Breaking the Taboo
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Breaking the Taboo

2011, Drugs  -   64 Comments
Ratings: 7.47/10 from 15 users.

Breaking the TabooIn 2011 a group of world leaders including seven ex-presidents set up the global commission on drug policy to end the forty year war on drugs. But wars are easier to start than to finish. The war on drugs officially started in 1971 when President Richard Milhous Nixon said: "We must wage what I have called total war against public enemy number one in the United States, the problem of dangerous drugs."

The answer for a country already fighting one war in Vietnam was another war, but this time on drugs, to combat the number of Americans using illegal narcotics. But the war on drugs would not be confined to the United States. In order to stop the production and supply of illegal narcotics, America insisted upon help from the rest of the world.

The UN conventions on drugs amounted to a global ban on producing, transporting, selling, and possessing any drug classified as illegal. And it's set in stone, an attitude towards narcotics that lasted for decades.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Breaking the Taboo features interviews with several current or former presidents from around the world, such as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The film follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo over the United States led War on Drugs and expose what it calls the biggest failure of global policy in the last 40 years.

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64 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Glenn Luttrell

    This documentary not available in my Country (Australia), why is that? I can get violence, brutality, rape, murders but I can not look at something (Pot) that promotes peace and passiveness, no wonder the world is hell bent on war because it's not ready for a peaceful world

  2. G

    I always thought there had to be a victim for something to be considered a crime. Drug War is a bad idea. It created a staff for the drug economy by giving nonviolent drug offenders felonies and a criminal record keeping them out of jobs which they could actually make a living with. If one can't even work as a janitor what else will they do. Drug War = DUMB politicians

  3. Adam

    John Krisfalusci

    1. You're using ad hominem attacks which completely exposes you as the troll you're denying you are.

    2. Your grasp of addiction, it's causes, it's effects, and the way to treat them is severely limited and pathetic. Not to mention that you have, obviously, not read ANY actual studies about crime and crime detterants for drug user/abusers or the programs that actually help them.

    3. You have OBVIOUSLY not read anything about other countries successes with legalizing drugs, or even the studies in our own states that have taken that plunge with marijuana... just stop.

    We get it man, you're afraid of kids smoking pot near your house... it will be okay.

  4. Charlie Onn

    "THEY" apparently don't want us to see this

  5. Tran Sient

    I tried to watch this DOC and it says "PRIVATE". Why list this Doc on a FREE DOC site... if we cant watch it???

  6. Tran Sient

    I tried to watch this Doc... and it comes up PRIVATE. Whats up with that? Why post it on a FREE DOC site?

  7. Pacha

    The war on drugs is basically only a war on weed and all the related hemp and cannabis products which threaten the petro chemical and medicinal drug corporations. Time to wise up people.

  8. goodkat

    Backup, anyone?

  9. Daniela Perkins

    Can anyone point me in the right direction to get in touch with the producer of this documentary?

  10. manfruss

    Best comment! "If you can't control drug use in a maximum security prison, how are you going to control drug use in a free society?"

  11. nounoss karouzos

    god help the presidents sell drugs as masonic,illuminati...they doing wars to control drugs as and petrols...god help us

    1. Antonis Tsavidis

      you and the likes of you are the reason we have this problem. your idiocy is abyssal, if there is a god he should be helping you open your eyes. and since you did mention god what do you have to tell him about all these natural drugs? are you implying he made mistake?

  12. Papilo_Ulysses_Ulysses

    ugh simple minded "listen to me" John is at it again... Thankgoodness hes not in a position of authority. Anyways enough about him... its all about me! lol NOT!

    I think its great that those 2 countries are leading the way on this subject... I did watch it I promise I just cant remember the countries. Such a shame about the other countries suffering because the right attitude is severely lacking.

    I always say everyone has a crutch and no one has the right to say what each other can or cannot have, its like the ciggys and alcohol, I cant have either, I quit smoking 10 years ago (by choice), the drink makes me ugly lol and my liver really cant deal with it but I will have a social ONE. Ive only ever had the party stuff at parties but because I was educated, I stayed away from the nasty ones.

