Dr. Khalid Tinasti, Exec Dir of Global Commission on Drugs participates in video production of Seeking The Moral High Ground. +++ LEAP/GLEPHA Webinar: The Police Experience with Overdose Prevention Sites withModerator: Chief Tom Synan, Newtown Police Department, Ohio, Inspector Bill Spearn, Vancouver Police Department, Canada, Staff Sergeant Conor King, Victoria Police Department, Canada
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Dr. Khalid Tinasti
Sat, 11/07/2020 - 07:27
Dean Becker (00:29)
Wwell it gives me a great deal of satisfaction and pride actually, to be speaking with mr. [inaudible] tenacity. I believe I got that name right. He's the executive secretary with the global commission on drugs. And I want to welcome him to the show. Hello, Kaleel.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti (01:06)
Thank you, Dean. I'm very happy to be here with you.
Dean Becker (01:08)
Well, I, um, I've been following you guys, uh, for, well, I guess the 10 years or so that the global commission has been, uh, uh, in place. And if you will tell us a bit about the global commission on drug policy, what is it about?
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:23)
Thank you very much, Dean. Actually, you're very right. The global commission has come out with its first report and has come out to the world in June, 2011 with its report called the war on drugs. And also the documentary movie that was going with a break into taboo. But if we really look into the origins of the global commission, they go back to 2000 to the end of 2007, when president Fernando Henrica DOSO of Brazil with presidents, former presidents is a DEO from Mexico and says that guy Vidya from Columbia came together to create the Latin American commission on drugs and democracy because of the risks that the response given to drugs has been putting on the institutions on democratization and empower in criminal organizations and in violence in cities and Latin and central America. And so these, these former presidents came together with a group of other intellectuals and offer former office holders and writers from Latin America to look into what are the issues and what recommendations they can come up with.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (02:23)
And that's when they looked out into Europe. And so that Europe, by implementing harm reduction responses, decriminalization models for personal use and possession have been more successful in, in managing basically the presence and the consumption of drugs among society, although it was banned to some basically. And so this is how the global commission came together. And it was the meeting between the Latin Americans who have really were behind, you know, given that leadership to this discussion and the Europeans who came in as well and joined them as well. Other people with also mr. Kofi Annan from Africa, et cetera, the global commission has came up with this first analysis report in 2011 of course was not the first to say we have a problem with drugs. And that problem is also related to the policies to the control policies we put in place, but it was the first time that such high level people that were themselves for many in office back at the United nations general assembly special session in 1998, who had said that by 2008 will have the world free of drugs.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (03:25)
So many of them were signatories and were in that meeting as representative of their countries as heads of States. And they have come up together for some of them who had been very good policies. And for some others who had really believed in prohibition to be able to help people came together to say, we have something that is wrong with the way we do it, because we, first of all, not achieving any of the results, consumption, trafficking, violence, um, production, you know, um, lack of rule of law corruption, uh, all sorts of, you know, infectious diseases, et cetera, are going up and really high up while we spend more and more on enforcement, et cetera. So there is a problem with maybe the use of drugs and that is something to be discussed in another area, but there is also a huge, huge consequences that add up in the way we do control policies.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (04:15)
And so just very to finish up on the global commission because we're very fortunate. It has been renewed for the last nine years. We had many, many new people joining from former president Ramos Horta from two more or less day. We had mr. Bereday from the, uh, uh, atomic agency that, uh, the former director that has joined us from Egypt. We had mrs. Helen Clark from New Zealand. So it really took this big global, um, trend. And so it is people coming up from every part of the world and come into the same conclusion that the war on drugs and the way we try to control drugs through the refreshing alone and a law enforcement focus is adding up a lot of harms. So this is in a nutshell, I mean, I can go way beyond on this and what we do. It's that true?
Dean Becker (04:59)
No, that touched a lot of the bases. I probably would have inquired about a good summation if you will. And I thank you for that now. I don't know if you had a chance to look at my website, the conscientious objector page. Did you have a chance to look at it? Well, your response to what I put forward there, just in general.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (05:20)
Yeah. I mean, well, in general, I mean, you have, I mean, when, when it is something, I mean, it is very difficult to object to the way you have looked into the issues and saying, what are the impacts of the way we look into or the way we try to control drugs or the way we control to make them disappear from society? I mean, we all agree of course, that there is a demand and there's a demand for psychosis, psychoactive substances through all over the world, the legal ones and the illegal ones. I mean, the whole system of saying what is legal and illegal is based on the potential of addictiveness of a, of a substance. Why do we live alcohol and tobacco outside of that and not have the same levels of control? So it is for sure to say that people look for psychoactive substances and there is a demand.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (06:02)
So the supply will always follow because it's also a sustained demand. And the fact of trying to, to hide that reality and trying to break that reality and, and trying to live in a parallel world does create many, many issues. First of all, I mean, everyone, even the United nations recognized that recognizes this since 2008. And as you said, it, one of the, what we call the unintended consequences of the regime of control, which are, I mean, they've been recognized since 2008 and they still considered unintended. So the first of them is, is the black market itself and the illegal market. And the fact that the policy choice was to leave it in the hands of criminals and not have authorities or regulators taken that market and regulated it's regulated, it's access, limiting it depending on the substance, et cetera, et cetera. So all the impact to speak about what is going on in Latin America, what is going on in terms of funding of different groups, of different criminal groups. Those also sometimes engaged in Tara, although the evidence there is less clear, it's also more about opportunistic relationships in certain areas of the world, et cetera. So that is a clear vision of the real impacts actually in the big, big impacts of what is going on in the world. So thank you. Thank you
Dean Becker (07:17)
Before that. Uh, and yeah, I, I've devoted 20 years of my life of 60 hours a week. Really. I I've, uh, I've uh, uh, we reached the age of 50 and decided I wanted to leave something more positive behind for future generations. And if I can help move this equation, this situation to one of less harm to do one of two quit empowering the cartels, at least, uh, I think the terrorists, they grow marijuana and opium over there in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and I'm sure ISIS and the Taliban get a cut now. And then if, if not, uh, uh, billions outright. But, um, we have in these United States, we have led the way we were the ones who insisted the United nations take up this banner to March with this war on drugs. And for years we, um, four and eight, we had a requirement that they had to join forces with the drug war. It was the United nations, excuse me, it was the U S that that forced this drug war at least to such a degree on the rest of the world. And it is my hope that the United States can begin to undo that process to demand less of other nations and, and to, uh, create a situation where logic and common sense can get back into this rather than paranoia and delusion your response to your colleagues.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (08:40)
Yeah, I mean, it is for certain, I mean, the United States has been the biggest, I mean, we can not limit the contribution. I mean, the, the contribution of the United States to, to the multilateral system and to the world and into spreading democracy, et cetera, is a huge one, but it goes in the war on drugs in the bad side. But I mean, it is a, it is everything. So maybe just to be less hard from the perspective of an international person and not to be less harsh, but just to neons the bit, I mean, the international drug system was built really. I mean, it is the conventions of drug policy are the very, almost the only ones that speak about an evil and evil of addiction. And so it was really built up in the sixties around when, when, when social hygiene, ism is a movement among doctors and politicians, teaching people how to, how to do not to catch infectious diseases, not to get to BRCA locis, to be cleaner, et cetera, not to get, you know, the basic, uh, infectious disease.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (09:38)
