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Legalization Is A Terrible Idea

By Mr. J, May 29, 2006 | Updated: May 29, 2006 | | |
Rating:
5/5,
  1. Mr. J
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Legalization is a terrible idea
    By Daniel K. Duncan and Edward F. Tasch​


    05/29/2006


    H.L. Mencken once said: "For every problem there is one solution: simple, neat and wrong." In our opinion, this is exactly the case when it comes to the suggestion of legalizing drugs as a response to the failed war on drugs. In fact, we find it absurd, a simplistic answer to a complicated problem.

    So, the war on drugs is not working. Agreed. But the question to ask is, "Why?" Is it not working because using drugs is really a fine idea, and we've been unjust and unreasonable in not letting everyone do whatever they want to do? Or is it not working because the way we've gone about waging this war set us up for failure?

    Without a doubt, we think it's the latter.

    Almost all the effort in the war in drugs has been aimed at punishing traffickers and users and reducing the supply. Yet even many of those directly involved in these efforts have said that this is the wrong way to go about the task -- and they've been saying it for years.

    The premise underlying these approaches is the idea that supply drives demand: The more drugs there are, the more people use them. It is a fatally flawed assumption. The truth is just the opposite: Demand drives supply, and until we accept the significance of this fundamental failure of understanding, the strategies we come up with will continue to fail. In other words, the failure of the war on drugs is no justification for legalizing these harmful stubstances.

    Another idea behind legalization is that because people continue to use drugs regardless of the laws prohibiting their use, we might as well just repeal the laws. Let's apply that idea to other prohibitions:

    People still steal, so let's legalize stealing. People still speed, so let's remove all the speed limits. People still drink and drive, so let's legalize drinking and driving. Date-rape continues; let's legalize date-rape. The point? Shifting from one flawed premise to another solves nothing.

    Incredibly, advocates of legalizing drugs often point to alcohol as an example of a successfully legalized drug. This is a terribly weak argument. Do they really not understand that -- in terms of lives disrupted, ruined and ended before their time -- the legal drug alcohol is by far a bigger problem than any other drug?

    Some say that by legalizing drugs, the gangs that subsist on the revenue from trafficking will cease to be a problem. Nonsense. Kids don't join gangs to sell drugs; they join gangs to belong to something, to gain a sense of identity and to feel protected. If gangs weren't selling drugs, they'd still be stealing cars, jewelry, computers, cell phones and, for that matter, legal prescription drugs -- just as they are now.

    How about the argument that legalizing drugs would eliminate the black market in drugs and, thus, reduce the number of crimes committed to support the habits of addicts. Really? So once drugs were legalized, all the addicts suddenly would get good-paying jobs to earn the money they need to buy their drugs legally? Ridiculous.

    Whether drugs are legal or illegal, addicts still will be impaired, they'll still suffer from drug-affected behaviors, still be dysfunctional and still do anything they have to do to survive.

    Is there a solution? We think there is, but it would require a completely different type of effort, one that takes advantage of lessons learned about what really works and what doesn't. It would involve three basic strategies:

    — First, it is absolutely imperative to zero in on the problem of demand. That means really getting serious -- for the first time in our nation's history -- about prevention. We've learned a great deal in recent years about how to conduct successful programs to prevent young people from starting to use drugs. What has been missing is the will to do so and resources to make it possible.

    — Second, making sure the prevention programs work requires follow-up public education and awareness campaigns of extremely high quality and sophistication.

    — Lastly, the approach of law enforcement and the justice system needs to combine a degree of decriminalization -- not legalization -- with greater access to quality treatment programs and much more stringent enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.

    Drug abuse is a major public health problem. It cannot be solved by capitulating to the demand for drugs that destroy lives via addiction. It can be solved by honestly acknowledging what we've learned about what works and what doesn't. The sooner the better.

    Daniel K. Duncan is director of community services and Edward F. Tasch is executive director of the St. Louis area chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
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Comments

  1. FrankenChrist
    IMHO, he really has some good points (many dealers won't simply become nice kind people after legalisation) and he looks rather pragmatic (admits the failure of the drug war) but he really crashes into the ditch with his comparison of victimless (no victim but the "perpetrators" themselves) and non-victimless crimes.

