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The pitfalls of legalizing drugs

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According to the pro-drug lobby – and with a boost from the media – Uruguay is leading the world by legalizing marijuana. The pro-drug lobby claims that prohibition is a failure and that all drugs should be legalized. Marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug in the world, is just the leader of this campaign. The strategy takes its precedent from the legalization of the sale of alcohol, but the policy is disarmingly simplistic and presents a terrible threat to public health and safety.

Alcohol and tobacco are the leading preventable causes of illness and death in the United States and the rest of the developed world. This is not because they are more dangerous than drugs that are currently illegal, but because they are legal and commercially produced and distributed.

Look at the numbers: In the United States, 52% of those aged 12 and older drank alcohol in the past month, and 27% used tobacco, but only nine percent used any illegal drug and only seven percent used marijuana. This indicates that prohibition is successfully deterring illegal drug use. While prohibition is not without real costs, and today’s drug policy can be improved, our balanced and restrictive drug policy is limiting the damage done by illegal drug use in the United States and around the world.

The promises of drug legalization are bogus. Legalizing marijuana would not stop the production, sale, or use of illegal marijuana. If marijuana were taxed and regulated, there would be plenty of marijuana grown and sold on the black market. Furthermore, normalizing marijuana use would increase demand in both the legal and illegal markets.

The tax bonanza promoted by legalization advocates is hard to take seriously. Legal marijuana sales would struggle to compete with black-market sales, which would continue to provide more potent products at lower, tax-free prices. To the extent that there would be tax revenues from legal marijuana, they would pale in comparison to the social costs. In the United States, the tax revenues from alcohol and tobacco are far less than their social costs. Is this an attractive precedent? I don’t think so.

The public has been led to believe that this politically potent movement is just about marijuana. It is not. Every argument made today in support of marijuana legalization is also being made – or will be made – for other illegal drugs.

The real drug-abuse challenge facing the world today is seldom recognized, let alone debated. It is rooted not in politics, but in biology. Drugs of abuse, including marijuana, target the brain’s reward system more intensely than natural pleasures such as food and sex. Drugs are addicting not because users experience withdrawal when they stop using them, but because they produce a brain reward that the once-addicted brain never forgets. That is why relapses to drug use are so common long after all withdrawal symptoms have passed.

To combat the rising demand for illegal drugs around the world, we must fashion more effective strategies to limit the use of drugs of abuse outside legitimate and controlled medical situations – strategies that are affordable and compatible with contemporary laws and culture. This is an enormous task, but one that can be completed with international cooperation and leadership. Drug use can be reduced by, among other things, implementing strong prevention strategies, increasing access to treatment, improving quality of treatment, and leveraging the criminal justice system to reduce drug use while also reducing recidivism and incarceration. Legalizing drugs, including marijuana, is absolutely not the new and better idea to reduce the toll of illegal drug use.

As for Uruguay, President José Mujica and his legislature have produced a media sensation. It is difficult to imagine that legalizing marijuana as envisioned in Uruguay’s proposed law could result in the reduction of Uruguay’s role as a country used for drug transit for Paraguayan marijuana and Bolivian cocaine. Monitoring the outcomes of this policy change is enormously important. Sadly, there is little doubt that the new law will encourage the use and sale of marijuana and other drugs of abuse both in Uruguay and in the international marketplace.

Having spent four decades working to reduce drug use and lower the devastating public-health costs of drug abuse, I struggle to understand why so many otherwise sensible and responsible people accept the drug legalization hogwash.

This article originally appeared at www.themarknews.com

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Look at the numbers: In the United States, 52% of those aged 12 and older drank alcohol in the past month, and 27% used tobacco, but only nine percent used any illegal drug and only seven percent used marijuana. This indicates that prohibition is successfully deterring illegal drug use.

This doesn't indicate anything of the sort! My goodness, this is the logic from someone dictating drug policy?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

A large part of the HIGH cost of illegal drugs is that there is legal recourse to recoup lost products. You can't buy insurance, so you've to spend tons of your operating cash on security, as well as evading arrest.

Not to mention the massive economies of scale that legalization would afford to mass producers.

Legalized pot would be a lot CHEAPER than illegal pot.

Saying that illegal, black market pot would still be cheaper than legally produced pot is like saying some dude can cook up some whiskey in his bath tub and undercut Jack Daniels.

Ain't gonna happen.

