To the editor:
I liked Andres Oppenheimer’s piece about the OAS drug report.
I liked it less when he got to the part starting with “My opinion.”
It’s good that Oppenheimer sees the sense of legalizing marijuana, but the hard drugs should be available at a reasonable price to addicts too. One hundred to 150 years ago, many people were addicted to drugs like cocaine and morphine that they purchased from their local pharmacy. They were usually in liquid form and not extremely expensive, so the addiction was milder than if injected or snorted like today. Most of these people held down jobs and lived somewhat normal lives.
How could it be worse to have governments, even if corrupt, providing dope to addicts than to have murderous cartels doing it? And that’s only the political aspect of the effect of legalization. The most important effect would be to stop imprisoning people for the weakness of being addicted.
Anyway, it would actually reduce corruption in governments because there would no longer be a market need for the cartels with their bribes and murders.
Understanding addiction as a health issue is the enlightened view. Punishment has never and will never work to quell it. Treatment, even if imposed involuntarily, is the best bet although in some people nothing will work.
If I were at a presidential press conference and got to ask a question, I would say: “Mr. President, should you have been imprisoned for your illegal drug use, and if not, why does your administration continue to imprison people for the same offenses?”