So it was still the belief that you could through policies really change human behavior. And the problem with that system is that it continued like this, but it worked in a world that is very different. It never take into account the end of the eighties. It never take into account. The fact that border control has changed with world globalization and that we no longer speak about, you know, the same controls of the borders that are closed, et cetera, with the quantities of the goods of the people that are going around. I mean, we see it today with the Kobe, then the spread and the very rapid spread because people are moving, et cetera, et cetera. And when you lock down is different. So there is no more way to control as we used to do before, or what was intended in the sixties. There's also the fact that the HIV response for instance, has changed how we do public health approaches.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (10:22)
You can no longer impose on a person. I mean, if we think about people that are dependent on any or another substance, you can no longer really impose on them a treatment or for them to adhere to a treatment, they have to choose it. And that was the case that was HIV brought about condoms are choice, and the patient becomes a partner and not someone you would tell to what to do. And it can actually, we continue it in the system because it fed so many different things and we've never had to change it now today. I mean, so I see that system as having been, you know, staying the same may be in the sixties. It was well-intended and it was to respond to a situation that was like that, but there is no renewable, there's no modernization of the tools when normally public policy has to evolve, of course, with scientific progress on human progress to adapt to the needs today.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (11:11)
So it is the, in that sense where the reforms are very much needed because we know much better how to control them to eliminate doesn't expand or to regulate them to eliminate. And obviously what makes it very hard in which we're trying not to speak about it, to stay in a rational discussion is that the casualties are people and their lives and currently, so, but we try to remain also as pragmatic in the discussion as possible. Now, when you say about the United States that to change and to change at the global level, that would be fantastic because the problem that is now existing at the multilateral level is that the five countries with a permanent seat in the security council do agree altogether on the prohibition as the way to go. And no one of them is carrying the ideas of the reform or the discussion of the reform that changes a lot because those countries not only have a financial power and do have, you know, a, a very strong political power within the system, but it is also countries that do have real diplomatic network around the world that can work on their priorities.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (12:12)
And that can work on this change little by little. I mean, this is something that will never happen overnight. We do have 50 years of something where everybody agreed where it was given to people as granted that this is evil, that people who use drugs are bad people, et cetera, et cetera, that elimination is the only way to say no to drugs, et cetera. So to undo all of that, to have a, it's almost a cultural shift that is needed to some extent, so it will take the time. And hopefully of course, when the reforms at the national level in the United States will evolve, we see it in different States trying so many different things to address the situations of the opiod crisis, but also the cannabis prohibition. And also sometimes, I mean, other substances being looked at, et cetera, when that will have also given the evidence on its function and et cetera, that performs we'll have to move up the ladder and hopefully until the international level. Yes. Thank you.
Dean Becker (13:07)
No, I, a couple of years back, I was able to go to Europe. I, uh, uh, and, and Lisbon Portugal, I was able to sit down with a doctor [inaudible] the, uh, the drugs are. And, uh, he and I had a great discussion. We just had another one last week as well for this production of, uh, seeking the moral high ground. And he has done something that is being emulated that is being copied around the world. That is the decriminalization of drugs, that there are no longer arrest for minor amounts of drugs that maybe you go for treatment. Maybe you go for a good talking to, uh, but, but nobody is arrested. And, and Canada is the police chiefs of Canada are wanting to copy that. Now the, uh, the head of the Canadian police chiefs came out and called for decriminalization of all drugs, uh, to follow suit to what Portugal has done.
Dean Becker (13:59)
And, uh, another topic that, uh, I, I went to Switzerland, I there met, uh, dr. Kristoff Berkey. He was one of the pioneers who designed their, uh, heroin injection program. They're now approaching 20 million injections of pure heroin. And, uh, they have had zero overdose deaths, which, which I think undoes the logic that we were talking about, what was created 50 years ago, drug users are bad and deserving of punishment. And I guess what I'm saying here is that changes a foot changes is being recognized as being of benefit, uh, and, and to do away with these old hysteria situations. I don't know if there's a question there other than it's a sign of progress is not.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (14:52)
It is, it is. I mean, just think about it. This is, I mean, if you look at the policy area, even the discussion discussions that are becoming now very much mainstream, I mean, I would just give two examples. The first one is that, I mean, really it is about one of the areas of policy areas where the wrongs are being repaired very quickly. I mean, it's very difficult. It's very hard, but if we look at it, I mean, really with disabilities, to some extent it is the issue that has moved so much in the last 10, 15 years. It did being on the number of debates on the fact that we can speak about it. I mean, who could have seen, uh, marijuana legalized in so many who has space for recreational use, et cetera, and growing, and in a country like Canada at the federal level, et cetera.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (15:31)
So that is one that has really, really very much evolved now. Um, I mean, the decriminalization is a way to move because there is absolutely no. Um, how do I say? Yeah, I mean, sorry, let me come back to the second example, because that was what was in my mind, I said two, I mean, the second one, if you compare now the coverage of the opioid crisis in the United States and the coverage of the crack crisis in the 1980s, I mean, the coverage is very different, even in the language and trying to look into what are the issues, et cetera. So it has indeed evolved. People will start understanding that addiction. I mean, we say dependence because we use the terminology of who, but addiction is the word in the United States that is still used, but here in Europe, we don't. So for us, addiction slash dependence is a chronic disease.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (16:22)
That includes, that includes a relapse. So to some extent, that's why the global commission on drug policy does not agree with the drug courts that sends people into rehabilitation treatment, because that does not take into account that people do relapse and they would go to prison. Otherwise, if they do relapse instead. And also the fact that, of course, no judge should be taken a decision of a doctor to some extent. So I wanted, yeah, I mean, to say these two example, they do really evolve. And in Switzerland, the program of diamorphine that you were speaking about is a program that is extremely controlled. It is a health approach. It is, but the idea there was to say, we have, I mean, the, the, the very pragmatic discussion was, first of all, let's put in place all the services and to save people and let's evaluate them and see if they work or not.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (17:11)
And of course, as you've said, there is a very strict monitoring and evaluation. That program is very difficult even to access because people have to have really a need of diamorphine and not be able to have the fin or methadone or other substitution treatments, then that's how they get there. But of course, now we have evaluation. You've spoken about Portugal, but there are so many different countries that have different models of, of decriminalization. Those commissions of this wage in the, in Portugal are a very, very interesting model because people still have to face somehow, you know, to talk to someone, to talk to many people and say, you know, and so they are conscious that this is not something that is easy. For example, in the Czech Republic is different. It's only a misdemeanor and you just get a fine, so there are many different models, but of course they have been proven. And I mean, there's evidence and there's evaluation.
