Arguments for and against drug prohibition

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The prohibition of drugs is a subject of considerable controversy. The following is a presentation of arguments for and against drug prohibition.


[edit] Arguments for prohibition, and against legalization/decriminalization

[edit] Health

Advocates of drug prohibition argue that particular drugs should be illegal because they are harmful. The U.S. government has argued that illegal drugs are "far more deadly than alcohol" saying "although alcohol is used by seven times as many people as drugs, the number of deaths induced by those substances is not far apart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during 2000, there were 15,852 drug-induced deaths; only slightly less than the 18,539 alcohol-induced deaths."[1]

The US Drug Enforcement Administration also says:

There is a growing misconception that some illegal drugs can be taken safely. For example, savvy drug dealers have learned how to market drugs like Ecstasy to youth. Some in the Legalization Lobby even claim such drugs have medical value, despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence.

US Drug Enforcement Administration (2003). "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization"[2]

On the subject of Marijuana the DEA has said:

Marijuana is far more powerful than it used to be. In 2000, there were six times as many emergency room mentions of marijuana use as there were in 1990, despite the fact that the number of people using marijuana is roughly the same. In 1999, a record 225,000 Americans entered substance abuse treatment primarily for marijuana dependence, second only to heroin—and not by much. [...] According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.” Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including the most harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. For example, smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette. [...] The short-term effects are also harmful. They include: memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety. Marijuana impacts young people’s mental development, their ability to concentrate in school, and their motivation and initiative to reach goals. And marijuana affects people of all ages: Harvard University researchers report that the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana.

US Drug Enforcement Administration (2003). "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization"[2]

[edit] Crime, terrorism and social order

There is an argument that much crime and terrorism is drug related or drug funded and that prohibition should reduce this.

US president George W. Bush, in signing the Drug-Free Communities Act Reauthorization Bill in December 2001, said, "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America."[3]

The US Drug Enforcement Administration claims:

Crime, violence and drug use go hand in hand. Six times as many homicides are committed by people under the influence of drugs, as by those who are looking for money to buy drugs. Most drug crimes aren’t committed by people trying to pay for drugs; they’re committed by people on drugs.

US Drug Enforcement Administration (2003). "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization"[2]

The U.S. government began the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program in 1987 to collect information on drug use among urban arrestees. In 1997, the National Institute of Justice expanded and reengineered the DUF study and renamed it the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program. ADAM is a network of 34 research sites in select U.S. cities. [4]

DUF research indicates that:

  • Frequent use of hard drugs is one of the strongest indicators of a criminal career.
  • Offenders who use drugs are among the most serious and active criminals, engaging in both property and violent crime.
  • Early and persistent use of cocaine or heroin in the juvenile years is an indicator of serious, persistent criminal behavior in adulthood.
  • Those arrested who are drug users are more likely than those not using drugs to be rearrested on pretrial release or fail to appear at trial.

Detective superintendent Eva Brännmark from the Swedish National Police Board, in a speech given to Drug Free Australia’s first international conference on illicit drug use, said:

The police have been able to solve other crimes, e.g. burglaries, thefts and robberies, by questioning people arrested for using drugs. Some even provide information about people who are selling drugs, and the police have seized large amounts of drugs as a result of information from people brought in for a urine test. Many interrogations of drug abusers have also resulted in search warrants and the recovery of stolen property.

Brännmark, Eva (2007). "Law Enforcement – the Swedish Model" in Drug Free Australia’s First International Conference on Illicit Drug Use.[7]

[edit] Prohibition works

Approximate global opium production for recreational purposes

Some advocates of drug prohibition claim that it works if it is part of broad-action program that includes many different types of action from information in schools to drug free treatment groups for prisoners. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, has drawn attention to the drug policy of Sweden,[8][9] arguing:

Sweden is an excellent example. Drug use is just a third of the European average while spending on drug control is three times the EU average. For three decades,[nb 1] Sweden has had consistent and coherent drug-control policies, regardless of which party is in power. There is a strong emphasis on prevention, drug laws have been progressively tightened, and extensive treatment and rehabilitation opportunities are available to users. The police take drug crime seriously. Governments and societies must keep their nerve and avoid being swayed by misguided notions of tolerance. They must not lose sight of the fact that illicit drugs are dangerous - that is why the world agreed to restrict them.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of UNODC (March 2007). "Cannabis... call it anything but "soft"", The Independent (UK).[10]

In criticism of governments that have relaxed their drug laws, Antonio Maria Costa, speaking in Washington before the launch of the World Drug Report in June 2006, said:

After so many years of drug control experience, we now know that a coherent, long-term strategy can reduce drug supply, demand and trafficking. If this does not happen, it will be because some nations fail to take the drug issue sufficiently seriously and pursue inadequate policies. Many countries have the drug problem they deserve.

