Addiction scientists call for end to executions for drug offenders

July 14, 2009

The death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking and other drug-related offences should be abolished as it is both ineffective as a policy measure and a violation of human rights.

So write a group of prominent scientists who believe that the international addiction community has a responsibility to support the abolitionist cause.

The editorial Drug trafficking: time to abolish the death penalty, published online today in the August issue of the journal Addiction, argues that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent for drug-related offences, since it is usually poor and replaceable mules and "runners" who are likely to be caught and executed.

The authors cite the UN statement that capital punishment should be imposed only for "intentional crime with lethal or other extremely severe consequences", and argue that since trafficking is "no more a proximate and inevitable cause of death than is the trade in motorcars or the sale of tobacco", the execution of those found guilty of drug trafficking, or other drug-related offences, is a violation of human rights.

The editorial calls for addiction scientists to speak out against the use of the death penalty for drug trafficking, and the authors have circulated a copy to the editors of 45 other academic journals in the addiction field; a number of them will also be publishing the editorial in support of the cause.

Says lead author Professor Griffith Edwards: "The signatories to this editorial are scientists with many years of experience in advising governments as to what drug policies are, in this arena, more or less likely to work. They are saying now with one voice that the death penalty for drug-related offences is a totally ineffective response to a complex problem. Science advises that the penalty should be abolished."

More information: Edwards G., Babor T., Darke S., Hall W., Marsden J., Miller P., West R. Drug Trafficking: time to abolish the death penalty. Addiction 2009; 104: 1267 www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122511516/PDFSTART

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Study focuses on prescription addiction

Related Stories

Study focuses on prescription addiction

April 23, 2007

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco have started a study to evaluate treatments for addiction to prescription painkillers.

Assembling the jigsaw puzzle of drug addiction

January 5, 2008

Using an integrative meta-analysis approach, researchers from the Center for Bioinformatics at Peking University in Beijing have assembled the most comprehensive gene atlas underlying drug addiction and identified five molecular ...

Female sex offenders often have mental problems

May 14, 2008

Women who commit sexual offences are just as likely to have mental problems or drug addictions as other violent female criminals. This according to the largest study ever conducted of women convicted of sexual offences in ...

Death Penalty Does Not Deter Murder, According to New Study

June 17, 2009

Eighty-eight percent of the country's top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide, according to a new study published today in Northwestern University School of Law's Journal of Criminal ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.