Dean Becker (17:58)
Now. Um, the other news coming out of Canada, uh, a dr. Perry, Kendall, uh, he has 20 years experience as the British Columbia commissioner on substance abuse, something some titled to that effect, and he's now retiring, but he wants to start up a company to acquire heroin cheaply and to provide it cheaply to the users in Canada, uh, to kind of parallel, I guess what they've done in Switzerland. It's another sign of intelligence from my perspective, because in the U S I don't know, I think it was just over 70,000 people died last year from drug overdoses, because I closed my radio show with this side because of prohibition. You don't know what's in that bag, please be careful. And there's just so much truth. And I think heart in that phrase, your response here, Kaleo.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (18:51)
Yeah. I mean, for us, I mean, those are two really. I mean, just to be again, Dean, I think that you are, of course this is, I mean, I haven't heard specifically about this idea of opening. I mean, they do have a heroin program that is not really a diamorphine programs. One Canada is not working very well, but nevertheless, I mean, those are two issues. So as far as the global commission is really concerned, I mean, diamorphine, if we take the example in Switzerland, it is a very medical program. I mean, this is with very much rules, regulations. People have to try at least twice and other substitution treatment. And it's really for people that are heavily dependent on the substance. So just for the people listening to know that this is something that is very medical and it is a medical procedure. So people go to a day clinic, you know, to get the diamorphine et cetera, which was fantastic because you're in COVID since people who inject drugs were considered as people that are vulnerable to COBIT infection.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (19:35)
I mean, there were some very exceptions to deliver to their homes. The diamorphine, it was a great innovation to keep people alive here during the COVID lockdowns. Um, now on when we say, and, and you touched up on something that is so important, which is about the quality of what people buy or even knowing what they buy, if they are buying the right substance or not. But that is for us, this is the difficulty with this ideological difficulty against a harm reduction, because I mean, drug testing, et cetera, do exist. And those need to be allowed to be implemented at all levels at city level, at state level, at the federal level. Now there is also the issues of, um, I mean, a city like Amsterdam, or even here in Geneva, for example, where people who inject drugs and are dependent on drugs that go to services like safe injection facilities that go into, you know, different services, those people, they, if there is a problem, they can be caught very quickly and they could report what substance, what they bought it.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (20:31)
And so the analysis goes very quickly and the services of the city, even in Amsterdam, they even put like ads in the street saying something is going on in the black market, do not buy this substance. And even here in Switzerland, for example, in Geneva and the communities, because they see what is going on at the safe injection room when they see people arriving. Because, but this is because people are not afraid to come forward because the cops are not going to be called because they're considered patients because they're given the services of harm reduction services, which allow people then to be sent to the doctors. If they have problems to see also the factors or to go into treatment, you know, people send them, so they do testing also for infectious diseases, et cetera, to send them afterwards to the hospital, to have it a regular treatment regimen.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (21:13)
I mean, not for drugs, but if there's any other issue or if they want to enter into a cycle of treatment, because here we also have, the fact of everything is offered to people have to choose. They could choose the substitution treatment as maintenance for forever. If they can not get out of it, they could use it for a certain period. They can go to rehabilitation and abstinence. I mean, it really is about a therapeutic contract between the doctor and the patient. So it is not about imposing to people what they have to do, it's to help them choose how they get out of their difficult situation. And here again, we're talking only about people with heavy dependence that go to the services, et cetera. We're not talking about the vast majority, which is a recreational, which has no issues. And we don't see. So yeah, I mean, this is the fact of, that's why decriminalization is very interesting so that people can come forward so that the authorities have the information of what is going on in the market.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (21:55)
And for example, some cities can just be in the United States saying like, we have, we have so many fentanyl on the streets, be careful of not buying this, et cetera, et cetera. And those are messages of prevention of course, and keeping people alive. Yeah. But that, that's very hard to do in a repressive environment where people are afraid of law enforcement everywhere in the world, you know, and I will, I think it's more, more powerful. The, the stigma here in the United States that, uh, I mean, you probably heard the phrase, you, if you're getting busted for drugs, you can no longer get a job, credited housing, an education. Uh, there are so many roadblocks put in your way. So many court fees and fines and other obstacles to creating a new life, a new process. And I guess what I'm saying here is that what you guys are doing in Europe and elsewhere, it shows intelligence.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (22:51)
It shows that this is still a human being. It's still a life worthy of respect. And second chances, third chances, more chances. And, and here in the U S as well, once you get that stigma of a druggie, your life is facing a lot of obstacles. Well, I, there's also, I mean, that is, I totally agree with you. And there is no way, no way, no way to minimize the impacts of stigma and discrimination on people's lives. And most certainly on people that are in the most difficult situation to start with. Right. But I mean, and that stigma is more related. It's not only about drugs. I mean, let's be honest. It's about a lot of things. Drugs are cross-cutting issue. They touch upon so many wrong things in our societies. It also falls. I mean, even the implementation of drug laws is so arbitrary people that can afford to do it behind high walls that no one sees they do.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (23:43)
And they don't, they're not impacted to get arrested, et cetera. They get people to deliver to their homes, et cetera, whatever they need. So it is also that nature of arbitrary that makes it very difficult. And it goes also again to all the populations, but I mean, people are starting to get aggressive with death and we are getting out of marijuana because, um, I don't know if this is positive or negative, but I saw the, um, uh, author of the wire, you know, the TV show. And he was speaking about Colorado in their experiment of the marijuana legalization. He was saying that he was worried because in an interview and he was saying, he was worried to some extent, because we are getting out the people that have the political voice, the college white college students, we're getting them out of this, of the prohibition, if we legalize cannabis, because in my want, because that's their substance and what is going to be the issue with other people that use other drugs and do not have that same voice that do not have that same social status and class, and that do not have that same presence in the public debate.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (24:35)
So it is so drugs are used a lot as a bond for a lot of things as well, but those are also issues that are related to the socioeconomic, to the ethnic et cetera issues. And that is not only in the United States, that is the case in the United Kingdom. That is the case in France. That is the case in the Russian Federation, where more people that are arrested do not have Slavic names. They have other names. This is the case everywhere. You know, I mean, you can look at it in every perspective and countries of the South countries of the North, the rich countries, et cetera, when you have something that is, that has been so stigmatized and built being built. That's why I said the convention speak about addiction as evil. So this is the state of spirit that we have since the very beginning into this discussion at the time, also to remember that, of course, as I said, maybe the intentions were good, maybe not, but to some extent at the time Europe was in reconstruction, um, the many countries in the South we're getting there, we're getting there decolonized.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (25:29)
This is where to thinking about the sixties. I mean, most of Africa has been getting its independence in 1960, et cetera. And of course the United States was becoming the cultural hedge amount around the world, et cetera. And so that was what, the kind of spirit that went everywhere that went everywhere, which is really funny because at the same time, alcohol and tobacco were glorified and were sold and pushed through marketing, et cetera. So, and this is the spirit that was still fine today, almost everywhere. It is the case in the United States versus very sad because the United States, of course, I mean, people have more access to education, to information more easily, et cetera. And they should get a little bit more informed on the issues to understand also, I mean, I mean, problematic drug use is not far away from anyone's life. Anyone can fall into different circumstances, you know?
