Depenalise drug use, says Interpol boss

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PARIS (Reuter) - Drug use should be depenalised and governments should concentrate their anti-drug efforts on reducing consumption, said the head of the international police organisation, Interpol.

'The only way to kill off the market is to make demand fall drastically,' the Interpol secretary-general, Raymond Kendall, said in an interview with a magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, which is due to be published today.

Mr Kendall said that governments should make preventive measures to reduce the consumption of drugs their priority and should stop emphasising the battle against traffickers and dealers.

'. . . Whatever the efforts of repression, producers and traffickers will continue to prosper as long as there are millions of consumers in our countries,' he said.

Mr Kendall, who has served as secretary-general of Interpol, which is based in Lyons, since 1985, advocated the depenalisation of drug use but said that he was against legalising drugs outright.

'I want to ring the alarm bell, to appeal to politicians and tell them: 'Be careful . . . if we continue to fight drugs as we have done for 20 years, we will lose the battle completely - perhaps it has already been lost',' said Mr Kendall.

'We seize more and more drugs and we arrest more and more dealers. But at the same time the quantity of drugs available in our countries grows. So let us continue to pursue dealers but let us not expect any miracles,' he said.