Monday, August 30, 2010

Tighten up on alcohol, lighten up on other drugs - Guardian

When heroin, the best painkiller, was legal
and abuse  almost non-existent compared to today
The Guardian newspaper in the UK has run another penetrating analysis spotlighting the unbalanced and unworkable approach to alcohol and other, banned drugs. It's titled 'Drink, drugs and uneasy hypocrisy' and points out that the alcohol industry in the UK spends £800m per year on advertising while users of alternative drugs are arrested and jailed.

Writer James Meek observes that he can get a lethal dose of vodka at his local off-license for £30, no questions asked.

On the other hand in the USA, the country that experienced the disaster of alcohol prohibition, one in 100 of its citizens are now in jail, predominately on drug charges. This is five times the incarceration rate in the UK. The social damage from this pointless inquisition is immeasurable. Meek adds to this the carnage in Mexico, where another 72 people have been found executed, probably by a drug cartel which thrives on the supersized profits made possible by prohibition.

In 18185 when cocaine was legal, we did not have
a child addiction epidemic. Hmmmmn.
Meek wonders what advertising for drugs would look like, but he's off the mark there. Drugs are now one of the most popular and profitable commodities in the world - with no advertising. In a legalised, regulated and balanced environment, the advertising of alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs would all be banned. They could also tighten up on the advertising of medical drugs, too. In this light, the free market days of the late 1800s (above) are a universe away!

One commenter on the Guardian piece eloquently listed the stupidity of prohibition:

If you support prohibition then you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

If you support prohibition you've helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

If you support prohibition you've helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal

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