico as a corrupt, sluggish and failing state. Overlooked is America's own role in the rise of powerful drug cartels.
Indonesia is forcing people with drug dependence problems to go into rehab. joloei/www.shutterstock.com

Forced rehabilitation of drug users in Indonesia not a solution

Indonesia's war on drugs aims to protect the country's young generation from an alleged "national drug emergency." But the government's coercive approach is harming the people it wishes to protect.
Australia’s politicians were unable to save Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from a firing squad in Indonesia. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Chan and Sukumaran are victims of the futile war on drugs

Australia's politicians were unable to make the most persuasive argument for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran because Australia is also a combatant in the misguided war on drugs.
Indonesia’s anti-drug policy that enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers is in line with international law. shutterstock

Indonesia does need the death penalty to deter drug traffickers

International pressure has mounted on Indonesia in recent months to stop its enforcement of the death penalty. But Indonesia should maintain its tough anti-drug stance.
Only a small proportion of Australians who use methamphetamines fall into a category of dependent users. Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Political fear-mongering just magnifies the harm ice can do

There is no doubt methamphetamine can cause harm. But when politicians hijack drug issues and overplay them for political purposes, that too can cause harm.
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan inside a holding cell as they wait for their final appeal against the death sentence at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia in 2010. EPA/Made Nagi

Impending Bali executions rely on mistaken ideas about drugs

Ideas about drug use that are used to justify the death penalty for smuggling don't hold up under scrutiny.
The Indonesian government is using statistics based on questionable methodology to justify capital punishment. LittleEvilYor/Shutterstock

Indonesia uses faulty stats on ‘drug crisis’ to justify death penalty

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s claim of a national drug “emergency” that necessitates the death penalty for drug crimes is based on questionable statistics. Jokowi, as he is popularly known in Indonesia…
Will the feds raid this Christmas tree? Rick Wilking/Reuters

Goliath vs. 24 Davids: federalism and legal marijuana

Abraham Lincoln said that those who shape public opinion exert an even greater influence than judges and lawmakers. In recent years popular sentiment – on issues like marriage equality and legalization…

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