    I can say im addicted to donuts but and if Im not careful I might end up with donut butt lol. Brings to mind the word "MODERATION", as long as you dont kill anyone and/or hurt anyone steal from them etc etc then no one should be treated like they are less than worthy of a life or the comforts. If you know what I mean. I hate control freaks with a passion, who gave them authority over another grown human, very annoying!

    Anyhoos, lets hope sanity prevails and not the likes of Mr "listen to me" Krisfalusci .... Sorry John but you really need to take your head from your proverbial and open your eyes.

    Im sorry I hope the above is not whats called "trolling" ?

    1. bud_oracle

      When you consider that freedom of choice might be the mechanism of natural selection, the right to choose one's own diet if your behavior does not affect anyone else is no one's business. Why are we so eager to give up something that every other life form on the planet has, as humans did for most of their existence? Even snails have survived without rules on what they ingest. Are humans stupider than snails that they need the advice of corrupt politicians on their diets to stay alive? Give me a break, I am not that stupid! I gave up the real killers: tobacco (17 yrs) and Alcohol (10 yrs).
      Beyond my own research, I don't need advice on my diets. If you feel the government is right in their dangerous drugs schedule follow their guidelines, but don't enforce a diet via state violence, a monopoly for the worst drugs, at the expense of institutional corruption and gang violence.
      By the government's own figures these are the substances that cause death and crime when used as directed (T&A,) which need to be on the schedule, not marijuana, or any of the psychedelics. Even pure heroin, when used properly, will not kill half of its users like tobacco.

  13. fonbindelhofas

    were else will you abduct slaves from to build radios in factory, oh i mean jail? African ones are busy mining minerals for radio. smoking a join is bad for you, it may lead to being a slave (not that you arent one).

  14. oQ

    I vote yes for Decriminalizing hard drugs and taking pot off the drug list.
    I also vote yes for turning many of the prisons into free drug treatment centers offering free education in many fields and part-time paying jobs in nearby towns and cities. The prisons could also offer music concerts and art exhibits as many druggies are pretty good artist.

  15. Fabien L

    Good documentary. My stance is legalize all drugs but increase penalties for crimes. Get the 10% users that commit crimes in jail and let the 90% law abiding users do what they want. We already have the necessary laws to penalize crimes, there never was a need to have another layer of law specific to drugs.

    1. Kateye70


      Alcohol prohibition didn't work in the 1920's. All it did was create criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and encourage the formation of criminal gangs taking advantage of the opportunity. You'd think we'd have learned from it.

      Personally, I think the government should get out of the business of regulating people's recreational habits, and focus on providing social programs that go well beyond drug addiction in particular and address the problem of addiction in general.

      There are many forms of addictive behavior, and drug use is only one. Helping people learn how to recognize and control all types of addictive behavior is much better than creating a prison industry to warehouse users (I just won't delve into the racism and classism of the US prison system).

      Considering the tobacco industry is now jumping into the e-cig business, I'm wondering how long it will be before they join the NORML movement and add a second cash crop to their offerings.

    2. Giacomo della Svezia

      Just one problem with heavier penalties against crime: they have no effect on the crime rate. : (

    3. Fabien L

      Well, it reduces the quantity of recidivists for sure.
      Hard to commit the same crime again when you are in jail for life.

      You can't really apply that to the U.S.A. because the vast majority of "criminals" are in jail for drug possession and trafficking. We would need data on non drug related incarcerations to see if heavy penalties have an effect on crime rate.

  16. Jarkko Toivonen

    Afghanistan has wordls largest opium supply just wondering how much money and casualties this war taking opium from Afghanistan to US has caused.. Does someone really believe US is there cos of terrorists ,every 3rd world country which has oil or other resources seems to be enemy of USA cos of these so called terrorist..

  17. magarac

    Seems like a pretty radical idea. And still it makes a whole lot of sense.
    And while they are at it why not start working out the reason why so many people feel the need for doing drugs.

    1. Aaron K

      Well if they "feel the need" to keep doing it then they are addicted at some level. Someone addicted doesn't know they are addicted until well after it becomes a problem. It's not like rehab and a 12 step program is the cure for addiction.

