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"Absolutely immoral. Drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin, etc, make you into an addict once you start taking them on a regular bases - and that happens quite easily."

Under the assumption that selling an addictive product is immoral. Coffee shops must be the work of the devil himself, and it is immoral for a company to provide its employees with free coffee. Video games are also very addictive, so you have just condemned the entire video game industry. Social networking is addictive too, so you just condemned social networking (ironically, you may have even condemned Hacker News, the very site on which we are having this discussion).

Basically, your standard of morality is beyond extreme.

"So a prescribed 5mg Desoxyn (dextro-methamphetamine) pill swallowed once per day for Narcolepsy is no different than the typical 100mg of crystal Meth put and smoked in a pipe to get wired for 24h?"

No, but that is because you are describing the difference between use and abuse of a drug, which is not relevant to the question of whether or not drugs should be illegal. It is also worth pointing out that pharmaceuticals are far less damaging because of the regulations on their production and that one of the biggest problems with black-market methamphetamine is adulterants.

Let's put it this way: would you rather have a meth addict get their drugs in regulated dosages and purities, or leave everything up to chance? When my doctor asks me if, when, and how often I drink alcohol, I can give a meaningful answer because alcohol is legal and regulated. Why shouldn't a meth user be able to do the same?

"Or a couple of Vicodin or Percs for pain in you back is no different than shooting black tar heroin?"

In fact, pharmaceutical opiates are more habit-forming than heroin, due to their purity and the fact that they are basically engineered to be effective drugs. That is why people wind up in this situation:


"The difference in effects between powder-cocaine insufflated and crack-cocaine smoked is so great that it literally feels like a different drug."

Likewise with injecting cocaine, which was once the common way to use the drug, versus drinking coca tea, which was the original way to use the drug. This is like comparing beer to grain liquor; all you are doing is comparing one form of a drug with another form of the drug.

"One of many counter-points to the "it must always be a race thing" argument."

The counterpoint to which is the history of powder cocaine prohibition. Yes, powder cocaine was once legal in the United States, and then people started saying that black men who used cocaine would become more accurate with a pistol, impossible to stop with a shot through the heart, and prone to rape white women. Don't believe me? Here is a New York Times article from the early 20th century:


("Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are A New Southern Menace")

It is not just cocaine. Marijuana was make illegal under equally questionable premises: claims that it fueled black Jazz musicians, claims that it caused white women to want to have sex with black men, claims that Mexican vagrants were using it to corrupt the white youth, and so forth. Heroin was made illegal to punish the German company Bayer, and people were told that opiates in general were part of the bad habits of Philipinos and other Asian immigrants. You can look at the Congressional Record and see the overt racism that surrounded the early debates about drug prohibition, debates that we have never revisited.

When you look at the history of drug prohibition you will find racism and hand-outs to corporations. That is because drug prohibition is and has always been about racism and corporate greed, never about public health (unless you care about the propaganda used to support it). While people were (and continue to be) told racist nonsense to justify drug prohibition, corporations that benefit from said prohibition have lobbied hard in favor of it. It should come as no surprise that tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical companies are big contributors to "The Partnership for a Drug-Free America" -- they have enjoyed inflated profits as a result (the irony of a tobacco company pushing a message about the deadly consequences of marijuana or methamphetamine is off the scale).

> Under the assumption that selling an addictive product is immoral. Coffee shops must be the work of the devil himself,...

There is a vast difference between crack or heroin addiction and things like - drinking coffee, playing video games, and wasting time on social networks.

Making the connection between those two groups (and equating them) via the word "addiction" made me stop reading after the quoted line.

If you meant something more specific than "addiction" maybe you should have said so. This is not just a pointless distinction, it gets at the very heart of the public health issues involved and should not be glossed over. Lives are not destroyed by addiction in general, as you yourself pointed out.

> If you meant something more specific than "addiction" maybe you should have said so.

I started out the post with "Drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin".

...and we are just supposed to assume that addictions to those drugs represent a special category? Not only that, but you yourself distinguished between someone who takes methamphetamine as their doctor prescribed and someone who freebases it to get high -- yet prescription stimulants are just as addicting and have the same withdrawal effects.

> yet prescription stimulants are just as addicting and have the same withdrawal effects.

In fact, in many ways, addiction triggered by prescription painkillers and stimulants can be more difficult to deal with. We have gotten fairly good (with a lot of improvement to go) at treating "standard junkies" but people who don't consider themselves to be in that "class" will often fail to seek out treatment because they fear association with that "class".

Basically, the stigmatization of illegal drugs and addiction in general causes collateral damage. The attitude that addiction is immoral or signals some sort of personal defect (more or less, the sort of attitude powertower is showing here) causes harm.

I don't want to use any schelling fence besides the one provided to me by authorities and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

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