It's Time to End the "War on Drugs"

NationalTitles17

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This, according to the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal, for the uninitiated). I figured this deserved its own thread as we've only discussed the issue in passing in other threads.

http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6067

Three United Nations treaties, the oldest from 1961, seek to “advance the health and welfare of mankind” by prohibiting the non-medical use of some drugs. To this end, countries criminalise producers, traffickers, dealers, and users at an annual cost of at least $100bn.7But the effectiveness of prohibition laws, colloquially known as the “war on drugs,” must be judged on outcomes. And too often the war on drugs plays out as a war on the millions of people who use drugs, and disproportionately on people who are poor or from ethnic minorities and on women.1
Prohibition and stigma encourage less safe drug consumption and push people away from health services.1Sharing of injection equipment has led to huge epidemics of bloodborne infection, including HIV and hepatitis C.1 And just one in every six of the 29 million people worldwide with a drug use disorder received treatment in 2014.3
The ideological goal of a “drug-free world” encourages ideologically driven medical practice. For example, patients in Crimea died after the Russian invasion because they were forced to stop taking methadone, which is viewed as opioid misuse and illegal in Russia.8 The UK government’s promotion of abstinence at the expense of proved maintenance treatment may have contributed to a doubling in opioid related deaths between 2012 and 2015.9
Drug control policies effectively deny two thirds of the world’s population—more than five billion people—legitimate access to opioids for pain control.10 And they impede research into medical use of cannabis and other prohibited drugs despite evidence of potential benefit.11
All wars cause human rights violations, and the war on drugs is no different. Criminally controlled drug supply markets lead to appalling violence—causing an estimated 65 000-80 000 deaths in Mexico in the past decade, for example.12 Mandatory sentencing for even minor drug offences has helped the United States attain the highest rate of incarceration in the world.13 The Philippines has seen 5000 extrajudicial killings since July, after President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for vigilantism against drug dealers.14
It is no surprise, then, that there have been calls for reform, including from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme, and the UN human rights agency,15 as well as non-governmental organisations,16 former heads of state,10 UK parliamentarians,17 some law enforcers, and medical journals.
At a UN general assembly in April, many countries asked for health and human rights to be prioritised over punitive responses.
This year a thorough review of the international evidence concluded that governments should decriminalise minor drug offences, strengthen health and social sector approaches, move cautiously towards regulated drug markets where possible, and scientifically evaluate the outcomes to build pragmatic and rational policy.1Prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco provide lessons to inform models of regulation.18 Different drugs with different harms in different contexts may need different approaches. And any change must be supported by investment in evidence based education, counselling, and treatment services to deter drug use and increase safety among users.
Health should be at the centre of this debate and so, therefore, should healthcare professionals. Doctors are trusted and influential and can bring a rational and humane dimension to ideology and populist rhetoric about being tough on crime.
I agree fully with ending the failed "war on drugs". It's time to get rid of this counterproductive policy which has caused many to die and governments to erode civil rights across the board. Everywhere prohibition has been tried it has failed. Everywhere decriminalization has been tried it has largely succeeded. The facts are clear. It's not even close. But overcoming inertia and outright resistance of old dogma's and perverse incentives (police jobs, civil forfeitures) is going to be difficult. Unlike the "war on drugs", the war to end the war on drugs is going to take facts, figures, science, decency, good sense, and humanity.
 

NationalTitles17

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http://reason.com/blog/2017/08/04/researchers-highlight-the-governments-co

The CDC attributed 18,893 deaths to opioid analgesics in 2014. It attributed 10,574 to heroin, which was used by less than a tenth as many people. By that measure, heroin was more than five time as dangerous.The increased prevalence of fentanyl in black-market heroin has magnified the danger. "Heroin fluctuation in purity is a known overdose risk," write University of British Columbia internist Nadia Fairbairn and her co-authors in an article about naloxone, "and the presence of illicit synthetic opioids contaminating the heroin supply has led to a particularly erratic 'street dope' market that multiplies this risk. People who use heroin are potentially exposed to large variations in drug potency depending on the extent of adulteration with synthetic opioids, thus increasing overdose risk."
As Beletsky and Davis note, "These increases in harm were as predictable as they are disastrous." In fact, they say, "The iatrogenic risk to the health of people who use drugs was not just foreseeable, but in some cases directly foreseen by policymakers." They quote Carrie DeLone, Pennsylvania's former physician general, who recently confessed that "we knew that this was going to be an issue, that we were going to push addicts in a direction that was going to be more deadly." Her justification: "You have to start somewhere."
Beletsky and Davis are rightly appalled by DeLone's attitude, saying, "This statement is emblematic of the belief that decisive action is more important than reducing overall societal harm. While seemingly widespread, this sentiment is inimical to...public health, scientific, and ethical norms." But making drug use more dangerous is arguably one of the ways prohibition works as intended, since it helps scare people away from illegal intoxicants. Conversely, making drug use safer defeats the purpose of prohibition by reducing that deterrent, which is why Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill making naloxone more readily available. He complained that "creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction."
 

