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Richard Branson

War on drugs is a failure

10 Sep, 2014

Branson is interviewed for CNN on drug policy:

It’s simple, rather than treating drugs as a criminal problem, it should be treated as a health problem. And it sounds so obvious. As a businessman, if I’d had a failed business for 50 years, I would have closed it down 49 years ago. But governments have gone on punishing and executing in some places in the world, people over the last 50 years. It hasn’t worked, and we’re urging governments to change tack.

There’s a difference between legal and regulated. And what we’re saying is that drugs very much should be regulated in the same way that cigarettes are regulated or alcohol is regulated. And on that basis, the interesting thing in Portugal is that they’ve taken heroin, for instance, and they’ve said, we’re not going to send people to prison for taking heroin, but what we are going to do is we’re going to have centers where people can go when they have a heroin problem. The state will supply the heroin. The state will supply the clean needles. And the people who come to get their fix must see a psychiatrist, and when they’re ready to come off, the state will supply help to get them off.