I don't know WHAT this guy is smoking.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

In a nutshell, the legalization of drugs for some would be considered morally wrong. Marijuana is often used as a stepping-stone leading to other harder drugs. Many crimes are committed under the influence of drugs and the chances of the drugs falling into the hands of children could increase. Physical damage would be done to users that abuse drugs including the danger of secondhand smokers damage to bystanders. Last of all people who have committed or are likely to commit more serious drug crimes can be taken off the street

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Bravo, Mr. DuPont. A well written article.

I, too, do not understand how people buy into "the drug legalization hogwash". Marijuana is a Class 1 category narcotic here in the U.S. for a very good reason: it provides no benefit to anyone. Only dopes use dope.

RR

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

im an adult capable of making my own decisions. regulations on the whole are out of control in the US. if i want to smoke pot its my own business. if parents cant control their kids its their own fault and responisble adults shouldnt be punished. all this fear mongering about marijuana is rediculous.

big surprise that this guy wants to keep marijauna illegal as he personally profits from workplace drug testing.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The author is right on all of his points. Alcohol and tobacco are among the leading cause of early death in America, and drug-related deaths are already a problem. It is fine and dandy if you want to kill yourself with alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, but don't ask me to pay for your healthcare.

im an adult capable of making my own decisions.

You are certainly capable of making your own decisions, but making good decisions is entirely different matter. Jails around the world are full of adults who have made bad decisions.

Saying that illegal, black market pot would still be cheaper than legally produced pot is like saying some dude can cook up some whiskey in his bath tub and undercut Jack Daniels.

America is full of black market and counterfeit cigarettes, as well as counterfeit liquor. It's rather ironic that at a time when taxes are being raised on tobacco to curb use, the government considers legalizing more ways of damaging one's health. Marijuana has been legalized in a few places mainly because the local governments have decided that the regulation and sale of marijuana will raise revenue. As anyone knows, growing marijuana is not difficult, few other plants are easier to grow, or grow faster. It's very likely that other costs of legalized use will outweigh any revenue raised.

As a former investigator in law enforcement, I have investigated quite a number of traffic accidents which were caused by drivers under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, many of these accidents were fatal.

A full third of traffic deaths in America (which number up to 40,000 per year) are alcohol-related. Legalizing marijuana is going to add significantly to that number. Even though marijuana is illegal in America, about 8% of accidents resulting in death or serious injury are marijuana related. How much will this number change if marijuana becomes legal?

But, if it makes you feel good, go ahead and do it. To some people that is all that matters, regardless of the consequences to themselves or others.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Alcohol has more crime associated with it than marijuana... so make that illegal if marijuana is to remain illegal.

And look at the Netherlands, you can get anything there... anything. But how much drug related crime do they have there compared to the US? It has a lot to do with culture, poverty issues, and education, which America is really behind on.

You legalize "drugs" and the government can get money from it. If they use that money to educate people on drugs like they did cigarettes, things MIGHT get better.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That in the so-called Land of the Free people can be criminalized for using a naturally occurring substance in the privacy of their own homes beggars belief. By all means throw the book at people for crimes committed under the influence - or indeed committed when sober - but a grown man should be able to do what he wants at home.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The best argument for legalisation is it takes money away from the nasty swines that dominate the illegal drug business. The drawback is it will lead to a large pool of unemployable deadbeats who will expect others to fund their lifestyle. Whether the income from the first is enough to balance the cost of the second is the key point.

Maybe drugs should only be legal for those who pay a certain amount in taxes each year. Or make people choose between receiving benefits and taking drugs. That can include tobacco and alcohol.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It is fine and dandy if you want to kill yourself with alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, but don't ask me to pay for your healthcare.

so can i slap the cheeseburger and mt dew out of your hands?

You are certainly capable of making your own decisions, but making good decisions is entirely different matter. Jails around the world are full of adults who have made bad decisions.

i certainly dont need the government to tell me what a "good decision" is. jails are also full of people who have commited non-violent "drug related crimes". incarcerating people makes a lot of money for a lot of different companies. why do you think there are private jails? and why does america have the highest incarceration rate in the world?

A full third of traffic deaths in America (which number up to 40,000 per year) are alcohol-related.

so by your logic alcohol should be illegal as well. and pain killers and sleeping pills. basically anything that impairs your ability to operated heavy machinary.

about 8% of accidents resulting in death or serious injury are marijuana related.

source please

4 ( +4 / -0 )

so can i slap the cheeseburger and mt dew out of your hands?

One has too eat, one need not smoke dope, or drink alcohol. I can drive a car safely after eating a cheeseburger, or drinking a mountain dew, but not so so safely after a drink or smoking weed.

