November 25th, 2014
06:33 PM ET

Zedillo: Why the war on drugs is failing

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Ernesto Zedillo, an economist who served as president of Mexico and is now the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, about the war on drugs.

So explain, Ernesto, why you think the drug war has failed.

Zedillo: Well, by any objective indicator – let's look at what has happened with consumption, let's see what has happened with production of drugs, let's see how many people that are in jail. I mean, when these wars started in the U.S., you had 300,000 people in U.S. jails. Now you have 2.3 million people. And a lot of those people are in jail because of minor offenses, drug-related minor offenses.

But if you see south of the border, what we'll have to talk about thousands of people who have died in my country, you will have to speak about all these resources that flow north to south, and not only serve to buy weapons and to kill people in Mexico, but believe me, drug policies in your country, in Europe, in Latin America – everywhere – are making our job so much harder and so much more painful.

Watch the video for the full discussion.

Post by:
Topics: Drugs

soundoff (399 Responses)
  1. It's just an opinion

    There are always going to be people who explore illegal products. Politicians use many ideas to justify their agenda's. I remember when the drug war started. 1970 Nixon started the war on drugs. Americans had access to cheap drugs in Vietnam. $3.00 for a pack of marlboro's filled with heroin, $7.50 for a kilo of good cleaned canabis. Now in Washington canabis is legal for recreational use. By the time it gets to the consumer the state has taxed it three times and turned a weed, which will almost grow anywhere into a 20,000 dollars a pound asset. They made 148,000 dollars in taxes the first three days.

    November 26, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Medicinal MJ as legalized (rather than decriminalized) in the State of Colorado is NOT a weed that can grow on it's own. It is a GMO crop...genetically modified NOT to grow on it's own and to be 10X more powerful than natural growing cannabis. With super high THC content of up to 30%. Which is stupid to do.

      November 26, 2014 at 11:55 am | Reply
      • Philip

        While the State of Colorado does benefit by taxing weed sales, the real cash cow is the hundreds of D.U.I. prosecutions of stoned drivers. A D.U.I conviction nets the State 5-10K.

        November 26, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • John Hunter Player

        no where on record has a marijuana plant been registered at 30%. you can easily find that information out by looking up the highest THC yielding marijuana online for free anytime at you can make a wax using nothing more than a few mesh bags, some ice, some water, and a large stick, that is around 80-90% pure THC... which is smart by the way. cheers you nut job and a half lair sack of old white man hate.

        November 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • Philip

        Whatever. I've seen State registered 28.5% THC with my own eyes. And wax sux.

        November 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  2. Philip

    With the NSA/CIA required to share information concerning activities of crooked citizens with the FBI, the FBI has been able to bust more drug money MDs slinging drugs for profit than ever before. Just last year making the largest drug bust in US history that saw over 100 drug slinging MDs and nurses arrested. With thousands of bottles of drug pills confiscated.

    November 26, 2014 at 11:49 am | Reply
  3. Philip

    US troops will be joining the war on drugs on January 14 2015 as authorized by the latest National Defense Authorization act which authorizes US troops to shoot domestic terrorists the same as praised for doing overseas.
    With the FBI/US Military Intel vs. Drug Money MDs and US troops vs. Drug slinging gang bangers the war will be easily won.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Could you tell me the amendment to the current NDAA that information is contained in thats states conclusively our troops will be after drug dealers, and the sponsoring Congressperson of that amendment?


      November 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  4. chrissy

    I never heard that story philip. Are you making this up?

    November 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      It's not a story, Chrissy. It's the NDAA you never studied. You probably haven't even studied the Patriot Act yet either. Most Congress persons haven't either.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  5. Timmy Suckle

    Why our healthcare system is failing:

    I kissed my way up to CEO at a health insurance company. Now I take over $1,000,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other CEOs, VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easily fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $117,000 level. Now I only pay 1.17% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Your health care system is failing because too many millions of drug addicts get their fixes from it. And it requires healthy lifestyle choice citizens to underwrite unhealthy lifestyle choices of idiots. And because of obesity.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
      • John Hunter Player

        LOL. 360 billion a year goes directly to problems linked directly to obesity... less than one 10th of a percent of the population uses meth. less than 1/10th use heroin. These addicts you speak of are not the problem to our health care system. the fact that Fast food and sugar is killing more people than all drug use combined is what the problem is. Good luck with that war you keep talking about in January. Troops will not be called to assault american marijuana dealers. we took the Capital last I checked... in a game of Risk, that's how you win. Cheers

        November 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
      • Philip

        I was referring to Americans spending more on mind altering drugs that make people fat and/or stupid, 80% of which are sold at pharmacies.

        November 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • Philip

      Blah blah blah. If you over tax rich folks the close up shop and move to The Bahamas or Caymen Islands. If you overtax the lower class they don't pay. So you overtax the middle class or the system fails.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  6. chrissy

    Philip. I think that you like what happened in Ferguson. You like the looting and protests. Shame on you.
    Poor Michael Brown. He was an angel.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • War on Drugs

      Stop baiting Philip you old hag. Thank you.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        That wasn't Chrissy. Just an FYI.

