The attempt to control drug use and harms through punitive sanctions (i.e. the war on drugs) has been a global failure. In fact, in many cases it has intensified the problem, leading to soaring prison populations, and disproportionately pulling poor, vulnerable or minority communities into the dragnet of the criminal justice system. Negative perceptions and fears of the general public, reinforced by negative media portrayals, have made drugs and people who use them an 'ÂÂeasy target' for politicians and other elected officials who want to curry favour with their voters. In this impassioned panel discussion, leading activists from the most influential groups will explain the reasons such failure was predictable and illustrate how decriminalisation policies (as pursued in other countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands etc) offer a rational and more humane way forward, that also have huge economic and research gains for society.