|Picture: Psychonaut via Wiki Commons|
1. The war on drugs has been a catastrophic and expensive failure, costing governments around the world 100 billion dollars every year. It's a ridiculous waste of public money. The botched attempt at alcohol prohibition in the 1920's should have shown lawmakers that making a narcotic illegal doesn't prevent people from taking it. Policing has also been extremely ineffective. Even in Afghanistan, where there was a huge US military presence, the opium trade reached record levels. A new strategy to combat drug use is required.
2. As a society, we are free to enact all manner of harm on our bodies and minds. We can eat until we die from heart failure, and smoke until we get lung cancer. People who use drugs are harming their bodies, but that is their right in a free country. Your body is your property. Drug dealers are the real criminals because their objective is to increase the number of people who are abusing their bodies with drugs. So lets get a grip and stop locking up drug users.
3. The most effective way to close down a business is to undercut them and take their customers. The drug-dealing business is no different. Western governments should understand that the only way to end drug use is to control the market. If a government nationalized the drug trade; buying in bulk and selling to users for zero profit, all of the drug dealers in that country would be instantly forced out of business. The drive for new addicts would end.
4. If drugs were legalized, something could be done about the problem. Users would have better access to health and rehabilitation services, and their habits could be moderated better by health professionals. The trendy image associated with drug use could be quashed and re-branded. It would be considered a health problem rather than a fashion choice, making it less attractive to the young and vulnerable.
After a short time, sales could be restricted to those who have a preexisting addiction, meaning no new addicts would be created by the system. The dealers wouldn't be able to fill the gap. Any new addicts they manage to create would be immediately lost to the non-profit prices offered by the government. Eventually, the drugs problem would diminish and die out.
5. If drugs were sold legally at zero profit, most of the crime associated with the problem would go away. There would be fewer muggings and burglaries because users wouldn't have to find money to fund their habit. The crime associated with the drug-dealing enterprise would also vanish, though we could probably expect criminals to move into other vices such as gambling and prostitution.
Legalization is a solution that makes sense to professionals working in the field. Lets start listening to them!