Day By Day

Monday, September 14, 2009

War on drugs = fail

I've long been a critic of the war on drugs. It looks to me like a civil war against your neighbors and their children and possibly even your own children. The police have become increasingly militarized, confiscatory laws provide law enforcement with profit incentives for arrest and convictions, the collateral damage seems intolerably high and in essence all we've accomplished is to provide a government price support mechanism. I found this article in New Scientist interesting despite the lack of depth.

SO FAR this year, about 4000 people have died in Mexico's drugs war - a horrifying toll. If only a good fairy could wave a magic wand and make all illegal drugs disappear, the world would be a better place.
Dream on. Recreational drug use is as old as humanity, and has not been stopped by the most draconian laws. Given that drugs are here to stay, how do we limit the harm they do?
The evidence suggests most of the problems stem not from drugs themselves, but from the fact that they are illegal. The obvious answer, then, is to make them legal.
The argument most often deployed in support of the status quo is that keeping drugs illegal curbs drug use among the law-abiding majority, thereby reducing harm overall. But a closer look reveals that this really doesn't stand up. In the UK, as in many countries, the real clampdown on drugs started in the late 1960s, yet government statistics show that the number of heroin or cocaine addicts seen by the health service has grown ever since - from around 1000 people per year then, to 100,000 today. It is a pattern that has been repeated the world over.
You can read the whole thing here:

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