WHEN LIFE GENERATES DEATH (LEGALLY)
IS IT EFFECTIVE AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKERS?
There are lots of countries (most of which Asiatic) where traffic in drugs involves death penalty; half of them adopted these measures during the eighties. Hundreds of people have been executed since then. The reason that induced to turn to death penalty resides in its presumed deterrent efficaciousness, as it's obvious, against drug traffickers. However, in spite of the numerous executions, there is no convincing evidence that a decrease of drug traffic in interested countries could be attributed to the threat or application of capital punishment.
In Iran, executions for drug crimes started before the revolution in 1979. It turns out that, later, over a thousand people have been sentenced to death; and yet drug abuse and trade are still a serious problem, not solved at all.
In Malaysia, where death penalty for drug crimes is compulsory since 1983, autorities have more than once publicly acknowledged its ineffectiveness. The general detective inspector affirmed in 1985 that capital punishment didn't seem to have deterrent effects against traffickers; in 1990, the Vice-minister of the Interior affirmed that capital punishment hadn't been able to decrease drug use or traffic and there was the need of a different approach to the problem. The list of the failures could go on.
Some international organizations have discussed the matter. The UN thought about the measures to be adopted against drug traffic that:
For its part, the International Conference about the drug abuse and traffic, held in Vienna in 1987, adopted a Multidisciplinary scheme of future activities for drug abuse control which includes prevention and repression measures.
On the grounds of many experts' experience, the fact that as utmost punishment there is death penalty doesn't imply necessarily that it has particular effects against drug traffic: as a matter of fact in some cases it could complicate Public Prosecution's activity since law courts need much higher standards of evidence if death penalty is provided (particularly if it's complsory). The most effective deterrent is surely the certainty to be discovered and arrested.