Those who debate the problems that surround the drugs business in all its ramifications should never forget the freedom of the individual. This is a concept that is constantly taken for granted in the West and then conveniently forgotten. In East Harlem, for example, Puerto Rican crack dealers are high spenders, including what they pay for their own drugs, and they regard the money they earn from the trade as “something only I can control. No one could tell me what to do with it.” 1 Such an attitude among a group generally seen as impoverished tells us a great deal about the need for human dignity. The current attitude toward the expanding drugs trade is to treat it as an illicit aberration that can be circumscribed and then policed. This approach makes no sense in relation to what has become one of the world's major activities: “The continuing growth and mutation of the global drug economy, for example, despite extensive international policing, is a good example of the adaptability of parallel and grey trade.” 2 As the author of this statement also claims: “If history tells us anything, it is to be skeptical of the effectiveness of global policing.” Figures for 1997 (assembled by the UNDCP) suggest that 17 billion is spent on food for domestic pets in Europe and the United States, 50 billion on cigarette consumption in Europe, 105 billion on alcohol consumption in Europe, 400 billion on drugs, 780 billion on military expenditure, and 1,000 billion on advertising.