Humans have been taking drugs for thousands of years, but only in the last century has this behaviour been penalised, persecuted and prosecuted. The era of prohibition has criminalised hundreds of millions of people, with devastating consequences to them, their families and society at large.

While harmful psychoactive substances such as tobacco and alcohol are normalised and widely available, other plants and chemicals are deemed illicit and therefore supplied by a vast criminal network. The criminalisation of drug use adds human suffering to the intrinsic harms of drug use, as competing criminal interests fight among themselves and against law enforcement for control of a staggeringly lucrative market.

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