CajunCrimson

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To me, for those that want to bail on the "war" for financial reasons......it won't save a dime....it just will be wasted on something else. It still comes back to....society has rules. You break them, you go to prison or pay a fine. If you don't like the laws, change them. When society flips their view, the laws will change. People have been tying for decades to legalize drugs, and that's starting to change the laws.

The way it's supposed to work....is working.
 

NationalTitles17

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To me, for those that want to bail on the "war" for financial reasons......it won't save a dime....it just will be wasted on something else. It still comes back to....society has rules. You break them, you go to prison or pay a fine. If you don't like the laws, change them. When society flips their view, the laws will change. People have been tying for decades to legalize drugs, and that's starting to change the laws.

The way it's supposed to work....is working.
Look at it this way then: It will free up - at the least - hundreds of millions of dollars a year for your elected overlords to waste on something else that doesn't involve militarizing the police and encouraging them to enter your home at night without first introducing themselves or otherwise harassing you. Oh, they'll still do it, but they'll need another excuse. I'm sure the panic over terror will provide plenty of cover for that.

The money is only one side of it, though. Police militarization and intrusion on civil liberties are just other facets. So much more goes with this topic, like reduced harm and a better more prosperous society.
 

DzynKingRTR

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so you guys think we should legalize all drugs? so we can just go to Publix and buy some T-bones, some crab legs, some black tar heroin, some baking potatoes, and some yeast rolls?
 

2003TIDE

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so you guys think we should legalize all drugs? so we can just go to Publix and buy some T-bones, some crab legs, some black tar heroin, some baking potatoes, and some yeast rolls?
I think pot should be legalized. It's no worse than beer which you can buy at Publix. I don't think schedule 1 drugs should be legal. I also think pot should be reclassified as well. It's not a schedule 1 drug.
 

CharminTide

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I think pot should be legalized. It's no worse than beer which you can buy at Publix. I don't think schedule 1 drugs should be legal. I also think pot should be reclassified as well. It's not a schedule 1 drug.
Beer is actually far, far more damaging to one's health (and our communal healthcare resources) than pot is. Same with tobacco. Pot should be legalized nationwide as the reefer madness generation declines. And as more states drink from the sweet, sweet fountain of additional tax revenue, the federal government will soon follow.

As always, lobbyist money (in this case, the tobacco lobby that somehow managed to get weed classified alongside heroin) protects corporate interests over the interests and freedom of individuals. Find a way to reduce, cap, and publicly monitor public servant campaign contributions, and watch as these types of pro-corporate, anti-individual policies melt away.
 

bamachile

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Sessions is about to be AG. Guy thinks drugs are the devil incarnate. Won't be surprised if we take some steps backward.
I don't have any better opinion of drugs myself, but yet I am generally against the war on drugs. It is indeed an ideological goal which is not only unobtainable but counterproductive and often tyrannical in its irrationality. I am emphatically not, however, against the war on drug-induced behavior. Driving while impaired, violent psychotic episodes, theft and robbery for habit continuation, etc., can never be accepted as 'just the way it is'. This Scylla and Charybdis requires a pragmatic and methodical approach beyond the pale of the pure ideologies of the left and right. Libertarians such as myself also must do some serious soul-searching to find solutions that produce results and protect the populace without imposing undue restrictions on liberty.

I don't have the answers. I am open to suggestions, however.
 

DzynKingRTR

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I think pot should be legalized. It's no worse than beer which you can buy at Publix. I don't think schedule 1 drugs should be legal. I also think pot should be reclassified as well. It's not a schedule 1 drug.
I agree with this. Most of the pot smokers I know never feel like they need to go for a drive. Almost all alcohol drinkers think the are "fine" after tossing back a few.
 

CajunCrimson

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Beer is actually far, far more damaging to one's health (and our communal healthcare resources) than pot is. Same with tobacco. Pot should be legalized nationwide as the reefer madness generation declines. And as more states drink from the sweet, sweet fountain of additional tax revenue, the federal government will soon follow.

