My book, Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs, was published in an Indian edition in 2020.
It’s therefore gratifying to see how its message is reaching Indians with the publication of this letter in The Shillong Times, a newspaper in north-east India:
Pockets of Shillong are witnessing a rise in drug-related crimes. In the past weeks the law enforcers conducted counter-narcotics programs using community-based intelligence which has worked wonders on a temporary scale but this is a long war which will test the mettle of governments now and later. In this game of interests the lines are blurred from traffickers to a porous border along the North Eastern corridor. What we have not witnessed is the rise of rival cartels backed by corrupt states similar to situations in Mexico or Honduras. Unemployment is a matter of grave concern as each year students are getting out of institutions with degrees but no jobs. Technically, the distribution channels of narcotics are gaining ground in cyberspace too.
Legalisation and decriminalization have always been on the cards but whether they will be implemented in letter and spirit is a debatable matter. We cannot be swayed by the capital punishment in Singapore or the failed Plan Colombia to draw a roadmap for ourselves, but the answer lies deeper than the series Narcos. Antony Loewenstein’s Pills, Powder and Smoke (Inside the Bloody War on Drugs) weaves it beautifully on this powerful multi-billion dollar industry which will not yield submissively.