    About his three points:
    Perhaps he realises that D.A.R.E. is a joke and a horrible waste of tax money, but he doesn't dare (no pun intended) to voice his opinion on it? He might be saying that there should be better prevention efforts that don't use lies and "circle argumentations" as in "drugs are bad because they're illegal and they're illegal because they're bad" (mmkay).
  2. Sklander
    His three points are good ones, but SWIM thinks they've been thought of before. SWIM doesn't think that anyone has come up with a way to execute his three points, though. Thats the problem.
  3. party boy
    Very interesting post !!

    But what comes to me after reading is the feeling this person never really tried drugs.

    He talks a lot about the harm that drugs abuse does...but doesn't the abuse of anything harm ?

    The simple use of a lot of drugs is just great. You may give your money on a lot of programs, if 40 year-old person tries an X, he may still find it nice, even is he the most equilibrated-healthy-happy person on the planet.

    I wouldn't like alcohol to be probihited either...my poor dad...:)

    He's aiming on education...not really an innovative idea to me.
  4. Lunar Loops
    I don't see anything new in this article and certainly no new approach. Some of the arguments used are lame in the extreme and some of the 'well made' points are no-brainers....demand drives supply....oh really, that's earth shatteringly original thinking. Prevention programs have been and are being tried and failing, but do they propose some new form of prevention program? It is certainly not evident in this article.

    "People still steal, so let's legalize stealing. People still speed, so let's remove all the speed limits. People still drink and drive, so let's legalize drinking and driving. Date-rape continues; let's legalize date-rape. The point? Shifting from one flawed premise to another solves nothing."

    Errr, I don't think we are really comparing like with like here. In all the above cases others are being harmed by the actions (or potentially in the case of speeding and drink driving). If you choose to take drugs, it is your body and your body alone that you may or may not be putting at risk.

    "Incredibly, advocates of legalizing drugs often point to alcohol as an example of a successfully legalized drug. This is a terribly weak argument. Do they really not understand that -- in terms of lives disrupted, ruined and ended before their time -- the legal drug alcohol is by far a bigger problem than any other drug?"

    Errr, how many advocates of legalisation do you actually hear pointing to alcohol as a successfully legalised drug? None, in my experience. They usually quite rightly hold it up as an example of a drug that is far more harmful and causes more heartache than many of the drugs that are illegal.

    Very lame St Louis area chapter. Come back when you've written some original and logical verses.
  5. StigmataLectron
    If legalising drugs is a terrible idea to him, moving to Saint Louis next month so I can live next door and serve some swift kicks to the balls is a fantastic one. The whole drug awareness and prevention thing is bullshit. It's already been done and failed, just look at DARE.

    The bottom line that these prohibitionists really don't understand is that PEOPLE LIKE TO GET HIGH. You cannot stop them. Arrest those who make them and see how fast the other kingpins race to grab their new customers. Destroy a coke field just to see how fast hommade alternatives like meth get popular. Burn the meth labs, and then ask how many more people are faking ADHD. :b. Sereously, isn't the fact that people are choking themselves to get high evidence enough that they're not going to stop us, so they really might as well accept us?
  6. Mr. Giraffe
    Others have thoroughly demolished this weak argument before me, but I'd like to chip in with one pet hate: they keep talking about 'drugs' as if crack and pot and their users were exactly equivalent. 'Drugs' is such a head-spinningly large category that using the term as they have here is practically meaningless.
  7. bcubed
    They're completely right about the fact that cutting supply is STUPID: decreased supply allows suppliers to function like a cartel or monoploy and make profits far in excess of what the equilibrium market would allow. I've always thought that, if the DEA didn't exist, drug dealers would have to create something like it.

