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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: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday May 17 2018, @07:54PM (4 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday May 17 2018, @07:54PM (#680861) Journal

    It seems not to say anything much about cutting off the international flow of narcotics. China, in what I am almost sure is ironic and poetic revenge for the Anglosphere poisoning them with opium for centuries, seems to be the main source of these potent fentanyls and family in the US isn't it?

    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
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  • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Friday May 18 2018, @09:06AM (3 children)

    by Wootery (2341) on Friday May 18 2018, @09:06AM (#681088)

    If I were running the BMJ, I'm not sure I'd want to weigh-in on international politics. Medical doctors, in their professional capacities as such, do well to remain above the political fray.

    The particular question of drug criminalisation is an exception. The question there is whether society is best served by treating drug abuse as criminal problem, or as a medical problem.

    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday May 18 2018, @07:31PM (2 children)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Friday May 18 2018, @07:31PM (#681339) Journal

      Oh, medical, for sure. Reason being, most of these drugs rewire the brain and nervous system. If that's not a clear case of "this is a medical problem" I don't know what is.

      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday May 21 2018, @09:11AM (1 child)

        by Wootery (2341) on Monday May 21 2018, @09:11AM (#682082)

        Seems to me the more compelling argument is that the war on drugs just isn't working.

        Slight aside: I'm currently reading Peter Hitchens' book, A Brief of History of Crime [], a.k.a. The Abolition of Liberty. He makes a pretty typical hard-conservative case in favour of drug criminalisation. I don't find him at all convincing.

        • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday May 21 2018, @04:22PM

          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday May 21 2018, @04:22PM (#682240) Journal

          Let's just say that between the two brothers Hitchens, Peter, er, didn't get the lion's share of the brains. Or human decency.

          I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...