As always, lobbyist money (in this case, the tobacco lobby that somehow managed to get weed classified alongside heroin) protects corporate interests over the interests and freedom of individuals. Find a way to reduce, cap, and publicly monitor public servant campaign contributions, and watch as these types of pro-corporate, anti-individual policies melt away.
Are you open to banning booze or tobacco since it's so bad?

And, no, I'm not suggesting you want that. Just curious, if you think we should....since it would benefit socialized healthcare
 

NationalTitles17

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so you guys think we should legalize all drugs? so we can just go to Publix and buy some T-bones, some crab legs, some black tar heroin, some baking potatoes, and some yeast rolls?
Yes to legalizing all drugs. every last one.

If Publix wants to sell them....but I doubt they ever would. More likely, it would be like the local pron shop or bar. We don't have to worry about family friendly shops suddenly turning seedy and driving their base far away.
 

DzynKingRTR

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Yes to legalizing all drugs. every last one.

If Publix wants to sell them....but I doubt they ever would. More likely, it would be like the local pron shop or bar. We don't have to worry about family friendly shops suddenly turning seedy and driving their base far away.
Why stop there? we can go ahead and make everything legal, then there would be no crime because everything is legal.
 

CharminTide

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Are you open to banning booze or tobacco since it's so bad?

And, no, I'm not suggesting you want that. Just curious, if you think we should....since it would benefit socialized healthcare
Nope. We could ban all kinds of things that would indirectly lower healthcare utilization. But such bans would directly impact personal freedoms first and foremost.
 

NationalTitles17

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Why stop there? we can go ahead and make everything legal, then there would be no crime because everything is legal.
Look around you and tell me what good has come from the "War on Drugs"...

Then read this on the good legalization has done in Portugal.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/05/why-hardly-anyone-dies-from-a-drug-overdose-in-portugal/?utm_term=.1d07d8f21f38

So which is better: Throw people in jail or offer them help? Overdose deaths out the yin yang or hardly any? Evermore encroachments on our liberty or freedom from nighttime raids on the wrong house with innocent people killed by police when they think their home is being invaded by criminals (actually, it is, just under color of law)? Gangs fighting with guns in the streets or business people settling their disputes in court? Loose regulations and a safe product or effectively no regulation and a deadly product? a $500 billion/year industry that pays no taxes or one that pays sales, employment, income, and other taxes? (that number is worldwide, not the US so apologies. In 2010 that number was $100 billion/year according to the Obama White House though I'm sure that has increased significantly since. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/03/07/how-much-do-americans-really-spend-drugs-each-year )

And please tell me how many people who don't use hard drugs now are suddenly going to say to themselves: Hey, it'd be great if I became a junky. I think I'll go to Publix and get some crack!

Chances are no one who isn't going to use anyway would use if they were legally available. After all, most of us wouldn't have to get a mile from home to find just about any drug we wanted if we wanted one.

The numbers in Portugal do not support the notion that people will just start using just because - and that includes teenagers.

Bottom line: The "War on Drugs" hasn't just been a failure. It's been a costly and deadly disaster.

It took me a very long time to overcome years and years of what I can only call brainwashing at this point to reach this conclusion. It goes against everything I had ever been taught about drugs (other than that they are bad, mmmk). Looking at the data I could reach no other conclusion, however. But getting past what we've been taught is difficult.
 
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LA4Bama

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Booze often leads to domestic violence

Dope tends to lower it
I'm not fully convinced of this yet, but it's possible. Any evidence?


Yes to legalizing all drugs. every last one.

If Publix wants to sell them....but I doubt they ever would. More likely, it would be like the local pron shop or bar. We don't have to worry about family friendly shops suddenly turning seedy and driving their base far away.
No thank you. I normally agree with your perspective very strongly, but in this case I feel this is very wrongheaded. Am I the only one who thinks legalizing opioids would be a completely terrible idea? Because I believe legalizing opioids would be a completely terrible idea! I can't even begin to imagine what a wasteland our country would become if we let everyone personally experiment with these drugs.
 

CajunCrimson

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Nope. We could ban all kinds of things that would indirectly lower healthcare utilization. But such bans would directly impact personal freedoms first and foremost.
Like when we used to Have the freedom to not buy healthcare if we chose not to.......without being fined?

When "The greater good" is used as the reason to restrict personal freedoms....should be applied across the board or not at all.
 

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