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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 dry on Saturday May 26 2018, @03:35PM (1 child)

    by dry (223) on Saturday May 26 2018, @03:35PM (#684549) Journal

    Yes, the comparison to alcoholism is probably as good as any. Some people are in so much pain that they end up killing themselves trying to get away from it and lots are sustainable, as you say, drinking enough to get drunk every day for decades.
    Throw in the illegality, the expense and how addicting heroin is and that by itself can create a lot more stress and a horrible feedback cycle. Then there are the problems with purity, seems that most people who die due to heroin misjudge their dosage and die. Used to be a regular thing around here where a batch would hit the streets that was too pure and junkies would be dropping dead from taking what they thought was their usual dose and ODing. Now they're dying like flies from the heroin being cut with extra strength stuff.
    Really the problem is mental health, even experiments with rats show that happy rats don't become addicted though they will party now and again while overcrowded stressed out rats become addicts. Most of the alcoholics that I've known who drank themselves to death seemed to be veterans who couldn't handle the PTSD.

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  • (Score: 2) by bobthecimmerian on Tuesday May 29 2018, @07:07PM

    by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Tuesday May 29 2018, @07:07PM (#685805)

    I think you're underselling the risks of addiction some. I used to work with software for addiction management, and the psychologists and psychiatrists working in the field said that the majority of addictions were from injury or self-medicating a mental illness. That fits your assertion. But the same researcher said a substantial minority of addictions were just plain user errors. Jane was emotionally and mentally fine, developed a partying habit simply because partying was fun, and became an alcoholic or junkie all on her own.

    And of course, your risk of anxiety and depression and the associated risk of substance abuse goes up if you're facing stress. More than half of all Americans live with a frightening level of stress over finance on a day to day basis. I'm sure that doesn't help.