While by no means an anti-prohibitionist document, this World Health Organization report makes a number of interesting points. The report notes, “despite intensive interdiction efforts, there always seems to be enough [drugs] available to users.” Worldwide, according to WHO, 8.8 percent of mortality is attributable to tobacco, 3.2 percent to alcohol and 0.4 percent to all illicit drugs combined — with most of the illicit drug-related mortality due to disease transmission via needle-sharing. Given the U.S. government’s claims of links between marijuana and mental illness, it is noteworthy that WHO reports that alcohol-dependent individuals have 3.3 times the rate of schizophrenia as non-alcoholics. In addition, the report notes, “there are ample data to suggest that excessive alcohol use leads to depression.”

World Health Organization, “Neuroscience of Psychoactive Substance Use and Dependence,” World Health Organization, Geneva (2004).

Full text available for free at:http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/en/Neuroscience.pdf