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Friday, October 29, 2004

More on the War on Drugs

User anonymous in comments thinks that loosening drug laws to help with the meth epidemic won't work. I have to disagree. Anonymous says that the goal is no illicit drug use. That will simply never happen, period. It just won't. The question is how we can minimize the negative effects of drug use. The War on Drugs doesn't do this at all. Alcohol kills far, far more people a year than marijuana, but alcohol is socially acceptable while marijuana is an "illicit" drug. Why is that? What sense does that make?

Legalized marijuana would be much cheaper than it is now, so people who are looking for a "cheaper fix" than marijuana would be less likely to turn to meth. Legalizing drugs like marijuana would also probably make it less likely that people would use it, since the aura of "forbidden drug" would be erased. I'm not even sure I would be opposed to legalizing cocaine use; I don't think there would be any more cokeheads than there are now, and besides, if a former cocaine user can be president, how bad can it be?

Drugs certainly do destroy lives, and the biggest destroyer of lives at this point in time is alcohol. It is truly tragic that people have their lives and the lives of others harmed by any drug, but criminalization does not work to prevent the harm. It's a silly response by politicians who need to look like they are doing "something" in response to the problem, much in the same way as mandatory sentencing and some of the pointless security implemented after 9/11. We need intelligent answers to these problems, and continuing the current drug war is not intelligent.


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