International Institute for Strategic Studies launches new book on the security costs of the drug war
Today sees the launch of a major new publication from the renowned International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). “Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: the Problems of Prohibition”, created as part of IISS's Adelphi series, is the product of 18 months of research carried out by Nigel Inkster, IISS’s director of transnational threats and political risk, and former deputy head of Mi6; and Virginia Comolli, a research analyst at IISS. The book is also the result of outreach work carried out as part of the Count the Costs initiative, as Danny Kushlick of Transform Drug Policy Foundation acted as a special consultant throughout its production.
The book looks at the effects of prohibition on international security and argues that the present enforcement regime is not only failing to win the war on drugs; it is also igniting and prolonging that conflict on the streets of producer and transit countries, where the supply chain has become interwoven with state institutions and cartels have become embroiled in violence against both their rivals and security forces. As a way out of this, the authors propose that the policies of the past half-century should be subject to radical review and an open debate based on empirical research. Drugs need to be taken out of their specialised silo and viewed in the context of a wider security and development agenda.
The book’s call to start looking at alternatives to current prohibitionist policies echoes the mainstream support for reform currently growing at a phenomenal rate across the world – support which is all the more prevalent in those countries bearing the brunt of the development and security costs of the war on drugs, such as Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia.