Take the laws alrerady in place for recreational alcohol and apply them to other recreational drugs. All of them.
Treat abuse problems as medical issues.
I’m sick of the “War on Drugs” and all of the incidental damage caused by it. It’s time to truely get tough on the problem and to quit pussyfooting around.
Take the laws alrerady in place for recreational alcohol and apply them to other recreational drugs. All of them.
I believe that drugs which can harm the user through mistaken dosages (like heroin) or have a substantial risk of cauing rapid physical deterioration (like meth) should still be regulated, perhaps even with the users being supervised when they take them to avoid accidentally killing themselves and to ensure the quality of the product.
But drugs like marijuana and other “mild” drugs should be as openly available as alcohol.
The purity of those drugs should be regulated. If they were pharmaceuticals they would be far more likeky to be pure and of a controlled potency. Plus they would probably be far less expensive. Even with the a tax added on.
I’ve read what I could find on Copenhagen, and the main problem there appears to be a situation similar to the homelessness problem here. Violent crime doesn’t seem to be a drug issue there. Their policies do appear to draw drug users, as would be expected for such a small area.
One problem I forsee could be a dramatic loss of job opportunities in law enforcement and the legal system.
Not that big of a problem, or at least, not as much as is commonly believed. The prison in which my husband works is populated by property and sex crimes offenders. Those incarcerated for drug offenses alone are a relatively few.
If those guys were released tomorrow, it wouldn’t change the number of jobs or make much of a difference budget-wise. Conversely, you could double the number of drug offenders in my husband’s prison, and they wouldn’t mean they would need more staff.
Most of the expenses of the correction system are fixed, meaning that a few thousand people one way or another doesn’t make much impact. (You have to have X number of staff no matter what, have to have utilities and medical treatment, etc…)
The reason I always object to that remark is that it can be taken as a subtle hint that those in the justice system have a vested interest in wanting more criminals. Some individuals may feel that way, but most don’t. Through my husband’s workplace, I’ve had the opprotunity to speak to attorneys, politicians, prosecutors and corrections staff of all levels about this issue, and most of them would fall to their knees and praise whatever God you credited if non-violent drug offenses were legalized. As one of the prosecutors I spoke to put it, “I’d still be working nights because of all of the rapes, murders, thefts and assaults.”
Throw my support in for this. Add prostitution to the list.
Would you, under this system, regulate alcohol? Alcohol overdose and alcohol withdrawal can kill.
BTW, I agree with the OP.
This snapshot of prison proliferation shows the spike during the Reagan WoD push. 30% of the NY state prison population seems to be in for drugs. And that makes up the bulk of the increase from 1980 onwards. Overall,
Alchohol is regulated, at least about as much as I’d regulate drugs. There should be a minimum age, DUI laws have their place, and being disorderly can get you into trouble. Aught to be the same for other drugs. Alchohol can be as harmful as the rest, or more so. You just don’t see much violence aroung the marketing of it, and it’s that violence that disturbs me. And the crazy sentences handed down for what should be minor offences.
The authority is already there (ATF), all that’s needed is rethink and retraining.
Marijuana, for one, could be sold in liquor stores, right alongside booze. Less benign drugs could be available at pharmacies.
Whatever. The details would need to be worked out. What exists now is a classic case of the cure being worse that the disease.
For example, employers could keep their drug policies. Though I’d like to see impairment testing instead of the near meaningless systems used now.
Right, me too. I was asking Lissa, because she said that she would, it seemed, more stringently regulate “drugs which can harm the user through mistaken dosages…or have a substantial risk of cauing rapid physical deterioration” and they “…should still be regulated, perhaps even with the users being supervised when they take them to avoid accidentally killing themselves and to ensure the quality of the product.”
Because I believe alcohol meets both those criteria, I am curious as to whether or not **Lissa **would place it under the more strict regulation, possibly supervised use only category she proposes.
That’s why I said “rapid” physical deterioration. Have you ever seen before-and-after shots of meth users? Sometimes, the time span has only been six months and the person looks like they’re at death’s door. Some of the ingredients they use in the manufacturing of meth are deadly. As my husband says, “That’s some nasty shit.”
Alcohol, on the other hand, takes years of dedicated use to cause liver and kidney damage. Yeah, you can OD on it, but you’ve got to drink more than most people would do under notmal conditions. Likewise, you could kill yourself if you took too many acetominphin pills at one time, but no one arues that they’re unsafe for that reason.
You’ve got to be a little leery of statics like this. Sometimes, they include offenders who are incarcerated for multiple crimes. For example, a guy who killed someone and was captured while carrying drugs is counted, even though the drug offense was just prosecuted along with the rest of the charges to increase the time the offender would serve. i’m not saying that’s definitely the case with this study, since I didn’t have a chance yet to look at the study criteria-- all I’m saying is you should take these numbers under advisement.
