The war on drugs kills about 70,000 people a year in Mexico alone.
Hint: the CEOs of beer companies do not order hits on each other, cause the alcohol trade is legal. There are no beer gangs fighting for control over a corner in your neighbourhood. Your daughter won’t be gunned down because she got in the way of two gangs slugging it out to gain a slightly bigger share of the whiskey market.
Advantages of legalizing drugs and – in some cases- giving top quality drugs for free to addicts.
- Drug dealers HATE this. You disrupt their market. You nuke their activities. You destroy their business
- If you create centers where heroin addicts can take the pharmaceutically top quality form of the drug, under supervision of a nurse, overdoses go down, HIV infections go down, freed from the stress of having to score their daily hits these people bond with their friends and family again, stop prostituting themselves, stop stealing and stop selling drugs themselves to get the money to continue their addiction. Eventually most of them quit using. Because ‘the opposite of addiction is connection’, Johann Hari. There will be no areas littered with needles. They have been doing this in Switzerland for some time now and after two referenda 70 percent of the Swiss people still think it’s a good idea, cause they see all the positive effects.
- If you treat drug addiction as a disease, if you treat a drug addict as someone who needs support, they will be far more likely to accept help, then when you just tell them they are criminal, irresponsible and that you are going to punish them and cut off your connection to them if they don’t stop. That’s just giving them more of the reasons why they started using in the first place.
- You can tax the drugs and spend the tax money on programmes and measures to prevent addiction. This will always involve programmes to make sure people build more and better connections, because that is the real antidote to addiction. Any addiction, not just addiction to certain chemicals.
- There will be radically less violence. Drug cartels won’t accumulate money to influence politicians with.
- Drug users will have far more opportunities to stay healthy. If somebody takes clean heroin for years nothing really bad will happen to their health. Its the pollutants that drug dealers use to cut up the drugs that are doing the damage.
- Yes, more people will use drugs. Some people who would never do any drug that is illegal at the moment would do it, cause they simply respect the law. If you legalize or at least decriminalize drugs some of these people will use. Maybe some of them will even become addicts if they have been hurt enough to have the potential to become addicts. You don’t become an addict if you haven’t been traumatized, if you are not hurting inside. For example, I have enough money to be drunk every day of my life. I would not be breaking any laws. I could easily do it. So can most people I know. Yet they don’t. Because I have connections and work that are meaningful to me. Ok, alcohol is not my favorite drug, but still. I know a lot of people who love alcoholic drinks and they are not addicts, even though they could easily afford being addicted to alcohol.
- Addicts are stressed. By hunting them down as criminals you just make sure they will crave their drugs more.
- It’s cheaper. It’s just cheaper to give heroin addicts free heroin then to prosecute them, lock them up and punish them. For exact figures see the book ‘Chasing the scream’, by Johann Hari.
Am not saying we should give free drugs to all addicts, am mainly talking about heroin. I think some drugs should be treated as alcohol is today, like marihuana for example, some drugs would only be available if your doctor prescribes them to you and some drugs you would only be able to get if you use them in a center specifically designed to use this drug.
Is it the perfect solution? No, it’s not.
Is it better than what we have now? Yes. Yes. Yes. Locking up people who use drugs does not work. Banning drugs has all kinds of horrible side-effects. It creates ever escalating violence, creates powerful criminals, ensures that people use polluted drugs which makes them so dangerous, and -ironically- makes drug users use harder drugs than they normally would (there is a reason for that too, but that’s not for this blog post).
If you want to understand why tolerating drug use is infinitely better than the war on drugs, read ‘Chasing the scream’, by Johann Hari.
If your objective is to lessen the amount of suffering in this world, than legalizing or decriminalizing drugs is a better way than to punish drug users.