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (26:15)
And so people have to look at it into a perspective from a societal societal perspective. What kind of societies do we want is these injustices that are not very far from anyone and the opiod crisis shows it. I mean, people from all social classes die, people suffer from everywhere, et cetera. So it is about getting informed about what kind of societies will want together. This is why the global commission has always called since the very beginning for, um, net for local national stay, you know, consultations people around the table, talking get in parents of children, getting the police, getting school teachers, getting people who use drugs, get in, uh, health workers, social workers, uh, prosecutors, everyone around the table so that everyone can hear the concerns of everyone. I mean, this is a one society. People have to sit together and find the issue. And this is what happened in Switzerland actually to prepare the national policy of the four pillars, which is a prevention treatment harm reduction repression.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (27:11)
So this is how drug policy is handled here is the four pillars. And so that was based on many, many, many federal kind of tonal because it's also here, a federal country, fentanyl and local, uh, consultations and discussions where people would come in and say their issues about Lake, you know, the neighborhoods with, with the syringes in the street, uh, people being afraid because the syringes are near the parks where the children play the perspective of the police, the perspective of the prosecutors. And, you know, so everyone has to come together to find a consensus, to some extent and advance the issues little by little. But I mean, again, just to say, it's been 50 years of, you know, making the same nod and it's so big now that it has to be done a little by little by little by little, because whenever you try to do something so quick, the unintended consequences become very big because drug policy is so cross cut into so many other issues to health, to housing, to employment, you know, it is with a person. So it touches upon everything.
Dean Becker (28:11)
What you bring forward there. I want to kind of delve into, and that is the cantons I guess, are the sub governmental agencies and whatever, but we haven't United States. We have the 50 States, we've got cities counties. And then, then we have, uh, governors versus state congresses, et cetera, people battling on this issue. But what, what, uh, where the changes are being made are on the local level cities deciding they're not going to enforce a law as vigorously or in the same way as they did before my city of Houston being a prime example, um, you can have up to four ounces of marijuana now and not be arrested. You get a ticket and you got to take a class and that's in essence, contrary to state law, or I dunno, skirts the state law in some fashion. And I guess what I want to bring forward is that at the national level, the federal level, we have just a handful of people.
Dean Becker (29:15)
The, the U S attorney general, the head of the DEA, the head of the office of national drug control policy, a few others who have this quote authority whose pronouncements ensure that these drug laws continue forever because they, they quote have the moral authority. They know what in the heck they're doing. And I would love the opportunity to have five minutes to show. They don't have a clue what they're doing because they, they, they don't care how many people die. How, how many kids have access, how many gangs and terrorists are funded. They just do not care about that. They have a mandate that's as you say, that started out 50 years ago as being, you know, sanctified and pure, but it has been shown to be nothing but madness from my perspective, you know, your responsibility.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (30:05)
Well, I mean, the impacts are the impacts of the prohibition on the war, on drugs and being very repressive can not be concealed. I mean, as we said, there is more violence today than anything. The market is bigger than anything. There is more production. I mean, even when we know that even when there is a disruption, I mean, the records of production of opium, we're having cannabis that can not be disrupted because it's, it's basically produced in every country. I mean, even, I mean, 150 countries report production, but I mean, it's everywhere. And now we have new psychoactive substances. I mean, you are going through the fentanyl and the synthetics crisis. I mean, in other countries, there is overdoses related to synthetic cannabinoids because people, I mean, you know, people will be creative and will make things. So, I mean, again, just the walk, maybe the half mile there.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (30:49)
And just to say, it is much more easy and convenient to say, we're going to fight crime and we're going to go after these people. And we, aren't going to dry up the demand by being so harsh, et cetera. I mean, it is very much more difficult to speak about sophisticated neons approaches that are based on science that need to be evaluated little by little, especially when you have such a, um, how has a, um, difficult political, um, separation and difficult, you know, getting people together. But we have to get people together, back again around the table. And to some extent really say that this is a such a difficult issue. It's not white or black. It's not this or that. It, I mean, it has to be worked a lot and everyone will have to put in a bit of their own until we get there.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (31:37)
And we evaluate, and we find the best models, the reality, as well as that California can not have the same policies to some extent. I mean, even, you know, if we were in a perfect regulated markets where people have their rights protected by the law and their choices also respected by the law, et cetera, the models will be different because the substances that are used here are not the same use there because you know, the environments are not the same, et cetera. If you're in a small state, if you're in a bigger state, et cetera. So to some extent to say that, I mean, for me, it will be very, always very difficult to speak about, um, policy makers, not wanting the best for their country and for their people. Now there is a need, of course. I mean, change comes really through. I mean, it's always been coming through mostly, also through the ground, through the experiences and the experiments and what is going on.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (32:21)
I mean, you have a discussion in the United States that is huge about criminal justice reform currently and who goes to prisons, et cetera. I mean, that is also one of the biggest, biggest before the crisis, the overdoses crisis that have started of course, since a few years now, um, that is also a huge crisis that has been aggravated in the eighties and then the nineties with different policies, et cetera. So it is also about finding the entry doors. But again, there is just to finish up on this, even the United States and the United nations, when we go back again to this unintended consequences story that they came up with in 19, in 2008, because that was the a hundred years of drug control going from the 1909 Shanghai commission on opium. So they came up with this report. We can about unintended consequences as well of the current regime.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (33:08)
And one of them is what they call policy displacement. And the fact that now in every country in the world, budgetary displacements goes into more money, goes into law enforcement and does not go to hell, does not go to education, et cetera, other things that we need to lower the issues related to drugs. So, and it's always very hard in every, every country to take the money out of the pocket of law enforcement, we injustice or police, they always win the budgetary battle. And the health minister is always the one that loses that usually. And this is the case almost everywhere, because this is unfortunately the world we live in and it's going more and more security oriented to some extent, I mean, yeah, just to say it, to finalize on that. Yeah. All these issues are there, but they need to reach the public. And I think that what you're doing with your show as well is giving up the evidence and the information to people on the ground to understand much more how complex the issues are, but that there are solutions as well. That need to be pragmatic and realistic.
Dean Becker (34:07)
Thank you for that. Uh, uh, I, um, uh, you were talking about the, the police forces and, um, I don't know what I think it was about 1990, um, was the invasion of Panama, uh, that, uh, Noriega was the biggest drug dealer in the world. And the United States went down there and, and in the 24 hours, I guess, kicked his butt. And finally he came out of hiding and surrendered. Uh, but that's, that's kinda the extreme example, but here in the United States, every police force now has a SWAT team, has a modus operandi kick in the door, uh, shoot the dog, threatened the children, et cetera. And I guess to me, the morals of that process, that, that, that function are, are, are wrong. They're evil because we're always going to have drug users. There. There is no denying that we have always, since the beginning of time, people have used drugs, psychedelic drug bushes, who cares.
