War on drugs; another fool’s errand?

Why are some drugs illegal in the US of A? A comment from my other reader, gizo, got me thinking about this. As is almost always the case with me, I have no idea what the actual answer is. I have donned my tinfoil hat, however, and will now try and pierce the mystery.

The easy answer would be that those drugs that are illegal are dangerous. The prisons in the US are full of people who did bad things while under the influence of drugs. They are also full of people who were simply under the influence of drugs, and didn’t do anything more than happen into the wrong place at the wrong time. They are there because they were in possession of drugs, or maybe because they flunked a subsequent drug test. Interestingly, the drug most of the sociopaths that populate our prisons were under the influence of when they did whatever heinous thing they did was alcohol.

Does it make sense to put non-violent citizens who are guilty only of using drugs in places where there is nothing to do but become violent, use drugs, and engage in sex with others of their gender? It certainly doesn’t make much economic sense, unless you’re somehow affiliated with the criminal justice system. If drugs were legal and readily available we could cut the number of lawyers, judges, cops, and prison guards by at least half, and probably much more than that. That would mean we could do something else with all those billions of tax dollars we blow fighting a fight that’s not winnable.

Then there’s the health argument. Lots of unfortunates would die if drugs were legal. They die anyway. Substance abuse is inherently dangerous, legal or not. Deaths due to illegal drugs are a tiny fraction of those resulting directly from the effects of alcohol or cigarette smoking. If drugs were legalized, almost all the crack-heads and meth-monsters would certainly die in short order. But if crack and meth were free, they wouldn’t cause much trouble doing it. We’d have to pay for a bunch of burials the first year. After that we’d be in the black.

I suppose doing much to de-stabilize the drug based economies of South American countries would further empower Marxist like Hugo Chavez. Maybe that’s another reason the government doesn’t consider legalizing drugs. We’d put the entrepreneurial criminals out of business and strengthen the socialist at the same time. I guess that’s a bad thing. At least the cocaine king-pins are capitalist.

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8 Comments

Filed under Economics, Medicine, Politics

8 responses to “War on drugs; another fool’s errand?

  1. No comment. This can of worms is too big, too awkward, and too smelly. I have less ideas than you, J.

  2. lightcontrast

    Labelling drugs as illegal doesn’t prevent the trafficking of them, I think it increases the flow of the drug trade. If drugs are legal, the government can perhaps have more control over drug sale transactions and have a better chance at limiting it. But this is just a hunch. I don’t know too much about this.

  3. Drugs should be banned and we need more strict laws to stop these drugs. They only kills humans and destroy childrens and youths life.

  4. lightcontrast

    “Drugs should be banned and we need more strict laws to stop these drugs.”

    Ever heard of the black market? People will find ways to get them. They may even try to lace them in popular foods. They did it with marijuana, but they were caught but still…it can be done.

    “They only kills humans and destroy childrens and youths life.”

    That hasn’t stopped people from using them. Cigarettes kill over time, but people still smoke. Some people make a living by selling drugs and selling cigarettes, you can’t take away their bread and butter.

  5. Redhand

    OT, but BFD. Found you via “Outskirts of Reality” from a Google search re “Another Tricky Day” (by The Who of course).

    Liked your post, “Is America Safer” but I have a few intrusive questions.

    (1) How can you afford doing nothing but bask in Ennui? I’m envious, except for the Ennui.

    (2) Are you physically ill, and so can’t work?

    (3) Are you independently wealthy, and so don’t have to work?

    I note a preoccupation with drugs. I was chronically depressed for years and years, but found there is “better living through chemistry.” Of course, getting divorced and finding a decent wife helped.

    This post is a stone dropped down a well, but I’m curious if I’ll hear a splash or if it’s dry.

  6. J

    Redhand,

    1) I’m a simple man with simple taste, at least for a post-modern. I don’t do fancy threads, new cars, exotic vacations, or expensive hookers. I used to do all of the above, along with lots of expensive drugs, and anything else I could throw money at. I managed to escape with my life and some (vague) semblance of sanity.

    2) I have some physical challenges, but nothing I get a check for.

    3) I’m a poor boy. I’ve worked. I’ll work again, if I live long enough. Today I’m living on the in-betweens in almost all areas of my life. I’m getting used to it.

    Circumstances have made it possible (necessary?) for me to play the part I’m playing today. It’s not an interesting story, although perhaps an unusual one.

    All I’ll say about depression is god damn it’s awful. The well is mostly dry right now, but hey, life turns on a dime, or at least it used to.

  7. History Channel has a running series called “Hooked: Illegal drugs and how they got that way.” It’s a great series, and here’s one of the episodes on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQlk01sxO_E

  8. Television news is like a lightning flash. It makes a loud noise, lights up everything around it, leaves everything else in darkness and then is suddenly gone.

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