‘War on drugs’ behind endless misery

By Evan Wood, Special to CNN


* Evan Wood: Scores killed in Jamaica in attempt to nab suspected drug lord

* War on drugs has created a violent underground with billions to be made, Wood says

* Thousands of people die and gangs kill for profits, yet drugs get more plentiful, he writes

* Wood: Scientific, health-based approach instead of criminal approach works elsewhere

Editor’s note: Evan Wood is the founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy; the director of the Urban Health Program at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and associate professor in the Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

(CNN) — The news of intense drug-related violence out of Jamaica is shocking and dreadful but entirely predictable. Wherever the war on drugs touches down, death and destruction result. A recent target is Kingston, Jamaica.

When law enforcement attempted to smoke out Christopher “Dudus” Coke, wanted in the U.S. for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and to traffic in firearms, scores of people died in the urban warfare. The death toll reached 73 civilians as Jamaicans were caught in the crossfire between police, soldiers and armed thugs.