[image credit: rfa.org]
Vigilante killings only make a temporary dent in drug trafficking
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte's program of extrajudicial killing of drug dealers has been praised by many of his native supporters, who are fed up with rampant crime and drug trafficking in Manila and other urban areas. Harsh programs against the drug trade may draw populist support, but recent similar experiments in Thailand and other countries show that harsh penalties or even vigilante justice may eliminate scores of small-time street dealers, but they fail to dislodge the less visible kingpins of the drug trade. Within a few years, drug use is back to previous levels
Solution: Legalize commonly trafficked, less harmful drugs
Thailand recognizes that the decades-long war on drugs requires a new approach. After decades of setbacks, the Thai government has decriminalized Ya Ba, a popular form of methamphetamine. Legalization allows chronic users to come out of the shadows and receive treatment. By decriminalizing the sale and use of an already ubiquitous substance, the Thai government has eliminated most of the black market for Ya Ba, leading to a collapse in price.