Perhaps you should try and see what it is like to call a complete stranger (or sometimes someone you know) and tell them that their son, daughter, father, or mother has been killed in an accident, or worse yet, have to tell them in person. Or see the results of such accidents up close, and to see people die in front of your eyes, or while you are holding their hand in their last moment, while lying to them and telling them "you are going to be fine". I have done all of these. First you feel pity, and a great sadness, then you feel the anger come on, because the death wasn't necessary. The death resulted because someone decided to get drunk, or get high, or stupid, and then go out and get someone killed. How ironic for me that one of my own family members would be killed in such a way. For the lucky ones who don't die, there is just pain and suffering, lost work, and lawsuits.

I realized long ago the simple fact that people are stupid. They may be poor or wealthy, educated, or ignorant, but regardless of their situation, most people are stupid. They simply don't have the ability to think. Most stupidity is harmless, and affects only those who exercise it. But when one's stupidity intrudes into the lives of others, it becomes a problem. For some reason, most people act only for the moment, without a thought to the consequences which might result from that act. When the thug takes a gun into a convenience store to rob it, he doesn't think that he is risking his life and the lives of others for a handful of dollars. The minimum jail time a thief will serve for armed robbery is ten years. At minimum wage, a person can make a lot of money over ten years, a hundred times as much as one can get robbing a liquor store. When one is getting blotto at home, and the keys to the car are hanging next to the door, and one gets the munchies, what then? Being stupid at home is fine, but once one walks out the door, it is inexcusable. The main problem with stupidity is that it is progressive and contagious. One stupid act leads to another stupid act, and these build upon each other. And stupidity, like misery, loves company.

Why does a person need to get drunk or high? Having run across many heroine addicts, crackheads, and alcoholics living in the gutter, or behind bars, I always wonder what such people were thinking when they first took a drink, injected heroine, or inhaled crack. The fact is, like most people, they weren't thinking at all. They simply wanted to feel good. But that good feeling is nothing but a chemically-induced lie. Unfortunately, stupid people readily believe lies. As time goes on, the lies may become the only truth they know. People throw their lives away for the sake of temporary, artificial pleasure.

Think about the very first time you tasted alcohol, or inhaled smoke from a cigarette or joint. What was your body's immediate reaction? At that moment, your body had more sense than your mind. But, being stupid, you overruled your body's reaction, and kept going. If you are still doing it now, you are even more stupid than you were when you started. Bravo.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Having spent four decades working to reduce drug use and lower the devastating public-health costs of drug abuse, I struggle to understand why so many otherwise sensible and responsible people accept the drug legalization hogwash.

Because they've been watching people like you fail.

Uruguay has legalized marijuana - under fairly restricted circumstances. Relax.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One has too eat, one need not smoke dope, or drink alcohol. [sic]

my point was, since you missed it, eating unhealthy foods that lead to obesity, diabetis, heart disease, ect. is far more damaging to your health than smoking marijuana. so if you want to outlaw anything that might cause your health insurance to increase, you should start there.

im not going to go down your driving while intoxicated tangent. its a straw man argument. as for your assertion that people are stupid, well, its hard to argue after reading your post.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I can't beleive there are people who believe the tripe posted in this article. I guess there will always be a portion of the population too stupid to think for themselves. Brainwashed fools.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I skipped to the bottom to see who'd written it after reading the first paragraph. Was there anything worth reading in it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finally a piece that discusses both the pros and cons rather than the shallow whining of one side. While I don't necessarily agree with all of the conclusions, it is certainly refreshing to see the topic treated with a bit of rational fairness for a change. Kudos.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My last THI case came in as an "injury" accident which occurred on the local highway by the international airport. I arrived to find a mess along the entire right side of the highway. There were bits of metal, plastic, blood, and body parts everywhere. Apparently the victim had been riding a small motorcycle, and had been hit by several vehicles. After a few minutes, I counted enough body parts to realize there were actually two victims. It took a little more time to discover that the victims were a young man and a young woman, there was not enough left of their heads or teeth to tell by their faces which was which.

After asking a few questions, I found out that a speeding car had struck the motorcyle from behind at high speed, knocking the riders onto the travel lanes, where they were run over multiple times. Another officer found the car abandoned about a mile away, reeking of marijuana smoke. The car had no insurance or valid registration, but another officer recognized the car, and knew the owner, a young man with a history of drug arrests on his record, and a revoked license. The driver was picked up a couple hours later.

Somehow the mother of the young man had found out about the accodent, and came running onto the scene. At that time body parts were being shoveled up by the medical examiner's office. I had to grab her and drag her to my car, and lock the door to keep her from running out. The best I could do to console her was to tell her that we didn't know if her son was one of the victims, which was true, because there was not enough of either body to make an identity. But eventually a wallet was found, and the male victim was indeed her son.

