Intended for healthcare professionals

The war on drugs

Prohibition laws—which criminalise the production, supply, possession, and use of some drugs for non-medical purposes—cost at least $100bn annually but have failed to curb either supply or demand, reduce addiction, or minimise harm.

The war on drugs has failed and The BMJ says it's time for doctors "to lead calls for pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics."

 
For more on The BMJ's work on drug policy, watch this interview with Richard Hurley, our features and debates editor.

 

 

The US Opioid Crisis

America has been battling a growing tide of opioid addictions for almost a decade. The situation was declared a public health emergency in 2017 and is thought to have taken over 70,000 American lives that year (according to CDC figures). More recently evidence has surfaced suggesting that overprescription has been a major contributor to the national crisis. And in 2019 The BMJ reported on worrying commercial ties that had been uncovered between major pharmaceutical companies and the US government.



From the archive