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posted by martyb on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-way-too-much-sense dept.

AlterNet reports

Embracing a harm reduction and public health perspective, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals has released a signed editorial calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of currently illegal drugs.

In an editorial [May 10] entitled Drugs Should Be Legalized, Regulated, and Taxed, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, notes that under drug prohibition, the global trade "fuels organized crime and human misery", and asks, "Why should it not instead fund public services?"

Citing an opinion piece[1] in the same issue of the BMJ from British members of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse, Godlee notes that in the United Kingdom (as in the United States) "vast sums are spent prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of drugs into cities" while that money would be much better "spent on quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child protection". Under legalization, "revenues could be diverted from criminal gangs into government coffers", she writes.

Godlee notes that the global drug prohibition consensus is fraying around the edges, and points to the example of Portugal, which decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. There, drug use remains in line with levels in other European countries, but the harms associated with drug use under prohibition have decreased dramatically, particularly in terms of fatal drug overdoses and the spread of injection drug-related infectious disease.

[1] Bad link in TFA; corrected in TFS.

Previous: Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:21PM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:21PM (#680126) Journal

    I'm guessing you have heard about supervised injection sites as a method of reducing the harm of heroin. Since heroin overdoses are typically easy to treat if a first responder is nearby.

    Meth is probably worse than heroin in some ways. But if you want to reduce harm, you have to take bold steps. People are probably not going to bother cooking meth in their house if they can get pharmaceutical grade stuff from the government.

    Legalizing across the board would put many alternatives to $BAD_DRUG on the market. Selling the worst of the worst, drugs like meth and heroin, becomes a revenue generator rather than a revenue drain that doesn't do much to stop the activity. You bring up fentanyl. Most heroin customers want to avoid fentanyl. They can't because heroin is often cut with more dangerous substances. It would be simple enough to legalize/decriminalize everything, but not provide easy access to the drugs that could be considered straight up chemical weapons.

    Drugs like LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and others are relatively safe and have legitimate medical uses. Yet they are all lumped into Schedule I. It's time to reevaluate everything, every unscientific assumption. Study Portugal's model, and you might find that it is a good thing, even if it means some people or kids have easier ways to get their hands on scary meth and other "hard drugs".

    The definition of insanity blah blah blah blah blah.

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  • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:26PM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:26PM (#680180) Journal

    You're mostly right, and there's a reason I said decriminalize for the harder ones rather than "keep exactly as illegal as they are now." What we really need to do is fix the underlying societal problems that cause people to turn to these substances, but Satan's gonna get his tongue stuck to a pole in the Malebolge before our government does that.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:44PM (#680206)

    Most heroin customers want to avoid fentanyl

    Wrong. Totally wrong! Junkies actually *want* fentanyl. They ask for it. They want the extra kick fentanyl gives. Maybe weekend warriors and occasional users want "pure" drugs but junkies know what gets them higher. Just ask any dealer.