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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, Interesting) by sjames on Tuesday May 15 2018, @11:32PM

    by sjames (2882) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @11:32PM (#680225) Journal

    Fentanyl is very much a medicine. It is used routinely in a hospital setting.

    It is frequently abused as well, of course.

    Many things can be and are abused. People sniff glue, they take meth, and occasionally you see some idiot using a lawnmower to trim hedges. That doesn't mean that they should be illegal. Most really bad ideas are not illegal.

    As a side note, it turns out that LSD and 'shrooms are two of the few things that are effective against migraine and cluster headaches and they have fewer nasty side effects than the legal and much less effective drugs.

    If you have a nasty food poisoning, paregoric (a mixture of kaolin and opium) will fix you up fast. That used to be available over the counter, and then with a signature (still no prescription needed).

    Then there's crazy knock-on effects of some drugs being illegal. It's getting so hard to buy a decent decongestant in some places that there are tongue-in-cheek articles on how to convert street meth back to decongestant in your kitchen.

    Starting Score:    1  point
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       Insightful=1, Interesting=1, Informative=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
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    Total Score:   5