  18. Glen Hale

    The whole thing makes as much sense as installing a flashing red light so a deaf person can see the phone is ringing.
    This doc will be update in 20 yrs only the story will be much worse.

  19. Aaron K

    Our leaders learned nothing from the prohibition. With the swipe of a pen (or some such act) they turned millions of good citizens into criminals. Just think of all the poor alcoholics at that time. Closest thing to a rehab was the sanitarium. Fast forward to now, with our hurting economy there is simply no reason to keep pouring funds we don't have into a war that can't be won. These so called laws meant to "protect us from ourselves" as John so eloquently put it do nothing but increase demand and crime. I'm not saying lets make all drugs legal and have a field day, I'm just saying before you declare war you better at least know if the war is winnable.

  20. David Ogg

    @John Krisfalusci I see your point we should be giving our children Ritalin
    and zolloft instead!

  21. xxDarkSidexx

    Just about to watch the doc, was reading some of the comments, I still smoke weed now and then but very rarely now i have a family, I also done cocaine and Pills, Ecstacy, E's whatever you wanna call em alot too when out clubbing in my earlier years and had some excellent nights out, totally mind blowing and just completely amazing at festivals, but hey, grew up I suppose and knew when to stop.


    Richard Branson wrote a great piece for CNN I think...a week or so ago on this. He is on "the committee." His article put everything into perspective IMO.

  23. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    Wonderful film! One of the better doc's here.

    I enjoyed hearing the strategy of reform through education, and acceptance. As well, that the war on drugs is silly to say the least, when compared with countries that have produced significant results utilizing de-criminalization tactics.

    Alot of the points made sound like modest steps in the right direction, towards a more utopian society.

    The more these things are made immoral and criminal, the more underground they go. The farther they go under ground, the more the people that traffic them, will need to protect their interests via violence.

    As well when users are damned and looked down upon for their addictions to "chemical pornography". The more potential there is for them to relapse. I say this because when you label someone with stigma, and conjecture, it leaves very little room for the addict to cultivate a new future.

    Drug addicts will never just "go away". We can't just go around killing them all off, with hefty jail sentences, or disheveled life opportunities.

    The people that do get turned into habitual users can be treated, many rehabilitated.

    Brain plasticity is an emerging ideal or rather fact.


  24. dmxi

    what they actually meant with 'war on drugs' was 'war on other parties selling drugs that are not under government control'...& it's known who is controlling the market as the iran-contra affair & now the increase of afghanistan opiate production indicates.

  25. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

    Lol republicans are funny. Ideas he says. More like regurgitated dead ends. Ya lets throw even more pot heads in jail! For longer! And build more jails! And higher more cops! Ya that will save the world! I bet he talks to jesus. And i bet jesus talks back lol.....

  26. John Krisfalusci

    I'm sorry but the real reason "The War on Drugs" hasn't worked is because there weren't harsher penalties and stricter rules regarding this. Since the laws were vague and sometimes just a petty offense, this gave drug criminals and gangs/cartels more freedom to stay in the gray areas of the justice system. That is what our teachers told us and statistics prove this. How? All the prisons in America are because of Marijuana and coccaine related offenses and same with Addiction clinics; they are filled with drug addicts to the ceiling. Our proposal to Congress next year in 2013 is to increase the penalties so they wouldn't even bother committing these kind of crime. And I am pretty confident it will work.
    And no, I'm not trolling, I'm just stating the truth and sometimes truth can hurt but it's reality. Thank you! ^_^

    1. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Your ignorance has been noted and it is not appreciated. They should put things like you in a cage so the rest of us can enjoy life. Thank you! -_O

    2. John Krisfalusci

      Nope, I have plenty ideas of what I'm talking about, and guess what? We are the reason Oregon didn't pass regarding the silly Marijuana laws and to 'enjoy life' being stoned and lazy is not something the rest of us want to see or live with. Hard workers and smart people like us don't want to see more druggies than we already have in America. Have a nice life! ^^

    3. Julius

      You're an i*iot to suggest stiffer laws would eradicate drug deals or drug users. When you make something such as drugs illegal, you put peoples lives at risk in so many ways.. i won't go into details. I suggest that it's a lot better for the authorities to stop the war on drugs but focuse on regulating it's availabilty. This in turn would help reduce crime greatly, and create a more healthy environment for those trying to come off drugs to those unfortunately addicted for a long time.