Dean Becker (35:09)
They have always tried to change their, uh, they drink reindeer P up in, in the, uh, um, uh, Alaska. And I guess what I'm saying is it's time to pull the plug on this it's time to find that solution we have every year, the U S invest 50 to $60 billion trying to stop the flow of drugs. But what most people do not recognize is that every year that terrorists the cartels, the gangs, the street corner vendors make 400 to $600 billion a year. They use that money to finance human trafficking and other criminal operations. And in essence, we're shooting ourselves in the foot with a machine gun 24 seven, your response Kaleo,
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (35:53)
No, I mean, it is. In fact, as I said, the fact of having chosen prohibition as a model was giving up control to some extent. I mean, we had the global commission have our 2014 report called take control and with the pathways to take the control. And we had that discussion of saying the title was retake control, but some, one of our commissioners stood up and said, no one has ever had the control. And it was in the hands of criminals since day one. I mean, we took it out of the hands of the traditional ceremonial use, which was more, um, which was less potent to some extent in India or in Nepal, et cetera, in different countries where there, I mean, and now we're having something that is very much more pot and powerful, et cetera. So, I mean, prohibition has also changed that the nature of the illegal market, because I mean, when you want to be, when you're, when you're, when you're a criminal, you also want to have stronger substances so that you can go and cut them much easier and have smaller quantities to pass, et cetera, et cetera.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (36:46)
So you go into more pot and issues, and that's why fentanyl is so successful as well, because it can hide it easily and you can sell it. You can add it with smaller quantities and you can sell it for the same price as heroin, et cetera. So of course, I know this is just like the perverse effects that come with it. And you find yourself with like, what, what was in the sixties is very different from what is in 2020. So it is a different world. I mean, the issue, it is very difficult not to say yes, of course this is the biggest market for the organized crime. I mean, uh, needing a kidney that's once in a lifetime, you know, for like, uh, for, for, for trafficking of Oregon's needing a weapon that is few times once, et cetera, et cetera, for traffic arms, but drugs, the demand is there.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (37:28)
And the demand can not be concealed. That is not a reality. I mean, that's why we look for societies that are without problematic use, where people use responsibly, where they don't cause problems to themselves or to others. So, and that is the majority of the users. Anyways, we're talking here about, uh, about 88 to 89% of people who use drugs around the world that are touched by the system, because also we know people who use drugs only they're arrested or go to the ER room or et cetera, et cetera, all the people that consume and not, not touched by the system, we don't know about them. So we have limited data. I mean, and it's very difficult to conceal that. Now also the fact how we respond to organized crime, organized crime works. It does not work in silos. They look for profits and for revenue, and so they can move very easily and they can have, they have very flexible structures.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (38:16)
We do have huge machines and state response. And in the authorities response, and you have the anti-corruption unit there, the antidromic unit there, you have, you know, each one is separated. Each one has its procedures, et cetera. And so there are so many cracks in the system to go through it, even under prohibition. So, I mean, there are ways to do better. Our last report of the global commission that was lounged in early may, 2020 does address this issue is I don't know how to address the under a prohibition model, how to do better, basically to raise the money, to infiltrate the organizations, how to have a better response is working, coming together, but also under regulated market. Because when you regulate the market, there are also opportunities of infiltration, et cetera. And if you leave people that were there, those that were controlled by organized crime, as the small hands, the dealers in the street that don't even make according to evidence, do not make the minimum wages, uh, or you know, the women in central America that are the couriers, and they don't even know the quantities they're carrying, or what did they, I mean, usually they don't even know what kind of penalties they would face by arriving into the other country and across and et cetera.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (39:26)
And of course, people who use and consume that is those are people that, I mean, should not be left behind. They need to be taken into account in the new market and also be taken with the market out of the hands of criminals, because those are people that are given also as soldiers to that market, because they have no other economic alternative to some extent. So we also include the nonviolent people there, but I mean, finally to say on the methods of intervention, I mean, the United States is a signatory of the universal declaration of human rights. And I mean, the way of intervening, it remains a very sovereign issue. So it's very difficult for an international person to speak about police intervention and law enforcement intervention into a, you know, a while and anti-drug campaigns. But of course, I mean, there are some minimums about people's dignity. I mean, people are innocent until proven guilty, even when there is an intervention of beliefs, et cetera, it is a judge that does, uh, give a judgment and not law enforcement. And I mean, people's rights. People do not lose their rights and their fundamental rights because they, they use a banned substance.
Speaker 3: (40:38)
I, um, I want to go back to, I have a shirt. I like to wear it from time to time. It says, nice people use drugs. And I know that one and many people, I, I can't give you a, uh, even a good approximation, but I would think it's in the high 90% of all drug use, maybe 90.9 is people enjoying themselves, uh, seeking a bit of euphoria. It is the, the result, many times of people not knowing what in the heck they're purchasing, how much to use that creates the problems of, uh, overdose and death. And, and it's, uh, it is, it is the policy that in the United States, we call these drugs controlled substances. And there's never been a bigger oxymoron on the planet. These drugs have no control
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (41:34)
Whatsoever. And I guess what I'm saying here is that the hype, the hysteria, the quote need for this drug war is so overblown from my perspective perspective, excuse me, it is totally unnecessary. It has no reason to exist. It is a quasi religion. That's 50 or a hundred years old. And, and I want your response. No, I mean, I mean, we are totally in agreement. I mean, people use drugs for a variety of reasons, you know, I mean, around the world and in the United States, I mean, it could be for seeking pleasure. It could be because of self-medication because of physical pain because of emotional pain. I mean, it's the diversity of, for experimentation for, I mean, the diversity of reasons. I mean, the very famous sentence that says that even a kid, if when you go, when you see kids, I mean, they go around the carousel in turn, turn, turn, turn, turn around until their head spins.
Dr. Khalid Tena: (42:28)
So people want to have their brain, you know, um, alter to some extent that is a human behavior. It is also an animal behavior in many animals that use many substances that they find through other plans. And so the fact of not accepting that is the big problem. And the other fact of having chosen a model of control that is based on saying addiction is evil. We need to stop it, but then promoting tobacco, alcohol coffee and all those other issues that are very commercially important. And at the same time, allowing, I mean, destroying the whole mild, um, traditional production and allowing pharmaceutical companies to go into, you know, synthesizing or producing whatever they want as substances and selling them in the market. You know, so at this, that, that, that difficulty between what people want to do and what is being pushed commercially, that also makes it very difficult, you know, to accept the system, plus all the impacts you've been speaking about that are huge.
