Trends in Organized Crime

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 60-74

First online:

Narcophobia: drugs prohibition and the generation of human rights abuses

  • Fernanda MenaAffiliated withCentre for Human Rights, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics
  • , Dick HobbsAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, London School of Economics Email author 

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This paper is concerned with the negative aspects of global drugs prohibition. The paper argues that prohibition, which is driven by moralism rather than empirical research, creates a black market that is regulated by violent entrepreneurs, and particular in developing countries where there is a lack of economic opportunities for the poor, offers the only feasible employment options. The paper suggests that the results of experimental legislation should be taken seriously. The militarisation of prohibition enforcement has hindered the advancement of democracy and led to violence and increases in human rights abuses. In conclusion it is argued that the current system of global prohibition creates more problems than it solves, and that issues of drug production and trade need to be dealt with by regulation from within a development perspective.