    4. John Krisfalusci

      If you want me to believe that legalizing drugs 'reduces crime greatly', you seriously need to go back to school and get educated. Two wrongs DO NOT make a right and we will have more drug addicts and chaos than we already have. Did you know now we have Doctors giving our innocent children pot? I mean seriously, what's next? giving cocaine for restless leg syndrome? I mean you're out of your mind. Nothing will create a healthy environment if you take these laws away.
      We need to teach these people and our future generations that to Increase stiffer laws will deter them and make them think twice before taking something dangerous.

    5. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      I feel sorry for everyone who has to put up with you. What will you do to your child when he/she starts smoking pot? Chalk it up as a loss? Well honey we can always make another. He/She smoked the evil weed and needs to be locked away, because it gave him/her crazy ideas on how to get along with their fellow man. You are in the wrong time. Forward thinking not backward.

    6. Bogdan Gherghel

      meanwhile, in Europe everything worked out pretty well for every country that legalized marihuana. in my country, on the other hand, pot is illegal and the government will have to face, rather sooner than later, the consequences of fake, chinese, cheap, hard, chemical drugs sold legally on the internet or in "spice" shops.

    7. Julius

      In my first respond to your comment I used the word i^^^^ in refering to you,
      and come across as an uneducated individual, lacking the ability to be rational in your thoughts. My point was to make drugs legal but with laws to help regulate the legalisation of it. I can't remember giving the impression of a do whatever you like kind of society. Legalise drugs, but create laws that would help to regulate it. i.e. Portugal and Holland.

    8. Nwttp

      Firstly you are no one and should decide for no one what they should or should not do, actually that is firstly and lastly. You have no argument and also no logic.

    9. TheSatyaYuga

      The authority of the law was the last thing on my mind when experimenting for the first time and I Imagine it's the last on the minds of most people who choose to take substances recreationally. Stiffer laws will really only deter those with a naive outlook such as yourself. Those who see the world in black and white failing to notice the shades of grey in between.

    10. Fabien L

      I have no problem with people that can control themselves on any kind of drug but there is a percentage that will go insane on them.

      I saw a video of a naked guy walking on the street screaming he was Jesus while bashing his chest and another guy chasing people like a madman to beat them bashing at cars and trying to trip a guy off his motorcycle.

      These kind of crazy behaviors deserve jail time or a long rest in a mental institution even if not drug related. We already have the laws to handle these behaviors, no need to bother with drug laws. You steal, hurt or kill, go to jail, you have 3 kg of coke on you but don't bother anyone, who cares...

    11. I AM POP SLAG.

      If you want me to believe that legalizing drugs 'reduces crime greatly',
      Its not about believing my dear johnny boy its about facts and data.
      the fact being ie the truth is that it does - go and look up portugals crime stats.

    12. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      You mean you want people to live the way you want them too? You are a joke. People like you are what is wrong with this world. Its ok you can live in your fantasy land all you want, but yours is a dieing race. Good luck to your boring life and small minded ideas that will make you and everyone around you bitter and disliked! Do you really think that Oregon will keep pot illegal? HAha, good luck with all that. Move to indiana with me, you will like it here. Lets switch actually. Your neighbors and my neighbors will thank us. Oh wait, my neighbors probably won't like you either....

    13. John Krisfalusci

      Listen to me, laws are in place so that when people cannot think 'reasonably' for themselves this will steer them in the right direction and live the way they are supposed to live. This is so that they don't hurt themselves or even worse other innocent people. Drug addicts cannot think 'reasonably' for themselves so this is why it's needed. This has nothing to do with living a fun life or a boring life... its about the safety and well being of everyone in society.
      And you know what? it doesn't matter if it's just Oregon that will keep pot illegal. Under the Federal Law, it is and will always be considered illegal across America because it's dangerous. It has been illegal for almost 100 years for a REASON. Now Enough... it's pointless to argue with a druggie.

