Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jun 2007
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Alan Randell


Re: Cops target drug scene (Packet & Times, May 17)

Why do governments prohibit certain drugs?

Is it to reduce the number of people using the drugs?

No, that can't be the reason because usage seems to have skyrocketed.
Before marijuana was prohibited, hardly anyone used it. Now, it is
difficult to find anyone who has not used it.

Is it to protect users from harm?

No, that can't be the reason because users suffer more when a drug is
banned as compared to when it is legally available.

My wife and I became well acquainted with this aspect of government
policy when we lost our 19-year-old son to street heroin in 1993. Many
more people died from the effects of bad booze during Prohibition than
when alcohol was legally available. The harm argument is moot in any
event because two of our more dangerous drugs - alcohol and tobacco -
are legal.

Is it to reduce the crime associated with illegal drugs?

No, that can't be the reason because banning a drug always gives rise
to more crime (drug cartels, petty crimes by users as prohibition
makes drug prices much higher, violent disputes between dealers, etc.)
than when the drug is legally available.

Is it to distract and entertain the majority by ruining the lives of
the innocent minority who ingest or sell certain drugs? BINGO!

In short, drugs are highly useful, functional and beneficial
scapegoats. They provide a ruling class with fig leaves to place over
the unsightly social ills that are endemic to the social system over
which they preside.

Alan Randell
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