    As for saying that alcohol's high body count is an indication that legalization is a bad idea, I'd like to see someone nail down their opinion: was repealment of prohibition wrong? Are you saying that you'd like to return to prohibition? throw that out there and watch them squirm...
  8. Bajeda
    And the zombie thread rises from the grave, aahhhhhh!!!
  9. grandbaby
    ^Nothing wrong with that once in a while, IMO, Baj. Sometimes dredging up old threads can be entertaining and/or educational, and in some cases (not this one) it avoids duplication of content.
  10. Bajeda
    Yes, I am well aware that sometimes you can have good zombies. Just look at this respectable young fellow:


    [​IMG]



    Some just need another shotgun blast to the head though.
  11. Zaprenz
    A logical arguement until this point, agreed reducing demand is one solution (but how?). ​

    "getting serious" !!? OF course :vibes: everyone has been joking for the last 50 years. What exactly have we learn't about stopping people getting involved in drug use to begin with? [maybe even some drug use is beneficial, where does one draw the line between medical use and abuse?]​

    The end points SWIM tends to agree with, more treament, regulate rather than make EVERY DRUG Legal but the fundamental point REDUCE DEMAND - its like a graph that tends to infinity, you can push more and more money, effort in reducing drugs but the nearer 100% of the population you get to be completely free from drugs the more money is needed. ​

    I.e it might cost ​

    $X Billion to get 80% clean​

    £2X Billion to get 90% Clean​

    £4X Billion to get 95% Clean​

    Legalisation IS a plan at least, where in the above are ANY details of proposals in reducing demand? 3 "FUN" action points at the end. :thumbsup:

    "People still steal, so let's legalize stealing. People still speed, so let's remove all the speed limits. People still drink and drive, so let's legalize drinking and driving. Date-rape continues; let's legalize date-rape. The point? Shifting from one flawed premise to another solves nothing. " QUOTE

    ^AND carefully picked examples. All the above directly affect other peoples health. Personal drug use may indirectly affect others but can be in a positive or negative way. Date rape is date rape, illegal, horrible and nasty 100%. Taking MDMA, it could be nasty, but it could solve someones post traumatic stress disorder. Drug use is about how, when, what etc, Date-rape is bad full stop.
  12. darawk
    I disagree with you here. I think at least a very large number of dealers would never have gotten into crime in the first place if the profits of drug selling weren't so alluring. Street gangs would have no source of significant income, so they would slowly dissolve or at least, dwindle pretty heavily. This in turn will eliminate a lot of the violence and other non-drug crimes associated with these gangs. This vast reduction in crime will allow police to focus their efforts much more on the crimes that are still happening - which means less still will happen. Etc..
  13. desert flower
    They make good arguments but they also undercut their own theory,in parts.
    Education doesn't necessarily mean that people will not try drugs.
    The very fact that a person is curious enough to educate themselves about a drug(cos lets face it,no one is going to do it for them)probably means they are considering the risks AND benefits of trying said drug.
    This is not true of everyone but I'm willing to bet it applies to the majority of educated people.
    Unless education is complete,it can just serve as a catalyst,for example,the harm minimisation sheets routinely passed around the dance circuit,will give you the basics of what you can mix and what you can't.
    For a small amount of people,that alone is enticement to mix the substances.
    And for those who do heed them but do no other research,they know what not to mix,but in many cases,they don't know why,so are really unaware of anything other than it might be a risk.
    All drugs carry an element of risk to them,for some,that's the attraction.
    We have to be aware that not everyone thinks on the same level,and that just because someone is using a drug,doesn't necessarily mean they know why they are doing it,what they are using,or what the effect will be.
    I can't say for sure but I honestly think that the amount of scientists and doctors that experiment with drugs is higher than we may think.
  14. Diverboone
    Most of the author's ideas/statements are flaw and covered by the replies to this thread. The author does make one factual statement, "[FONT=Arial,Helvetica]The premise underlying these approaches is the idea that supply drives demand: The more drugs there are, the more people use them. It is a fatally flawed assumption. The truth is just the opposite: Demand drives supply, and until we accept the significance of this fundamental failure of understanding, the strategies we come up with will continue to fail."

    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]The Laws of Supply and Demand are taught in school and some how forgotten by our law and policy makers as soon as they are elected.
    [/FONT]


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