    14. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      Drugs are illegal for rascist reasons. Know your history before you start spouting off filth on the internet if you don't want someone who is much smarter and more knowledgeable on the subject then you putting you in your place. Laws are around to control the flow of money you dolt. Not to make you safe. You think you can stop people from using drugs? You think alcohol is safer then pot? You think the government made drugs illegal to protect you? Leave your church group and go out and experience the world. You may change your mind on what reality is you poor misguided soul.

    15. Vlatko

      @John Krisfalusci,

      On the contrary, it is pointless to argue with you since:

      1. You're 13 years old.

      2. You display staggering lack of basic everyday knowledge, i.e. microbes. (Go to "Seven Wonders of the Microbe World")

      3. You maintain "double identity." Quote: "... i entered the us navy as a nuclear reactor operator electronics technician when i was 18.... (Go to "A Brilliant Madness: John Nash")

      4. You troll everywhere on the web. (Check Discuss history).

      And don't call people druggies. Strike one.

    16. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      Oh am i getting trolled? Arg got me. He could have at least had the decency to make his avatar a troll face...

    17. Kateye70

      You didn't tell him to go watch Reefer Madness...wait, he'd actually believe it! NVM.

    18. Vlatko


      LOL... Reefer Madness. He'd believe it for sure.

    19. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      And someone like you telling me how to live makes me laugh. I don't come around telling you what to do. If i'm not hurting you, then whats the problem? When's the last time you saw someone high hurt anybody? Oh never? Huh.... Maybe the problem is with how we are raised to treat people. How some people have everything and a lot of people have nothing. Oh and do you like music? Art? Books? Movies? Throw all that away dude. The people you love who provided you with your entertainment were on drugs when they made all that.

    20. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

      And i'm not a druggie. I've done drugs yes, but in moderation at appropriate times with good people. I work a job where i get random drug tests, so if i was doing drugs on the regular i would not have my job. You can be responsible and still enjoy the pleasures of life. You call it evil temptation, and i call it freeing my mind.

    21. Kateye70

      You and the majority of people who use various recreational, mood-altering substances like alcohol or tobacco.

      Oh, wait. Those are legal...wonder why? Couldn't have anything to do with huge corporate profits, could it?

      I find it fascinating that the tobacco companies, who for years denied that nicotine was either a drug or addictive, are now developing and marketing their own e-cigarettes.

      I've been trying to get friends and family members to stop smoking cigarettes for years because of the carcinogenic effects of the delivery system, not to mention the general nastiness that non-smokers like myself have to put up with (almost lost connection with one of my sisters over it, too).

      For that reason, I've done some research on e-cigarettes after my nephew showed me his. I guess cigarettes really are a drug-delivery system after all, huh?

      Now you can just buy the drug in liquid form and use the e-cigarette instead. (Health risks are still under study, but since there's no burning leaves to inhale, at least some of the benefits are clear.)

      Trivia: In "Murder in Three Acts," Agatha Christie had several of her victims killed by brushing with toothpaste that had been injected with liquid nicotine. Don't remember if all the victims were intended or whether one or two were accidental collateral damage.

    22. dmxi

      you're in dire need of attention but should be put under observation for your own good.

    23. Bogdan Gherghel

      law, common sense, morality and christian dogma are not congruent.

    24. Achems_Razor

      @John Krisfalusci:

      Can't believe you have the nerve to still troll on TDF, and am going by "strike one" as Vlatko says.

      @2 more strikes and you are off TDF forever!

    25. PaulGloor

      The law and punishment for producers are pretty strict... The US military coming down on you is pretty severe. Whats at the front of this debate is the fact that users are punished. They fear to seek treatment, when they get caught they go to jail and go cold turkey, maybe they get counselling. When they get out they're blacklisted from everything that can make a difference in their lives.
      What legalizing does is open the door for those that want out to get out, if they still need a fix now and then they can get a safer drug like marijuana from local, licensed suppliers and growers, (safer as in better than cigarettes).
      The war on drugs tried to eliminate the customers through force, this new approach eliminates customers through choice. What you have to consider is that dealers and producers will still be under the gun even with legalization, the war marches forward, but at least it would be targeting the right people.