Dr. Khali: (43:29)
And indeed it is, it is the policies that are also in part responsible for people's deaths. I mean, people it's to some extent do by the substances and that's their choice. And as a society, we have to reach that point where we accept that not everyone is going to be uniform. That is the reality. I mean, the United States is the country of the people coming from everywhere and living together and making the greatest country on earth. So it is the true, it is the country like that. And it will continue for a very long time. Its economy depends on that. Its culture depends on that, et cetera. It's the country where you are American before. Anything else when you are a lot of different things. So we have also to accept the fact that people will do use different substances. I mean, this is where we also need to go into these discussions as well.
Dr. Khali: (44:15)
I mean, we say that we need to bring in the cultural voices. We need to bring it to different voices, the religious voices, et cetera, but to open the base, to open discussions, this is a societal issue. This is about people, their own choices and making sure that they do not fall into these situation as you have this crime so well that people go and just buy something, but they have to do it so quickly. And they don't know what they're buying, et cetera, et cetera, because they're afraid of being caught because the dealer also is afraid of being caught, et cetera, and that they buy whatever they can and they go, and then they just don't even know how to use it really, to some extent or have someone to show them and they don't have access to clean material. And so they end up using the same material and getting infected with HIV and hepatitis, et cetera, and becoming and destroying their own lives, but also making all the society lose all its investments.
Dr. Khali: (45:02)
I mean, those are our, like every one of us in a society we're supposed to give back, we're supposed to work and everyone would love to do that and have the opportunity to work and be give back and be integrated in society, et cetera, et cetera. So we deny people also their place in society by rejecting them in that extent or not allowing them to have the services and also people that end up overdosing and not having help and not having the capacity to call for help. I mean, that is our terrible, terrible moment that no one, no one should be going through. I mean, it's this, we have to get out of this craziness. That repression is a deterrence. Now we know it's not, it's been almost 60 years that everything has been used prison eradication of crops, uh, long sentences. And as you've written about it as well, um, minimum, you know, mandatory minimums, et cetera, et cetera, at all levels.
Dr. Khali: (45:55)
I mean, state and County jails full of people consuming drugs alone, and that should never, ever, ever be that getting their lives destroyed with criminal records and not being able to reintegrate a society or their communities in the right way. Communities that have been impacted very, very heavily of course, by the war on drugs. Because when we speak about the one drug and we're addressing is in few areas as in the areas that are already poor and, and, you know, in difficult situations, it's not in the beautiful areas and with wealthy people. So all of these impacts yes. Have to be addressed of course, but the only way to get there it's really to start change somewhere and to open a discussion that gets bigger and bigger in society. And I think that that's something that happened for marijuana when people started to understand that no people are not going to be stabbing you in the street because marijuana is legal. Not no, the sun is still comes up that the United States will remain the United States. And that is something that just was done in a situation that was illegal and now it's just become illegal. So I mean the same demand is there, the same people are there. It didn't change much.
Dean Becker (46:58)
You mentioned the open discussion and over the years, the decades that I've been doing this, uh, I have contacted, you know, the offices of the drug enforcement administration, the Olin DCP, um, even though the president, a couple of times seeking a debate, seeking a discussion, similar to what we're doing now. And I have been absolutely shut down every time now. They don't even respond to my emails. They don't return my phone calls. And I guess what I'm saying here is that I claim
Speaker 3: (47:30)
The moral high ground. I think I own every square inch of it. And I would love to have that debate and they hide from me. Um, your response to that, sir.
Dr. Khali: (47:40)
Well, I mean, that is for, to some extent also, I mean, we, as a global commission have, um, less success in being in the U S discussion or in the Washington DC discussion and more particularly for the last few years. So, but the global commission for instance, was put in place to be a bridge between people on the ground and people in place. So this is something that we do country visits, for instance, where our commissioners visit a country, where there is a discussion and a debate about a reform. And they would meet with the civil society voice as they will try to organize public events, uh, to be visible. But they would also meet up with the highest level of authorities to take into, you know, to take those voices and bring them there and open up the debate. So they act as the door openers, to some extent our commissioners bring, bringing the evidence they're experienced, they're more authority, et cetera, because they have been in office.
Dr. Khali: (48:29)
They have been through that to some extent. So this is why our, uh, this is how we function at a global level of course, with our own capacity and what we can do. And we have to cover up so many discussions. I mean, from Tunisia to Malaysia, to, you know, South Africa, uh, Colombia, et cetera, et cetera, um, many, many different issues. Now, a country like the United States is much more permeable to international global level discussions. And that's where we also have some, our little sister as the regional commissions as the one in West Africa or the one that we spoke about in Latin America and other ones come in where they have a regional discussion that they try to open up a regional debate on a regional discussion. But with political champions that are from the region that do not necessarily have to have the same positions as us, but of course our basis is the human rights and the fundamental rights of people that we go from that point and where these political champions then educate themselves.
Dr. Khali: (49:25)
I mean, we had the experience in West Africa where we had the former president of Nigeria, the mr. Obasanjo who himself has educated himself about the issue of drug policy has seen evidence to him when he started the West Africa commission, working with our commissioners and mr. And the late mr. Kofi Annan, he was for him really to address the, the, the, the increase in traffic. And because it became the new routes since it's so difficult to go through the Caribbean and the central America now. So the new, yeah. And so, and so, but he ended up seeing that consumption was going up, that the health related issues were coming in, that the over-incarceration is coming in, the human rights violations are coming in. And so he became one of the most wonderful voices for change in the region, going around and seeing people in office and trying, you know, and get bringing the evidence and bring in the discussion and also bring it in recommendations that are adapted to the region that are not necessarily the same as the global commission that says we need to regulate every drug with different models, because the state to take control and has to take responsibility.
Dr. Khali: (50:30)
This is not okay to leave it in the hands of criminals on the regional levels. It's more adaptable to the realities and it educates the people from the region, and it is a debate between the people in the region. So these are the kinds of mechanisms we're trying to put in place, of course, but as you would know, I mean, just to respond very quickly. Again, it is always about the political capital and how much you can build up in this. It's been only really 10 years. And I mean, I think that the marijuana experience is very different with what has been started with someone like Ethan Nadelmann since the nineties, and trying to get into the medical marijuana, et cetera, and proving its efficacy and, and better regulation than, than in the black market. But it's also, you know, something that is evolving very quickly and it's building up. I mean, you see now that so many States do vote for that for the legalization. And I think that the debate that what you've been doing for the last 20 years will pay off because it's also the whole public opinion that is also shifting and looking into the evidence and listen in a bit more. But of course this takes time, especially in a world now where people get so much information every minute with different channels, proven and unproven, true and fake, et cetera, et cetera, but we will eventually get there.
Speaker 3: (51:42)
I think you're right now, um, in a way, this is a facetious question, but what is the benefit of drug war?
Dr. Khali: (51:52)
Well, I mean, no, the benefit is big. I mean, if you look at it to some extent there a wall of money, I mean the prohibition money is no, but I mean
Speaker 3: (52:00)
Our neighborhoods, what is the benefit?
