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TED TALK What Has the War on Drugs Done to the World?

Daily Dose 2014-11-12 1 comment

Ethan Nadelmann’s Fiery TEDTalk

What Has the War on Drugs Done to the World? Twenty years ago, Ethan Nadelmann left his teaching position at Princeton University to become a full-time advocate for ending the drug war. As the founding executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the largest and most influential organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, Ethan’s vision and leadership have had a monumental impact on public opinion and changed the course of history.

Take a few minutes, as soon as you can, to hear Ethan Nadelmann’s newly released TED Talk that’s featured as today’s lead item at There is a good reason for the standing ovation Ethan received at the conclusion. The ideas he presents are provocative, enlightening and becoming more mainstream than anyone could have imagined when he began his activism more than two decades ago.

The Drug Policy Alliance has reformed state and federal laws

Laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, addiction treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy. DPA and its lobbying arm, Drug Policy Action, played an instrumental role in securing monumental drug policy reform victories in the recent midterm elections, including marijuana legalization in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., marijuana decriminalization in New Mexico, medical marijuana in Guam, and groundbreaking criminal justice and sentencing reforms in New Jersey and California.

Ethan is drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the U.S. He and the Drug Policy Alliance have worked closely with the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include global leaders and luminaries like Sir Richard Branson and Kofi Annan, to break the taboo on public discussion of non-prohibitionist drug policies.

“I’ve dedicated my life to building an organization and a movement of people who believe we have no choice but to turn our back on the failed prohibitions of the past and embrace new drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights,” Nadelmann told the audience. “We come from across the political spectrum and almost every other spectrum as well. We’re people who love drugs, people who hate drugs, and people who don’t give a damn about drugs, but every one of us believe that this war on drugs — this heartless and disastrous war on drugs — has got to end.”

TED is a nonprofit devoted to “ideas worth spreading” and Ethan is a passionate and tireless proponent for restoring sanity and humanity to drug policy: an idea whose time has come.

Sharda Sekaran is managing director of communications for the Drug Policy Alliance.

This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog

1 comment

  1. Paul Pot

    Without chaos and mayhem there would be no need for the CIA and the US military.
    Yes chaos is a goal of the drug war.
    Destabilization is the goal because as long as nations are in chaos they have no human rights and people can be swept off their land for development, their labour is dirt cheap and their goods and resources are sold at rock bottom prices while the poor live in poverty.
    The people always remain oppressed resentful and motivated to retaliation.
    As long as the world is like this, the CIA, the US military and US corporations rule the roost.