        November 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • FYI

        That wasn't banasy.

        November 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • banasy©

      Yes, it was.

      Sorry, Philip. I just wanted you to get the intended recipient of your insult correct.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  7. chrissy

    Timmy Suckle. What a silly name...suckle. lol

    November 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  8. War on Drugs

    For decades, both street drug dealers and crooked drug slinging MDs have been overwhelming police and FBI. Drugging millions more Americans each year and using profits to enrich themselves and cohorts. But now with the NSA/CIA and US military siding with FBI and local police, the war will be finally won.
    Look for an official declaration announcing the war on drugs has been won sometime next year.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • John Hunter Player

      there will be no troops sent to attack Americans who use drugs. there will be no troops sent to assault American marijuana dealers. We took the Capital. It is done. pack up your hate and move somewhere else if you don't like it. Marijuana and those who use it will be free. We will be the President of the United States of America and much much more. You have been warned.

      November 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  9. chrissy

    U Hindu raypist from india

    November 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  10. chrissy

    @author for "war on drugs" you are a hindu raypist from india

    November 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  11. chrissy

    Philip. I know you are the one. Stop writing your trash about India.
    thank you.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  12. Blue Saffron☼

    We cannot and we must not let the nuances of substance abuse mental health care programs put us off track on our pursuit of overhauling the police force across the nation.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  13. chrissy

    No Philip. The drug war will not be won anytime soon. Pumpkin head.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  14. chrissy

    Philip, I am NOT an old hag. You are. You pathetic senile old man.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  15. Philip

    The combined forces of the NSA, CIA, Military Intel, and local police, drug slinging MDs and gang bangers don't stand a chance at winning the war on drugs. Anyone who thinks they do us stupid as a Chrissy.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  16. banasy©

    The actual poster Chrissy hasn't posted on this page all.

    November 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • FYI

      The topic is war on drugs, not 'Chrissy'. Pay attention.

      November 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        I just want you to realize your wasting you ignorant insults on a person who hasn't even posted.

        I suggest you pay attention, Philip, if you don't want to look absurd.

        November 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
      • Philip

        Hi banasy. It really is me. I don't know why.

        November 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • banasy©

        Could you tell me the amendment to the current NDAA that information is contained in thats states conclusively our troops will be after drug dealers, and the sponsoring Congressperson of that amendment?


        November 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Blue Saffron☼

    Such a delight reading these comments. Most of them in the money. Cheers!

    November 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  18. Vegas Oddsmakers

    Now taking bets on NSA/CIA, US military vs. Gang bangers, fat lazy men on Harleys, and drug money MD dope slingers.
    Current odds favor government forces 12,000:1

    November 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Chru$$ty

      I got $12 in food stamps on gang bangers.

      November 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • Chru$$ty

        Let's's 2 food stamps for 1 dollar so if I win I get 6 X 12,000:1 so I get $72,000. Or a hundert n fohty fough thounsands UV dollers.

        November 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  19. chrissy

    Hi banasy. It really is me. They changed my icon. Don't know why.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  20. chrissy

    The nerve of that man. Calling me an old hag!

    November 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  21. Blue Saffron☼

    Drug use and abuse is destroying our youth. Corrupting our police force. Pushing the occupancy of our jails way up. No one has answers. No one has solutions. Sturgis has become our Mecca.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  22. chri§§y

    Knock it off JR! And philip, SHUT UP ALREADY!

    November 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  23. chri§§y

    Lol. Nothing changes@banasy.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  24. rupert


    November 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  25. Philip

    I said NSA/CIA/FBI/US military vs. dope slingers. Not dope doers. Almost half of US are dope doers.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  26. Philip

    The solution is to throw all who profit excessively from drug abuse into forced labor camps.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  27. rupert

    That's right philip. Take away the profit. U take away the incentive.
    I disagree on the 50%. U made that one up.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  28. rupert

    Also in other countries the drug problems are not as bad.
    reason? Penalty for drug trafficking ...DEATH!

    November 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      BS. Drug abuse rates are higher in Saudi Arabia than in the USA. Both pharmaceutical drug abuse and crystal meth use are higher.
      And Saudi Arabia's HIV rate rivals Israel's now.

      November 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  29. Philip

    The nerve of that woman calling herself Sarah Palin. Or that dude calling himself Michelle Obama. Or some of Monica Lewinsky being smeared around the oval office.

    November 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Could you provide evidence that the FLOTUS is actually a man?

      Other than the say-so of a gossiping deceased comic,making a joke of course, believed by a gullible morons.

      November 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  30. chri§§y


    November 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • rupert

      Yea MORONS! Chrissys last post was at 10:30 am.!

      November 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Reply
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