Thursday, July 28, 2005

The War on Drugs

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I wrote the following post for The11thHour:

Disclaimer: Dave left me, JeromeProphet, with the keys to his blog, so don't blame him if I crank the tunes a little high.

Speaking of high, I thought what better way to celebrate Dave's vacation, and my turn on his blog than drugs?

Disclaimer: I am not presently using any illegal drugs, nor do I advocate the use of illegal drugs. Children, please find other ways to amuse yourselves. Drugs are not the answer.

Having said that, I find myself having to ask if whether our society's attempt at eliminating drug use has created more harm than good. There doesn't appear to be any great reduction in overall drug use, although the type of drugs being used may have changed over the years.

In the meantime whole nations live under the constant threat of gang warfare due to the illegal trade in drugs. And in the United States a relatively large percentage of the population is imprisoned due to the illegal status of drugs. This doesn't even mention the even larger numbers of peoples out on bond, facing trial, on probation, or having to identify themselves on job applications as having been convicted of a crime due to the illegality of drugs.

Illegal drug use is a huge mess for society, and society can't afford to ignore it, but that doesn't imply society can solve the problem by continuing on the path it has employed for nearly one hundred years.

Most politicians eyes glaze over when asked, rarely, if they would favor decriminalizing drug use. They realize there simply isn't overwhelming support for changing approaches to this vexing social problem.

Yet, broad support doesn't imply that society is correctly addressing the problem.

Some argue in favor of decriminalizing drug use, and instead propose to approach the use of drugs as a medical problem. They argue that some European nations have discovered that the "medical" approach works better than the "criminal justice" approach. That not only does the medical approach seem to reduce rates of drug use, but it is less costly for the implementation of such a program. That instead of turning drug users into criminals, and spending huge amounts of money to imprison them we could instead be spending the money on anti-drug programs, and drug rehab programs.

Perhaps on a limited basis it might be worth a try?

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