Prohibition has failed -- again. Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone. "Harm reduction," a smarter drug control regime that values reality over rhetoric, is rising to replace the "war" on drugs.
Reducing drug use is not nearly as important as reducing the death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and failed prohibitionist policies. With respect to legal drugs, such as alcohol and cigarettes, harm reduction means promoting responsible drinking and designated drivers, or persuading people to switch to nicotine patches, chewing gums, and smokeless tobacco. With respect to illegal drugs, it means reducing the transmission of infectious disease through syringe-exchange programs, reducing overdose fatalities by making antidotes readily available, and allowing people addicted to heroin and other illegal opiates to obtain methadone.
(Originally aired 12/23/08)
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It is my privilege to have Latin America's most acclaimed writers, EDUARDO GALEANO. I confess I was not aware of him until Hugo Chavez presented Barack Obama with one of his books. For that introduction, I thank the Venzuelan President. GALEANO's works are a unique blend of history, fiction, journalism and political analysis, and his life is so much more than that.
Born in Uruguay in 1940, EDUARDO GALEANO began writing newspaper articles as a teenager, by the age of 20 he became Editor-in-Chief of LaMarcha. A few years later, he took the top post at Montevideo's daily newspaper Epocha. At 31, he wrote his most famous book - Chavez gift -- The Open Veins Of Latin America: Five Centuries Of The Pillage Of A Continent.
After the 1973 military coup in Uruguay, GALEANO was imprisoned and forced to leave the country. He settled in Argentina where he founded and edited a cultural magazine, Crisis. After the 1976 military coup there, he moved to Spain where he began his classic work Memory of Fire, a three-volume narrative of the history of America, North and South. He eventually returned home to his native Uruguay where he now lives.
Terrence McNally’s podcast features conversations with people who offer pieces of the puzzle of “a world that just might work” -- provocative approaches to business, environment, health, science, politics, media and culture. Guests have included Ken Burns, Deborah Tannen, Andrew Weil, Jeremy Rifkin, Arianna Huffington, Roger Ebert, Bill Joy, Alvin Toffler, Paul Krugman, Bill Maher, and Norman Lear.
Free Forum with Terry McNally airs Tuesdays at noon PT (3pm ET) on KPFK 90.7 fm, Los Angeles / kpfk.org
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