about myself

i'm not much into drugs. i've tried hash, twice, donkeys years ago, got sick (twice, five minutes later) and never tried again. Unlike a certain personality (see below) I did inhale.

Bill not inhaling

 

First Ingrowing Toenail

Why not try something else?

Admittedly taking drugs isn't such a good idea on the whole. But the way we've been trying to prevent people from taking them, isn't very clever either, and it hasn't worked. A new attitude towards the problem might just be appropriate.

Since we are living in the best of possible capitalist worlds why not accept the fact, that, as long as there is a demand, someone will try to satisfy it - at a price. That leaves us with three main choices:

  • The status quo
  • A laissez-faire policy
  • Damage Control through Management

   

The status quo

El Chapo Guzman - 21st century entrepreneur El Chapo made a killing or two in the 21st century selling carbohydrates.

Probably the worst of all possible choices, based on the American penchant for punishment. Americans love criminals. And so they turn as many as twenty percent of their population into criminals. They've done it before in the twenties with prohibition and seeing what a disaster (not unmitigated, perhaps) it was, they do it again. Outlawing drugs will only work if you remove the users. No buyers and the sellers will be out of work. But even the Godly noticed, that you can't lock up fifty million people. (They are having a good go at it though.) And so they leave the users on the streets looking for their fix and try to catch the dealers.
    It hasn't worked and it won't work because it can't. People are willing to pay even the exorbitant prices set (inadvertently) by the police. And the surviving cats grow fat and worse, practically untouchable. Drug sales are second only to weapons sales and the huge fortunes amassed by criminals are more dangerous to society than the drug taking and the petty crime of the users.

Alphonse Scarface Capone - 20th century entrepreneur Alphonse made a killing or two in the 20th century selling carbohydrates.

Advocates of the status quo should always ask themselves: Has their policy achieved its aims? Are there less drug users (most users aren't addicts)? Has the economic and political power of the drug barons been curbed? Is the police force becoming more law enforcing and law abiding?
   

Laissez-faire

Accepted economic wisdom would have us believe, that giving free reign to the market forces would cure all our ills. It doesn't, of course. The moment people had the power, they got rid of it's worst aspects. Greed is not one of the most endearing qualities a person can have and shouldn't be the main criterion in our decision making.
Prices in a market economy may seem to be low, unfortunately they are only a down payment. The hidden costs are generally much higher than this first instalment, and very often paid by somebody else.
John Davison Rockefeller - 19th century entrepreneur Rocky made a killing (or several) in the 19th century selling carbohydrates.

Managing the problem

People have always drugged themselves, and considering the mounting pressures they are under nowadays, it's no wonder they do today. So let us sell them what they need, but as wisely as that can be done. In the Netherlands Grass has been freely sold in coffee shops for years with few adverse results (see The New Scientist).
I wouldn't entrust the sale of harder drugs to people driven by market forces. They should probably be sold by non-profit organisations powerful enough to withstand the attempts of organized crime to take over and inefficient enough not to attempt any marketing (which in these circles would be called pushing). The executive(?) branch of government seems to be perfect for the purpose.

Prices should be high enough to cover all the expenses of growing and distributing the drugs and leave enough money for the establishment of drug rehabilitation centres, anti drug education, support of unemployable addicts, councelling for family members and the fight against illegal vendors.
They should be low enough to be affordable for working people (the vast majority of users). In the case of addicts they would probably have to be distributed free of charge in order to prevent drug related crime.

It might be best if the drugs were consumed on the premises, administered by the centre's medically trained employees thus preventing infections and the spreading of diseases. Cots should be at the disposal of the customers (The old days opium den wasn't such a bad idea: You had a place to lie down and enjoy your vice, you were relatively safe from attacks, and you didn't drive your car or ride your horse, as it was then, while under the influence. In case of anything going wrong there was the "den mother" to either look after you, call for assistance or kick you out on the street.).

A special problem is deciding on the age limit. Drug abuse is a juvenile disease, but few people in their right minds would want ten year old children to have free access to drugs. Yet if the age limit is set too high, the underage market might be too big to be controllable.
A good age might be, when you're allowed to mess up your own life by drinking liquor, getting married and dropping out of school or mess up somebody else's by driving a car, getting married, buying firearms and electing some nincompoop.

 

 


 

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