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
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.
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.
Portugal is the proving ground for this approach http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/portugal-drug-l...
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.
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?
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.
It depends on whether society values the lives of addicts or just wants to punish them.
It's hard to find truth in any drug related article, but this is the best we have.
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.
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.
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 .
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 . 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.
Plus, as long as drug trade remains illegal, you have secondary problems such as bribery of officials, gang violence.
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.