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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.

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:20PM (1 child)

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:20PM (#680177) Journal
    "I think the current support for the war on drugs is more about ignorance, it isn't that most voters care."

    Sure, to a degree, but that very ignorance is part of what I'm talking about. It can be analyzed as coming from two main sources.

    In part this is - it just doesn't make sense for me to spend a large amount of time and energy becoming knowledgeable about the issue when it's only $1/day! I have other things to do with my time.

    And it's partly artificial ignorance i.e. the result of propaganda. Again, people that stand to lose $1/year have far less motive to create and disseminate propoganda than people that stand to gain $50/yr.

    So both of these elements can be seen as aspects of the same fundamental problem - that special interests tend strongly to outweigh the general interests in the decision making process in a democracy.
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @03:05AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @03:05AM (#680274)

    A good point about special interests, but without democracy ALL you get are special interests. Democracy at least provides some feedback from the populace.