Is It Time to End the International War on Drugs?

Capitol Hill Briefing
May 15, 2009 12:00PM
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and Ian Vásquez, Director of the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.
Since President Nixon launched the War on Drugs in 1971, its escalating direct and indirect costs have become increasingly apparent. As we have seen over the decades in Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and other drug-source countries, banning the drug trade creates economic distortions and an opportunity for some of the most unsavory elements to gain tenacious footholds. Drug prohibition inevitably leads to an orgy of corruption and violence. Do any perceived benefits of the current prohibitionist policies outweigh the growing costs to the United States and other countries? Please join Cato scholars Ted Carpenter and Ian Vásquez for a discussion of the international consequences of America’s war on drugs and whether alternative approaches would lead to better outcomes.