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Archive for Friday, May 31, 2013

Letter: Legalized drugs

May 31, 2013

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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?”

Comments

donttreadonme 10 months, 3 weeks ago

After all, drugs don't kill people, only people kill people.

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donttreadonme 10 months, 3 weeks ago

After all, drugs don't kill people, only people kill people.

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donttreadonme 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Liberty2751 day, 1 hour ago ... Drugs aren't the problem. Government trying to curb the freedom of Americans is the problem."

+1!

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Liberty275 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The primary reason to end prohibition is stopping the violence associated with the black market. Enough people have been killed because of the black market. It is insane to fail for 50 years yet continue the policy even though it has little effect other than making little warlords that commit actual crimes like murder and tax evasion.

The war on drugs is lost. Enough Americans have died at the hands of criminals and the state. America needs a better solution to the problem. Freedom is the solution. End prohibition and you end the problem. When was the last time someone died in a Glenlivet deal gone bad? Do you recall the last time two liquor stores went to war over "turf"?

Drugs aren't the problem. Government trying to curb the freedom of Americans is the problem.

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jack22 10 months, 3 weeks ago

There is always going to be a small percentage of people who use drugs. We as a society should do all we can to help these people quit or at least minimize their usage. Making drugs legal is not going to greatly increase consumption of drugs any more than lowering the cost of cigarettes is going to encourage people who already smoke to double their habit from one pack to three packs a day. In fact, legalizing drugs may reduce dependence for those currently addicted as they would no longer face incarceration, be ostracized from society, and could be encouraged to seek treatment. When drugs are illegal addicts are at the mercy of drug dealers who don't always provide safe and consistent drugs. People who take illegal drugs often die from drug overdoses because they're never sure of the purity and dosage of the drugs they're taking. By legalizing drugs we could decrease the number of overdoses by providing a safe and clean product. Legalizing drugs would also diminish many of the other illegal activities associated with drug usage. Problems like armed robbery and prostitution often go hand in hand with illegal drugs because addicts have few resources to pay the extreme costs associated with illegal drugs. There is no reason cocaine should cost more than gold. Once we legalize drugs we can eliminate the market for drug dealers and tax the product to pay for rehabilitation and health care.

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ChuckFInster 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Why not just legalize and tax everything ?

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75x55 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Because, dear letter writer - you will then put the government and it's law enforcement in direct competition with the drug cartels and distribution networks.

Do you think for a minute that the alleged benefit of this is actually going to be a "safer experience" for everyone?

Government, like all nanny-state governing structures, will attempt to tax the bejesus out of the product in order to 'discourage' the behavior, all the while raking in the money from the addicts who won't be able to change their behavior (see ANYTHING ABOUT CIGARETTES!). Not to mention that now that drug addiction and it's physical damages is now legitimate and would entitle even greater public health care costs and burden.

The illegal distributors will have to undercut the "legitimate" sources, and law enforcement will be just as busy trying to protect the government's drug dealing from private sector criminal operators. Don't think they're going to give up on their long-established business, no sir. Ah, I can smell the corruption of public officials from here....

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Currahee 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't believe what I'm reading. Legalizing currently illegal drugs? If they didn't harm anyone when they were legal- why are they banned now? Could it be some sort of big pharma conspiracy? No! These substances are bad for a reason- people get addicted to them quickly and they wont do it in moderation. Heroin, meth, etc. all give you an addictive feeling of pleasure that people drive themselves mad to experience again but never will.

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Onatop 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You know - anyone who thinks drugs are OK - they have a mental illness - look at what kind fo life they lead and the morals , respectability , vaules and self respect ? I myself think selling drugs should be a death pentaly offense this would save tax payers so much money - just to bury them. Very few today have values, self esteem -

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oldbaldguy 10 months, 3 weeks ago

legalize marijuana and tax the heck out of it like cigarettes. hard stuff still needs to be regulated. users should not go to prison, but rehab is expensive and politically not sustainable for most office holders.

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Even_Par 10 months, 3 weeks ago

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Why have any rules against getting stoned? Even the President is a pot smoker. So why not allow everyone get stoned?

You know the President is for it. Washington and Colorado can break federal laws and not be prosecuted by Holder. Arizona should have broken federal pot laws instead of faux federal immigration laws. Then Holder would have left them alone.

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cheeseburger 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't use those either. Don't need crutches.

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cheeseburger 10 months, 3 weeks ago

What a pathetic life you people must have when weed, crack, and meth are your gateways to happiness and contentment.

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Ron Holzwarth 10 months, 3 weeks ago

People who are in jail or prison for drug offenses do not get paid to work at a job, and therefore they do not pay income tax. Considering that approximately 330,000 people are presently incarcerated for those offenses, that accounts for a lot of the national deficit.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/dec/17/us_has_330000_drug_offenders_pri

That is in addition to the incarceration costs, which average $31,307 per inmate per year.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57418495/the-cost-of-a-nation-of-incarceration/

Add to that the costs spent on the enforcement for the war on drugs. The federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010. In addition to that, state and local governments spent at least another 25 billion dollars. However, some of that might be for incarceration costs, those statistics do not specify whether that is included or not.
http://www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock

There is a racial aspect to the present situation as well, the following is a clip from:
http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet

1) 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.

2) African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.

3) African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months).
-end of clip-

I believe it would be better to legalize and heavily tax the less harmful drugs, because that would both cut a lot of costs as well as be very lucrative for both the state and federal governments. The nation simply cannot afford to continue the present policy.

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