In my husband’s prison, he has several people in for “just drugs”, but these were large-scale operations and heavy-duty dealing. I once asked him about the old-kid-caught-with-a-joint-in-his-pocket-goes-up-the-river story that everyone decries. It happens, he says. Injustices occur around us every day, but in the prison in which he works, there is not a single offender (out of over 2,800) who is in prison for having “personal use” quantities of drugs alone.
Let us be adult citizens and make our OWN decisions…and live with the consequences of those decisions. Say ‘no’ to nanny goverment!
In case anyone missed it, I’m all for the OP’s plan, even the ‘hard’ drugs. Regulate the quality using FDA type methods, and make the consequences for fucking up fairly harsh (as they should be for alchohol btw…as my governor says, you drink, you drive, you lose). Then leave it up to us to decide what risks we are willing to take…as adults.
As someone else up thread also said, do the same for prostitution.
I don’t have a problem with this at all- at least as long as the tendency I see to treat actual crime as a medical issue is also eliminated. I work in the criminal justice system, and too often I see people escape jail and instead be sentenced to drug rehab programs because " I was high when I beat her up" or " I stole the money to buy drugs".
I’m all for it with the condition that the user be obligated to sign an informed consent form stating that they will not be resuscitated if they OD.
I’ve always been of the mind that drugs are your business, and I’ve also always been of the mind that if you’re that stupid the public should not be forced to save you from yourself nor should they be forced to deal with the drooling, incompetent, helpless person you will become if you OD.
Sometimes you roll the dice and they come up craps, like they did for Len Bias 20 years ago. Too bad, so sad. Nobody makes you snort your life up your nose or shoot it into your arm, so nobody should have to bear the burden of your decision but you.
As I said “(and) live with the consequences of those decisions”. IOW we are responsible for our own actions…and when we fuck up, as I tell my son, there are consequences.
Do you believe that this policy should also be applied to legal drugs? Valium, Xanax, Oxycontin? What about alcohol? Why should only the new kids on the block get this consent deal?
Because no doctor will prescribe smack or coke for your health and wellness. A prescribed drug should be exempted for that reason.
You can argue booze, but remember that booze has a long history of social use. Hypocrisy? Sure. But let’s not kid ourselves here. The real bad boys like heroin simply do not compare with alcohol.
Maybe, but think about this: two different men overdose, one on Valium and one on heroin. They are both found by paramedics. The first one deserves to live and the second one deserves to die? What if the first man is a recreational user of Valium the same way the second one is a recreational user of heroin? You really think the former has some kind of moral high ground over the former? Please, throw your notions of sin out the window when life and death is at stake - ANYONE who is dying deserves to be rescued. No exceptions.
Huge difference between smoking/injecting a drug and taking it orally; just like beer and hard liquor, even though they are the same chemical. Prohibition shifts consumption towards more potent preparations and methods.
There’s also huge difference between current drug users who are ‘visible’, as opposed to ‘invisible’.
Image of proportion of users who inject, among contact group (exposed to the law and/or treatment) and zero-contact group.
Image of the severity of dependence in contact & zero-contact groups.
Since drug possession was illegal even prior to 1980, this possibility is likely if
a)criminals were using/dealing and getting caught with drugs at a much lower rate.
b)prosecutors weren’t too keen on extending sentences before 1980.
You also have to be leery of how the law defines “personal use” quantities and what constitutes just ‘possession’. There are states where passing a joint is “dealing” (Wyoming: Sale or delivery of [any amount of] marijuana is punishable by up to 10 years in prison) There are many automatic charges added, like ‘intent to sell’ if the quantity goes above a certain limit, irrespective of the act. As per the drug surveys (NSDUH 2004), only 1 out of 6 bought their pot from a ‘dealer’. 78.7% buy it from a friend, 4% from a relative. So if these core group of “hookups” are buying for the lot and are then busted, they are likely to be treated as distributors/dealers, whereas they wouldn’t be dealing in the first place if pot were legal. And neither would the truck driver trying to ferret 100kg of pot across the state. All of this ignores that we are only talking about marijuana here. What about ecstasy laws? Or someone with a small quantity of coke or ketamine? The laws for other drugs aren’t as lenient or flexible.
Maybe, but think about this: two different men overdose, one on Valium and one on heroin. They are both found by paramedics. The first one deserves to live and the second one deserves to die? What if the first man is a recreational user of Valium the same way the second one is a recreational user of heroin? You really think the former has some kind of moral high ground over the latter? Please, throw your notions of sin out the window when life and death is at stake - ANYONE who is dying deserves to be rescued. No exceptions.
Like most in this thread, I agree with this (and with extending it to prostitution). My only disagreement with the OP is in the phrase “incidental damage”. I have a darker view of what has happened in the past thirty years, which is that the damage, to human rights and to the constitution, has been and remains the point, and drugs are just the mcguffin.