Drug Legalisation: A Crack-ing Idea

Olly Neville March 12, 2013 2

 

Legalising drugs is common sense. As I have shown before legalising drugs does not increase usage, it makes them less harmful, they are already less harmful than legal drugs and legality hinders criminals and helps legitimate business (For more info including studies and actual evidence rather than lazy conjecture that the anti drugs brigade spout out have a look at the ‘facts on drugs’ )

For some with their head rammed in the sand all the facts in the world won’t make a difference, they see drugs as bad and damaging and so wish to have them banned. If we are generous it is because they want to protect people, if we aren’t it is because they think people are too stupid to make their own decisions but it fundamentally comes down to the same point, the anti drug brigade believe they know better than others, and so have to control what others can or can’t do with their bodies.

drugs

Naturally they don’t present their arguments in this way, they desperately look for other claims to make to ban drugs, all of which are easily defeat able and some of which I will go through now.

1)  Legalising drugs does not increase usage as many studies and real world examples  have shown. The reason for this is pretty obvious, drugs are easily accessible, if you want to take drugs you can get them. Those that want to put things in their bodies already do, those that don’t already don’t, legalising drugs doesn’t change this. In fact legalising drugs lowers drug abuse as drugs lose any attraction from being illegal. I know from personal experience with myself and friends that consumption of the legal drug alcohol dropped  substantially when we turned 18 and it became legal. It no longer had that ‘cool’ factor of being illegal.

2)  At the moment drugs are controlled by organised crime, with drug profits being used to fund all manner of illegal activities include in some cases terrorism. Legalisation would strip criminals of a major source of revenue, and would also be a big source of tax and jobs in the real economy. Some people trip on the nirvana fallacy here, making the perfect the enemy of the good and argue that as criminals will still exist this is no reason to legalise drugs. While there still exist those criminals that sell DVDs illegally, illegal cigarettes and alcohol there numbers are tiny compared to the DVDs, alcohol and cigarettes sold by legal vendors. If we look at prohibition: In America alcohol usage and alcohol related crime rocketed during the period all of it being sold by criminals. If we compare that to today the amount of alcohol sold by the mob is significantly less. Legalising drugs will not remove criminals entirely but it will crush a huge chunk of criminality. When drugs are legal very few people will trust criminals who mix their drugs with all sorts when they can buy much safer drugs legally.

capone

Alcohol usage rocketed during the prohibition era, creating the ideal situation for notorious criminals like mobster Al Capone (pictured).

3) This brings me on to my next point, legalising makes people safer. As we have seen already people take drugs whether they are legal or not. When they are illegal there is no safety net, drug dealers can and do mix their drugs with all sorts of other materials. Legalising drugs means that shops would have to comply with all the same rules that cigarette and alcohol manufactures do, which would mean consumers would know what is in the drugs and would be taking purer, safer drugs as opposed to those potentially mixed with rat poison. This is another reason why legalisation would hurt criminals, they would have no way of proving their drugs were safe, legal vendors would.

4) Some argue it is not legitimate to compare the war on drugs with alcohol prohibition. Herion or Crack are potentially lethal drugs, why compare them to alcohol. Well actually alcohol is lethal too, and what’s more Alcohol is more dangerous than heroin, crack or ecstasy according to Professor David Nutt, a leading drug expert who was brought in by the Government to advise on drugs policy  Alcohol is a drug, and it is more dangerous than most of the illegal ones we find on our streets. Just like prohibition America, illegal drugs are controlled by criminals and are more dangerous, and more used than they would be if it was legal. Prohibition seems the perfect comparison.

Fundamentally however, despite the failure of their arguments drug prohibitionists wont be swayed because this isn’t why they oppose drugs. They know they know better than others, so they should be in charge, isn’t it obvious?
Drugs affect no one but the user, the only person a drug harms is the person who takes it. If that person goes on to hurt others they weren’t hurt by the drug, they were hurt by the person. Just like if I drunkenly drive and run you over that was my fault, not the alcohols, or if I run into you while on a caffeine buzz. Drugs don’t hurt other people, people hurt other people. Just like those that drink and drive aren’t reason for why we should ban alcohol: the minority that may hurt people while on drugs are no reason to ban drugs.

What I choose to put in my body, be it food, liquid, powder or pill, is no ones business but my own. If I want to eat a Big Mac, tattoo my face or take some acid then you have no right to tell me I cannot. Those that want to control drugs can have no arguments against those who want to control what food we can eat, or indeed what activities we can do or where we can go. As soon as you or the Government decides it knows better about safety than individuals who are merely doing things to themselves we get an ‘I-robot’ situation where you can justify keeping people under house arrest for their own good.

No one knows my priorities, my values, my cost benefit analyses as well as myself. If I take drugs it is not because I am stupid it is because I have calculated the cost is less than the benefit. While you may disagree that doesn’t mean you are right, just that your values are different to mine. For me my values are right, for you, yours are. You have no more right to impose your value that leads to no drugs on me than I am to force mine that takes drugs upon you. It is my body, it is my life, I can do what I want with it.

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  • ButcombeMan

    Professor Nutt does not seem to agree with you:

    Addiction is driven by a complex set of internal and external factors. The external factors are well understood: the more access to the desired drug or behaviour e.g. gambling, the more addiction there is.

    (Professor David Nutt-Blogging on 28th February 2011)

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