Dr. Khali: (52:03)
Well, I mean, just to say, I mean to say this is not ironic, but in reality, I mean the prohibition of money money is, I mean, and the criminal money is there is huge laundering and ends up being for the most luxurious, the biggest, um, you know, goods in, in, in the real economy. So there is a lot of interests there. There's the laundering of the money coming from there, there is all the yards, et cetera, et cetera, that could be bought with that. So there is an interest for some legal economy and there's a lot of interest for the criminal economy, but there is no good for no one. It does not protect our kids from drugs in no way. Our kids are very exposed to drugs. I mean, in what city in the world, you can not find heroin or cocaine or cannabis in five minutes. You can find it everywhere that easily. I mean, it's, I mean, what I said, maybe it was called, but it was really to say it's true. There are some people that benefit from it, but it's again, yeah. Not those that need to be protected,
Speaker 3: (53:07)
But yeah. Nothing for me or you or our kids or our neighborhood, uh, no particular. Um, and, and it, it, and then the other question, I, you know, again, somewhat facetious, it ties in with our seeking the moral high ground. What is moral about this?
Dr. Khali: (53:26)
Well, I mean, it's very hard for someone like technical, like me to speak about morality, to be honest. I mean, we have a, it's just that. Um, I mean, I think that morality was the problem to some extent at the start, because it was, this is the right thing as if there was something right, and something wrong as if people's choices and behaviors and circumstances were already sets. It is not the case. Public policy is not about morality. Public policy is not about telling people what to do. Public policy is about building the regulations and building up the parameters in which all the people can live freely, happily and insecurity and where no one would hurt no one else. So, I mean, for me, the frame has to remain what it should be, the morality. I mean, we're not talking about people killing other people.
Dr. Khali: (54:18)
I mean, if there is some, I mean, we're talking about people, there are nonviolent, we're not speaking here about the big criminals that are carrying guns and, you know, trafficking in submarines, et cetera. We're talking about people that are nonviolent that do not have the same, uh, that are not responsible of crimes. We make those crimes, those small misdemeanors to some extent. So, yeah, I mean, it's, I think that the, the idea, the morality really has to be to some extent, I mean, what is the morality in smoking cigarettes or drinking wine, I mean, or being, or having alcohol dependence or whatever's, which is the case for so many, so many people, and which has glorified with like every housewife and TV getting a glass of wine or first thing when they get home. So, I mean, I would, for me, it really public policy has not to interfere in people's choices, but make sure that those traces don't hurt their neighbors, that they allow them also to seek options when they need to and put it in the place frame where everyone can live together, respect and everyone else and not hurting each other.
Dr. Khali: (55:31)
To some extent
Speaker 3: (55:33)
I'm with you there 100% right there. Um, now I know you mentioned that it's kind of hard to talk about national policies, but one of the goals of this program seeking the moral high ground is to, to rattle the cage, to hopefully get the attention of the major media, to have this 90 minute special challenge Donald Trump and Joe Biden to address this issue. And if you could speak to them, what would you say to them?
Dr. Khali: (56:07)
Well, that's a huge honor. I must say because I mean, I love the United States. I know the country quite well. I have been in different places from California to Florida, to New York, Pennsylvania, et cetera, et cetera. So I love the U S I'm a big fan. And I visit the U S all the time. Now, unfortunately, the situation is different, but I, and hope it's okay in Houston where you are with the COVID infections, et cetera. No, but I mean, this is a huge honor, but of course, to say that this is not a conservative issue, it's not a liberal issue. This is an issue about human beings and about their lives. It is an issue that could be solved. We have the tools. So basically what is missing is the political will, there are many ways to mitigate the issues, even if it's to go incrementally and step by step into better policies into starting by introducing the decriminalization into starting by accepting the harm reduction services.
Dr. Khali: (56:55)
And you can call them whatever you want, but at least implementing safe consumption areas that are supervised, where people can seek help, et cetera, but in drug testing and festivals. So that college gets stopped over those in because they're buying a pill and they don't know what it is, et cetera, et cetera. So putting those services in place, but also putting in place a different era of programs of treatment, because methadone is a treatment. It is an essential medicines list of who. So there are solutions we have to get out of the spirits of people. I mean, there is supply reduction efforts will have to remain. I mean, it is unfortunate as, as it is, repression has to remain. The cartels are way too big, way too important way too violent. So that element against this elements of supply have to remain there, but the most pragmatic and clever way to do it is to go incrementally and immediately take out people who use drugs out of this equation of this repressive equation, because that brings nothing about problems.
Dr. Khali: (57:57)
It brings nothing beneficial. I mean, it's crazy to arrest a kid because he's smoking marijuana or whatever's any other substance. I mean, what does it bring? Right. And moving on on finding ways, like, for example, with marijuana and the California law, or the Massachusetts law, allowing for people that were in the illegal market with criminal records to join the new market, and even some cities given them priorities to join the new legal market, those are also ways that need to be discussed. I mean, this is a fantastic policy ID. I mean, the implementation is different, but it's to make sure that the people that were there and that illegal Academy come to the legal economy first. I mean, first of all, they have the expertise and they're the ones who suffered the most, the consequences of the war on drugs. So we have also to go to undermine organized crime, to take these people out of it.
Dr. Khali: (58:43)
So they get these people out of the discussion. And finally, I mean, if these national discussions can take place so that the United States can also speak to the international level and say that any law, not only international law instruments, but any law can be amended, it can be rediscussed, it can be modernized. We can not have tools that are so old that no longer respond to the situation we can not have. I mean, just to think about how ridiculous, and when you have the scheduling system, it takes over a year or two years to schedule one substance between the pre review of the critical review. But first you have to have enough, you have to have enough scientific literature to be pre reviewed and then critically reviewed because they don't look at the substance like that. Then you give like the experts given advice, that's a schedule or not.
Dr. Khali: (59:25)
Then that goes into the end and it's voted on by members, States, et cetera. We have a new psychoactive substance that arrives at the market per week. I mean, the system does not work at all. So I mean, the United States has pushed a lot for, at the international level for the schedule of fentanyl derivatives, which is a good thing. But nevertheless, because I mean, it's still ensures the access for the medical needs, but on the other hand, I mean, so many new substances arriving, you can change just one Lake chemical ingredients, and then you have another substance that is not recognized that the police can arrest you for really, because it's not in a schedule. They can not tell you what to do. You know, they don't even have that power. So to say that the whole system has been so badly built, it needs to be undone again.
Dr. Khali: (01:00:06)
I mean, if I would say anything to the two candidates for the next election is to really just give it, put in, listen to the people on the ground, because they know what they're talking about. Listen to the social workers and to the health workers, listen to the people, working in the harm reduction services, listen to people who inject drugs, because they know what the experiences they go through. What redefine, what is people who use drugs? Because I mean, this is very large. This can include people that use legal drugs. This has to include people that we don't know if they're using or not, et cetera, where the is hidden. And that's the biggest part I would, I would argue. I mean, it's about really starting to look into how, by lowering also all these issues, we can have people being less scared so we can have better data collection so we can understand what is going on.
