Can you get any tougher?

All we need to win the war on drugs, we hear repeatedly, is to "get tough." I'm not sure what "tough" is, but if execution ain't it, I don't know what qualifies.

The September 1, 1995, San Francisco Examiner reported:

Authorities in China's booming southern Guangdong province have executed 14 people for drug trafficking and robbery in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, the Yangcheng Evening News said.

The executions Thursday were the latest in a province-wide crackdown that officials say has netted 6,000 people for drugs offenses since March.

Now if getting tough works so well, why is one Chinese province still arresting nearly 1,000 people per month on drug charges? This recalls China's penalty against opium smuggling in the 1800s: beheading for the smuggler and enslavement for his family.

Also notice the reference to the province's "booming" economy. If drugs are such a drag on the economy as prohibitionists claim, then why is a province with such a drug problem doing so much better than the rest of China?