Breaking the Taboo

This award-winning documentary “Breaking the Taboo”was about the failed war on drugs: narrated by Morgan Freeman and featuring interviews with Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and presidents from Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland, and Colombia. The film was viewed by over a million people in its online premiere, broadcast on TV around the world, and became one of the most watched documentaries on iTunes and Netflix. “Breaking the Taboo” explores the conclusion reached by the Global Commission on Drug Policy in 2011 that drug liberalization is the best approach in dealing with drug policy. It was directed by Cosmo Feilding Mellen and Fernando Grostein Andrade, and produced by Sam Branson’s Sundog Pictures (UK) and Brazilian Spray Filmes.

In the UK it was launched on the 6th of December 2012 as part of the new campaign, Breaking the Taboo, that the Beckley Foundation has developed in association with the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Virgin Unite, Avaaz and Sundog Pictures. The screening was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, between the Beckley Foundation’s Director Amanda Feilding, Virgin boss Richard Branson, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Tom Lloyd and Danny Kushlick (all signatories of the Beckley Foundation Public Letter).


In 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.

"I am hoping in the same way that Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth opened people's eyes to global warming issues … this film will open people's eyes on the war on drugs and the failed war on drugs and make it easier for people who want to be brave and do something about it."
Richard Branson

Watch “Breaking the Taboo” on youtubeitunes and netflix

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