We have already answered the question “Should addicts go to jail?” on our blog. And our answer remains the same. Addiction is a chronic disease – and it should be treated as such. Professional substance abuse treatment and treatment, complemented by efforts such as vocational training and prevention programs, is by far the best course of action for non-violent people with substance use disorders. While law enforcement strategies are important in curbing drug trafficking and stopping illicit drug production, those struggling with addiction need professional treatment to reduce addiction. The most obvious case is the regulation of adolescents` and young adults` access to drugs. Whatever the regime, it is hard to imagine that the drugs that are now banned would be more readily available than alcohol and tobacco today. Would there be a black market for drugs for youth, or would the regulatory system be as permeable as the current one for alcohol and tobacco? A “yes” answer to both questions would reduce the appeal of legalization. The best evidence of the failure of prohibition is the government`s current war on drugs. Instead of implementing a strategy of prevention, research, education and social programs aimed at solving problems such as persistent poverty, long-term unemployment and the deteriorating living conditions in our inner cities, this war has used a law enforcement strategy.
As this military approach continues to devour billions of taxpayers` money and land tens of thousands of people in prison, illicit drug trafficking thrives, violence escalates, and drug abuse continues to weaken lives. Added to this is the largely uncontrolled spread of the AIDS virus among drug addicts, their sexual partners and offspring. A “drug-free America” is not a realistic goal, and by criminally banning psychoactive drugs, the government has ceded all control over potentially dangerous substances to criminals. Instead of trying to eradicate all drug use, our government should focus on reducing drug abuse and the prohibition of crime. This requires a fundamental change in public policy: lifting the prohibition on criminal law and creating a system of reasonable regulation. A number of U.S. states have legalized recreational cannabis. Image: Strela Studio/Shutterstock .com The abolition of prohibition is not a panacea. It alone will not be enough to end drug abuse or eliminate violence. Nor will it lead to a social and economic renewal of our city centres. However, ending prohibition would bring a very important benefit: it would break the link between drugs and crime that destroys so many lives and communities today. In the long run, the repeal of prohibition could promote the diversion of public resources to social development, legitimate economic opportunities and effective treatment, thereby improving the safety, health and well-being of society as a whole.
After decades of criminal prohibition and intensive law enforcement efforts to rid the country of illegal drugs, violent traffickers still endanger life in our cities, a steady stream of drug-related offenders continues to flow into our prisons and prisons, and tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana still cross our borders unchecked. Some people who hear the words “legalization of drugs” imagine dealers on street corners distributing cocaine to everyone, even children. But that`s what exists today under prohibition. Think of legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco: their potency, time and place of sale and age limits are set by law. Warnings are also required on medications, some of which are only available by prescription. Recreational marijuana use is now legal for adults in 15 states and the District of Columbia, including five that legalized the drug in the November 2020 election. States where recreational marijuana is legal include: Some people believe that decriminalizing drugs will worsen the drug epidemic in the United States. Without tough penalties as a result, won`t more people take drugs? And in return, wouldn`t more people become addicted to drugs? During the Civil War, morphine (an opium derivative and cousin of heroin) proved to have analgesic properties and quickly became the main ingredient in several patented medicines. In the late 19th century, marijuana and cocaine were used for a variety of medical purposes – marijuana to treat migraines, rheumatism and insomnia, and cocaine to treat sinusitis, hay fever and chronic fatigue. All of these drugs were also used recreationally, and cocaine in particular was a common ingredient in wines and sodas, including the popular Coca Cola.
Proponents of drug legalization believe that the cheap and widespread supply of high-quality drugs will eliminate the illicit drug market, regulate quality and price, and reduce enforcement costs, including arrest and incarceration. They predict that governments will spend less money on enforcement, benefit from a new source of tax revenue, and that drug-related crime will decline as drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin become widely available, more or less like alcohol and tobacco. Not surprisingly, the broader international implications of drug legalization have also gone largely unnoticed. Here, too, there are still long questions that need to be answered. Given the long-standing situation in the United States. How would a decision to legalize drugs as the main sponsor of international drug control measures affect other countries? What will happen to the overall regime of multilateral conventions and bilateral agreements? Will each nation have to comply with a new set of rules? If not, what would happen? Would more permissive countries suddenly be flooded with drugs and addicts, or would drug traffickers focus on countries where stricter restrictions have kept profits higher? This is not an abstract issue. The Netherlands` liberal drug policy has attracted an influx of “drug tourists” from neighboring countries, as has the now-abandoned city of Zurich after the now-abandoned experiment that allowed an open drug market in the so-called “needle park.” And while it is conceivable that rich countries can mitigate the worst consequences of drug legalization through extensive public drug prevention and treatment programs, what about the poorest countries? It turns out that legalizing drugs is not a public policy option that lends itself to simplistic or superficial debate. It requires the dissection and revision of an order that has been conspicuously absent, despite the constant attention it receives.
Apart from the discussion of some very broadly defined proposals, there has been no detailed assessment of the operational importance of legalisation. There is not even a lexicon of universally accepted terms to allow for intellectually rigorous exchange. As a result, legalization means different things to different people. For example, some use legalization interchangeably with “decriminalization,” which usually refers to the elimination of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. Others equate, at least implicitly, legalization with complete deregulation, without acknowledging the extent to which currently legally available drugs are subject to strict controls. None of the illicit drugs are biologically less attractive than alcohol or tobacco. The reason so many Americans use these two drugs is that they are legal for adults and widely used and supported by established industries. The legalization of marijuana ensures that the percentage of Americans who use this drug increases in terms of these two legal drugs. Even worse, it`s important to note that more than 58% of Americans who suffer from a substance use disorder for drugs other than alcohol have a marijuana use disorder.
Caught in the crossfire. Just as alcohol prohibition fueled violent gangsterism in the 1920s, today`s drug prohibition has spawned a culture of drive-by shootings and other gun crimes. And just as most of the violence of the 1920s was not committed by drunk people, most drug-related violence today is not committed by people who use drugs. Murders, then as now, are based on rivalries: Al Capone ordered the execution of rival smugglers, and drug traffickers are now killing their rivals. A 1989 government study of 193 “cocaine-related” murders in New York found that 87 percent resulted from rivalries and disagreements related to doing business in an illegal market.