    26. I AM POP SLAG.

      John, others have called you out on your bias and your idiocy in detail- i wont- ill just call you a monumentally stupid and authoritarian tw@t.

    27. Pysmythe

      You should note not only its ignorance, but its dishonesty, as well. I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but this thing has been known to masquerade its age, to pretend it is a child, in previous posts for its own little juvenile purposes, so that some of us have had to decide it might therefore be right to treat it accordingly: As the small, uninformed, and spiteful little liar that it is, not to be trusted in anything it says any farther than you could throw it. I think what it ultimately amounts to is simply that it's pissed off, because it knows that it's outnumbered on this issue (its pet issue, too, btw), and that it's not going to be able to get the country it wants to impose on everyone else... And this is why it is so strident and angry.

    28. I AM POP SLAG.

      I grew it in a laboratory from purest refined authoritarian hate and two quarts of i*iot bile refining its behaviour on fox news until uit knee jerked just so.
      unfortunately it escaped...

    29. Bogdan Gherghel

      hey, how about death penalty for a joint, like in Thailand?

    30. Steve Williams

      ah maybe you first want to check the countries that ALREADY have harsher penalties and see how well its worked for them and while your at it compare it with Portugal that has had a 50% decrease in the use of ALL drugs since they implemented decriminalisation.

  27. IndustryOfBlame

    This documentary really puts it all onto the table, and is well worth the watch if you haven't personally taken a stand on this issue and would like to know the facts.

    There's hardly a word in this doc about the whole "pharmacological" debate concerning the harms or benefits of drug use, and that's a good thing. There's no Californian quack doctor telling you your cancer will be cured if you smoke 10 joints a day, nor some weirdo psychiatrist talking about how marijuana must be damaging to brain cells since studies show Rhesis monkeys asphyxiated by smoke through a gas mask clearly develop health problems. Instead, you get Morgan Freeman, Paulo Coelho and Bill Clinton among others summarising one of the worst and most unnecessary human tragedies in modern times.

    I give my kudos to the filmmakers, and my hopes that this enormous farce will come to an end some day soon.

  28. wald0

    History repeats itself, qauling down into the future
    When its one second to twelve the hands touch and forrow deeper
    History repeats itself, i didn't know, I wouldn't listen
    I couldn't see the books were on the shelf
    For my concern, I never missed them...

    I have worked as a counselor for the last ten years and was a opiate addict myself for almost twenty years, I think that gives me a high definition perspective on this subject- so to speak. What we are doing, locking up addicts for simple use, is not only morally and ethically wrong it is destroying our country one family, one child, one community at a time. Don't get me wrong, if someone commits a violent crime then they should be prosecuted and removed from society until they can be determined to no longer pose a threat, how ever long that may take. If someone is determined to be placing others at risk with their use, neglecting a child or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, they should also be held responsible- the punishment should fit the individual crime however, no madatory three strike bs. But we must stop locking up ppl for simple use, they need help not punishment. The last thing we should do is cut these ppl off from assistance concerning education, housing, employment, etc. It is generally lack of these very things that pushed the person into the drug world in the first place. When we do this we set up a situation that almost requires the person to offend again, thus the revolving door prison system we currently have is perpetuated.
    That said, I have seen this all before somewhere- its like watching a re-run. History repeats itself in never ending cycles. We seem to swing back and forth on some cosmic pendulum, counting out the seconds of our existence punctuated with the occasional random, tragedy that seems to stop everything dead still, if for only seconds, as we catch our breath in collective awe at what it has all become. Then inertia wins again, as it always does, and woooosh- we swing back the other way almost as if we are fleeing from what we were, as if we are forgetting the nature of our prison which will inevitably swing us right back into the center of it all again. I am glad that at the present the pendulum seems to have us in a place of awakening, but i am waiting for that random, seemingly inevitable tragedy that will stop it all and swing us back the other way and hoping, hoping, hoping......