Previous to this incident, I had a call on the same stretch of road, only a quarter of a mile away. When I arraived at that call, the fire department was already on scene extracting the victim from his car. His left arm was torn off almost to his neck, and the bleeding could not be stopped. He was screaming for his mother as he died. He was a 20 year old university student who was visiting his family for the holidays. He was hit by a driver who had run a red light at high speed, the drver had been smoking marijuana and drinking.

Legalzing drugs is going to increase needless deaths like these, it is stupid to think otherwise. But go ahead, knock yourselves out,

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

People take drugs because they want to change something about their lives. There are many reasons why they take drugs. Some do it to fit in, escape, relax, relieve boredom, rebel, experiment, or for young people to seem grown up. They think that drugs are a solution. But eventually the drug becomes the problem. Difficult as it may be to face one's problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not take the poison and toxic drugs in the first place. Remember without your health you have nothing. Don't ruin your life.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Depends on the drug, Novenachama. Not every banned drug is crack. There are plenty of recreational drugs which are nonaddictive and don't even cause long-term harm, but are just banned because they are fun and have "no medical use."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But eventually the drug becomes the problem. Difficult as it may be to face one's problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them.

This (and Sangetsu's interminable rants) are sanctimonious poppycock.

You might as well lecture someone about having a bottle of wine.

We reached the point a long time ago in Britain where the only public figures who can credibly claim to have never taken drugs are ludicrous caricatures like Norman Tebbit, Anne Widdecombe, and Peter Hitchens.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ha Ha Ha,

I stopped reading after the 2nd line, when I saw the "by-line", Mr. DuPont.

I suppose it might be coincidental, but the DuPont family were instrumental in getting pot illegalized in the US and then the rest of the world back in the 50's(?) when their chemical co started making the first viable synthetic ropes, with hemp rope being their biggest competitor (as, it is VERY strong, very cheap and easy to make). They led the charge w/ scare tactics about blacks smoking dope and raping white women etc etc

Still burning the candle I see. Ganbare! Unfortunately for you, the rest of the world is waking up to the nonsense!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

. as for your assertion that people are stupid, well, its hard to argue after reading your post.

This (and Sangetsu's interminable rants) are sanctimonious poppycock.

Really? Because Sangetsus posts came across as remarkably well reasoned, honest and intelligent to me. I read far more ranty-type emails from people who want to legalize everything.

I dont honestly know what the answer is. I can very clearly see the arguments for and against on both sides. All I can say for certain is that for people who have experienced first-hand the loss associated with drug addiction - and I am one of them - I can understand their strong feelings on the subject. It is heartbreaking to see someone you love slowly shutting down one organ by one, while the doctors work feverishly to keep them alive, knowing that it could all have been so different.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Really? Because Sangetsus posts came across as remarkably well reasoned, honest and intelligent to me. I read far more ranty-type emails from people who want to legalize everything.

Sangetsu's posts do not attempt to distinguish between moderation and excess. Not everyone who likes to drink wine, beer or whisky is a raging alchoholic, or likely to become one.

So his catalogue of horrific car crashes - dwelling lovingly on the grim details - is not particularly useful as a warning against the dangers of marijuana. Nor is implying that people are stupid for using it, or for drinking alcohol.

The dangers of all drugs, including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, presciption drugs (widely abused in the heavily medicated US), and the full range of illegal substances should be individually assessed, rather than lumping together the illegals as if they can be considered as one thing, and automatically bad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But eventually the drug becomes the problem.

Really? Because pretty much every person I knew in high school at least smoked pot, and many did much more. And they went on to become normal members of society for the most part - some not doing drugs ever anymore, some doing them on occasion.

It's drug abuse that is a problem. Not drug use.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Marijuana is a Class 1 category narcotic here in the U.S. for a very good reason: it provides no benefit to anyone.

No, the reason it was on Schedule 1 in the first place was that after Prohibition was repealed, the pro-Prohibition people wanted something else to blame after they lost, so they focused on marijuana, running ads against it, and been feeding the population the fear into them ever since. It was thru that fear-mongering, not scientific data, and people hereafter just didn't bother questioning the reason.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

your arguments are from a position of incredulity only - and therefore are fallacious. I'm afraid you have FAILED to make a coherent argument not to end prohibition on recreational drugs. A stance now supported by most of the world's leading intellectuals and health organisations.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

http://www.quora.com/Dealing-Drugs-Drug-Trafficking-and-the-Drug-Trade/Isnt-a-drug-dealer-heroic-figure-for-some

I am in favor of partial legalization and regulating its users. Read my answer on article above.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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