Dr. Khali: (01:00:51)
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:00:51)
I mean, no one has seen the opioid crisis come because of prohibition, because there was no possibility to look into the illegal market and know what is happening and its complexity and know what is going on. You could not have mathematical models to look into how this crisis was going to hit or why it was going to hit the market, et cetera. So it is all interlinked. That is all very difficult. So what I would say is that the United States is capable of the best and show that throughout so many different [inaudible] when it wants to go incrementally and seriously on something. And this is where it has to start little by little, I mean, thinking about a big change as well would bring in a lot of issues that would be difficult and what could discredit the needed reforms.
Dean Becker (01:01:34)
Alright. The first one is, again, we've been speaking with mr. [inaudible]. Um, I noticed the most recent report. I think it was issued in may by the global commission on drug policy. Oh, was focused on the traffickers, wanting to deal with them, to forte their efforts in some fashion. And I know that, and I mentioned earlier, it's 400 to $600 billion a year, this industry, and it's used to corrupt judges and border guards and cops and you name it, uh, I've heard is half that amount is used to do the corruption to keep it all flowing. And I dare say that the traffickers are not going to quit. They will never quit. As long as that profit margin is, it's going to take Merck and Pfizer making cocaine and heroin and selling it dirt cheap at the drug store to force these traffickers, to give up their jihad, your response to their colleagues.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:02:31)
Well, I mean, yes, of course. I don't think that, I mean, of course, organized crime, as we said, we'll always go after money. I mean, the first thing that they did during the COVID was to shift into face masks and into hydraulic gels that they started selling the, on the black market. And I mean, we had, I don't know about the United States, but in many different parts of the world, they were like, you know, even stolen, like the States ordered ones that would arrive. And we had the military Hammond to guide the masks because there was, you know, because they would be attacked and the, and the trunks would get stolen and then get sold on the black market. So the organized crime is going nowhere and that's, that's how they survive. Of course. And they have that big machine that they have to go running and they have to get the money flowing in.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:03:12)
So you are very right on that. That is going nowhere, of course, that there is a need to take the market out of their hands. When Switzerland has implemented that four pillar strategy prevention, treatment, harm reduction, repression that, I mean, there was some evidence that in the city of Lake Zurich, the market of heroin in the streets that shrink by 75%, that is huge. I mean, there's still the black market, but I mean, that is a huge success. You shrink the market so much organized crime will go into something else. I mean, like in Mexico, when they started the Calderon administration started the war on drugs in 2006, they never expected what was facing them, but it's also the fact that the market moved into like kidnapping into other sorts of, you know, um, activities, criminal activities, et cetera. So I totally agree, but this is why we say exactly that, yes, we need the models and we need the models and the flexibility, because also we need the flexibility in the evaluation, because if you have a very, very, very restrictive model where you lower very much the part and of the substance, et cetera, you know, to protect people, there are some people that would still go to the black market for potency.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:04:18)
They would still some that would go for price, et cetera. So it's all about regulations. That's why I say it has to go really, really step by step and always taking into account that, that they will never let it go. And if legalization and regulation is the big enemy of organized crime. Yes.
Dean Becker (01:04:33)
Well, a prime example of what I'm trying to put forward here is in Columbia, you can buy a kilo of 92% pure cocaine for about a thousand, maybe $2,000, and you can take it to the United States and you can cut the purity down to maybe 25% and sell it for a hundred dollars a gram. Whereas if it were made by Merck and Pfizer and available at the Walgreens store at $5 a gram, that's a, that's a great profit for Merck or Pfizer. And yet, um, th that would, uh, take away the ability of these cartels to sell cocaine here in these United States, the year response they were up.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:05:13)
Well, I mean, the price inflation is a huge, I mean, there's all sorts studies. What you're saying is very true. I mean, you start at a price that goes up 16000% when you arrived at the final destination, but that's also related to the risks you take. I mean, because in every step, because the price goes also a little bit, you know, it's not the same from Columbia to go to, to Guatemala, to, you know, to Mandurah as the Mexico to this. And now the price keeps on going because everyone takes their risk until the rise of the market. Now, I mean, it is in fact, I mean, that is the position of the global commission. Yes. That it needs to be controlled by the state. Now, the model, especially for CA I mean, for cannabis for marijuana is easy because we have the model of cigarettes, but also the controls like in New York city or Los A So to some extent, yes, we have to start with those experimentations. And sometimes even pilots. I mean, why would the United States have to do cocaine regulation all over the country? Why doesn't they do it in a small, I mean, we're speaking here in a very conceptual way because we're very far away from this discussion, but does that make sense? Yes. This is why not even pilots because pilots allow you really to be in a smaller quantity, in a smaller number of people with the, you know, with a, with a smaller group where you can evaluate quite easily. It's not true.
Speaker 3: (01:07:14)
The potential for major fall out. I'm gonna fall back on it. Oh, well, I want to thank you for your time today. Um, we have gone through my list of questions considerably. Well, are there any closing thoughts?
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:07:32)
No, I would like to say that, um, it is quite incredible. The work you are doing and everyone around the United States. I mean, of course, I mean, we live here in Geneva and I am right in front of the office of the high commissioner for human rights. And, um, of course, when we think about the end of the second world war and how international law was beautiful and where we had so much advanced thanks to the United States as well, of course, uh, for having, you know, democracy spreading around the world for having human rights and basic rights for everyone insured and, and pushed there. This is the one area where international law and its articles is the problem. This never happens anywhere. And this is where all the countries compliant. They're not comply into all the other issues. So this is something to really remember.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:08:22)
And, but the hope there is that there is no more consensus. Everything is changing. There is no more consensus on prohibition around the world. We have a world today where in Colorado people can buy it legally. And we have in the same time, people that are being killed extra judicially in different countries in South and Southeast Asia, because of exactly the same thing that is legal in the United States. We have countries with criminal light with a very heavy criminalization and with mandatory that penalty for very low thresholds of possession. And we have on the other hand countries that have defacto decriminalization, et cetera. So we are in a situation that is so problematic and gives actually, because there is no more consensus and there is no more, uh, similar approaches. And that always is cracks in the system for criminal organizations to go through those cracks.
Dr. Khalid Tenasti: (01:09:19)
So the global consensus that we have built around prohibition no longer is sustainable because it did not bring any results in a lot of harms, but now we don't want to recognize that. And so everyone is doing whatever they can on the ground to respond to their situations. And you have showed that very well with cities because cities are moving because that's something that touches them directly. They, that is something, I mean, cities and mayors are the closest to their constituency, regardless of all the people that are elected. So that office does respond. And this is what we do in other countries. Everyone responds with whatever they can. And we find ourselves with such a canvas because there is no more leadership either. And that's where we need to come back. And we need to come back into realism evidence and into people based. And people centered policies, drug policy needs to be about people about their vulnerabilities, about their situations, not about the substances. The substances are always going to be there and we need to shift that focus. So thank you, Dean. Well, thank you.