Saturday, 28 May 2011

A reasonable drug debate

An objective and rational debate on drug policy is not one we usually see in political discourse. It usually corresponds to an established response of hysteria that suppresses free criticism and dissenting opinions on the prohibitionist "War on Drugs" entirely. I would not recommend the great majority of often uniformly asinine and bigoted columns in The Telegraph, but there is somewhat often an exception, such as by Julian Astle, former Liberal Democrat advisor and director of progressive thinktank CentreForum, on the Global Commison on Drugs. "We're losing the war on drugs. Thank goodness someone is saying so."

My Reddit response provided some insightful discussion.

'Portugal enacted decriminalization of the use of drugs in 2000, with drug addicts and abusers being provided with mandatory rehabilitation rather than imprisonment. It has since given the country the lowest statistics of drug related criminality and mortality in Europe. We imprison responsible adults for using cannabis recreationally like alcohol, while imprisoning people with debilitating and terminal illnesses for using it as a medicine. Our prisons are overcrowded with desperate addicts and victimless criminals, while violent international criminal cartels and terrorist organizations profiteer in multi-trillions from prohibition, a policy which is absolutely counterproductive and completely ineffective, as well as an authoritarian violation of individual liberty and a humanitarian disaster. The answer is legalization and regulation, to minimize the harm, humanely prevent addiction and eradicate the overwhelming majority of drug-related crime.'

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