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After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation (2009) (tdpf.org.uk)
43 points by MrsPeaches 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

Prohibition is one of the most pernicious ideas within our society. It enables people to prey on the weak and vulnerable. Whether we like it or not, people will seek out chemicals to make their day better, be it chocolate, coffee, wine, or heroine.

Governments should be recognising this base behaviour and ensure that those chemicals are available safely and taxed appropriately. Treating drug addiction as a medical condition and not a criminal activity is the first step. Something many countries fail to even recognise.

The war on drugs is a complete failure.

  be it chocolate, coffee, wine, or [heroin]

  ensure that those chemicals are available safely and taxed appropriately
While I agree that prohibition has proven time and again to be a terrible thing, I'd also argue that some drugs are so dangerous in small doses that sale should never be sanctioned. Still, I would not argue in favor of strict punishments for sale nor use, especially. Issues of sale should come with punishments similar to improper business practices--tax evasion, fraud, etc--based on the scope and scale of the transactions.

As you point out, people often seek certain substances because at some level they feel it will make things better. The improvement they seek may be proportional to the strength of the substance, meaning those seeking out street drugs are probably also in the most dire straits. From that perspective, punishment seems quite cruel--kicking a person when they're already down.

Some people do drugs occasionally just for the fun of it, not expecting any improvement. My stance is that I would like to see most drugs legal to consume, it is stupid and evil to put people in prison because they put something in their mouth (oversimplifying but it is what it is). As for the selling part of things, I would like for state to sell the drugs with 100% purity, at high prices and with some kind of programs to go along with that that handle addicted users (they would be addicted in any case, this way you can at least track them, and do something humane and not put them in prison). But if that would be the case, that you can buy drugs legally, I would enforce even stricter punishments for illegal sellers.

Depending on the way drugs are sold, penalties could, and probably should go as high as involuntary manslaughter.

Dealers often misrepresent what they sell, cutting with toxic chemicals, lying about purity or even selling an entire different product. With drugs as potent as opiates, it could mean death. In fact, I think this is the leading cause of death by drug use.

These practices should be much more penalized than just selling the drug, even if both are illegal. Just like armed robbery is more severely punished than shoplifting.

I see a need for a government to facilitate access to clean good quality drugs, taxing them, and providing the support mechanisms to enable people to come off those drugs.

Portugal is the proving ground for this approach http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/portugal-drug-l...

Just to emphasize, Portugal didn't legalize any drugs. It decriminalized drug use and possession. Which mean you are not going to be judged and sent to prison, but you can still get fined, especially if you refuse the treatments they suggest. Drug trafficking, defined as possession of more than the average dose for 10 days is still a crime.

The thing is you can make it illegal to sell without being illegal to consume.

There's an important difference there - product safety enforcement vs. morality policing.

Particulary when most dangerous drugs are a result of chemical knockoffs to try and get around supply issues to making reasonably safe ones.

> The thing is you can make it illegal to sell without being illegal to consume.

If they make it illegal to sell, then the state must sell it. Otherwise it just doesn't work. Why should people acting legally need to buy from criminals?

If you look at Portugal, who has had the most success in reducing drugs, they decriminalized drugs. Which meant they kept them illegal, but if caught it was equivalent of parking ticket fine, but also if person hit a threshold of too many fines, there was drug addiction therapy required. Decriminalization removes the excessive fines, time in jail, and removes the criminal record black mark.

Atlanta GA has decriminalized marijuana this year. If caught it's a $60 fee only. Previously it was $1000, up to 6 months in jail, and a criminal record.

This decriminalization should be applied to all drugs. This has been proven to work, everywhere it has been tried.

We would be better off with regulated heroin for free in clinics than fentanil/carfentanil cut street drugs.

It depends on whether society values the lives of addicts or just wants to punish them.

Crack cocaine has the same chemical mechanism of action as tricyclic antidepressants

> some drugs are so dangerous in small doses

Citation needed.

Fentanyl will kill with very small doses.


It's hard to find truth in any drug related article, but this is the best we have.

> Whether we like it or not, people will seek out chemicals to make their day better, be it chocolate, coffee, wine, or heroine.

And most importantly, whether we like it or not has absolutely no bearing on whether it's acceptable to limit somebody else's right to put whatever they want into their own body.

The war on drugs is a massive success for the people who profit from it.

It's not just drug dealers and cartels who profit from illegal drugs, it's the law enforcement industry as well and of course shadowy groups like the CIA who need money for black ops.

> Whether we like it or not, people will seek out chemicals to make their day better, be it chocolate, coffee, wine, or heroine.

Its excuse.

Ah the "they are weak" argument. Humans are fallible. Don't judge individuals by your god like ability to only survive on mineral water and lettuce.

There hasn't been a serious "war on drugs" for over 30 years in the UK. Most drugs are de-facto legal since the laws are simply not enforced. To say "prohibition of drugs is a counterproductive failure" is a straw-man, because there is no enforcement. The laws would probably have been dropped many years ago were it not for international treaty obligations.

> Most drugs are de-facto legal since the laws are simply not enforced

Sorry, but I just can't agree with this. The laws are there, the government says they still apply and have zero interest in any sort of repeal or reduction of illegality. Every attempt to push forward a more sensible policy say on Cannabis, in particular, is shot down. Eg the recent response on [1].

The police might be turning a blind eye (in some regions more so than others) to some possession but it is still illegal and you still run the risk of someone deciding to charge or fine you. If you're caught in possession multiple times you will end up in some sort of trouble, however minimal [2]. Actually getting hold of the these drugs involves interacting with actual criminals and I doubt they're submitting tax returns on the profits.

If anything this unclear muddy state is in my opinion much worse - it's a complete mess purporting to be the moral highground.

[1] https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200021

[2] https://www.met.police.uk/globalassets/foi-media/policies/de...

Nobody is doing prison time in UK for posessing or selling drugs? Pharmaceutically pure drugs can be brought by any adult? People are not dying because they thought they bought heroin when in fact the bought Fentanyl?

The black market economy underpinned by money laundering and violence very much exists, though, and causes huge amounts of harm across the board.

Sort of agree for possession but not for supply. People are still getting longer prison sentences for drug supply than murder.

Agreed, but if you don't address the demand problem you can't beat the supply problem. And that's where we are now.

But if you decriminalize it, you can a) save a lot of money in the law enforcement sector, b) tax it, so you make even more money, both of which frees up cash to c) spend a lot more on prevention of rehabilitation.

Plus, as long as drug trade remains illegal, you have secondary problems such as bribery of officials, gang violence.

I think prohibition is a money maker for law enforcement due to asset seizure. The prisons make bank from drug laws.

Maybe in the USA, in Europe (and probably other parts of the world, too) it is a different story.

AFAIK, we do not have anything like asset seizure in Germany. And the prison system over here is much less privatized / industrialized, so is not exactly a profit center.

A well-staffed, well-trained law enforcement apparatus is fairly expensive, too.

And consider that without proper treatment, widespread drug use incurs costs that do not show up on government budgets as such. Drug-related crime (theft, burglaries, etc.) comes to mind.

What is the "supply problem"? Can you elaborate?

The selling of illicit drugs.

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