The quote was reported in the context of changes in cannabis classification in the United Kingdom when David Blunkett was Home Secretary and cannabis was downgraded from class B to class C, meaning that possession of small quantities of the drug was no longer an arrestable offence. The decision was taken on the recommendation of the UK Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, but Mr Costa warned:

Policy reversals leave young people confused as to just how dangerous cannabis is. With cannabis-related health damage increasing, it is fundamentally wrong for countries to make cannabis control dependent on which party is in government. The cannabis pandemic, like other challenges to public health, requires consensus, a consistent commitment across the political spectrum and by society at large. Today, the harmful characteristics of cannabis are no longer that different from those of other plant-based drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of UNODC (June 2006). Britain 'deserves its drugs problem' says UN, The Independent (UK).[11]

The US Drug Enforcement Administration claims to have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. In a document entitled "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" published in May 2003 the DEA said:

Now is not the time to abandon our efforts. The Legalization Lobby claims that the fight against drugs cannot be won. However, overall drug use is down by more than a third in the last twenty years, while cocaine use has dropped by an astounding 70 percent. Ninety-five percent of Americans do not use drugs. This is success by any standards.

US Drug Enforcement Administration (2003). "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization"[2]

[edit] Freedom (from the consequences of drugs)

The Moderate Party (Moderaterna), which forms the major part of the centre-right alliance government of Sweden, advocates "Zero tolerance for crime", arguing:

Few things restrict people’s freedom as much as the consequences of violence, drugs and criminality in society.

The Swedish Moderate Party (June 2006). Zero tolerance for crime - policy summary published prior to the Swedish general election in 2006.

[edit] Political calculation

John Donnelly, writing for the Boston Globe on the presidential race of 2000, suggested that the candidates' silence on drug policy may stem from a widely shared belief that any position even hinting at reducing penalties for drug use would be political suicide.[12] Charles R. Schuster, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse under Presidents Reagan and Bush, has also been reported as saying, "Talking sense about drug policy in today's climate of opinion can be political suicide."[13]

Drug policy academic Mark Kleiman has argued:

There are things we can do about drug policy that would reduce the number of people in prison, and the extent of drug abuse and drug related crime. Legalization isn't one of them because there's not public support for it. And if we acknowledge the fact that, from the point of view of the majority of the population it's a loser, then it's not as if we can talk them out of that, so I think the legalization debate is mostly a distraction from doing the real work of fixing our drug policies

Scott Morgan, quoting Mark Kleiman, Rule #1 of Drug Legalization is Don't Talk About Drug Legalization, Drug Reform Coordination Network, February 2008.

Scott Morgan reports how he once attended a discussion of Peter Reuter and David Boyum's book "An Analytic Assessment of U.S. Drug Policy", in which the authors admitted ignoring the legalization option in their analysis. Boyum claimed that there was no legitimate political support for ending the drug war and that he and Reuter had therefore confined themselves to recommendations that they thought were politically viable.[14]

[edit] Gateway drugs

The US Government and others have argued that certain drugs (such as cannabis) act as gateways to use of harder drugs such as heroin, either because of social contact or because of an increasing search for a better high. Few studies support the gateway drug model.[15][16], see Cannabis (drug).

[edit] Arguments against prohibition, and for legalization/decriminalization

[edit] Health

There is evidence that many illicit drugs pose comparatively fewer health dangers than certain licit drugs (e. g. alcohol and tobacco). In the UK, an average of 500,000 people take ecstasy every weekend, 40 million are social drinkers, 11 million are "at risk" or "problem" drinkers, and 9 million smoke cigarettes, resulting in 40 ecstasy-related deaths a year, 6500 deaths due to alcohol and 120 000 deaths due to smoking, making the per user risk of ecstasy half that of alcohol (about 1:12,500 occasions, compared to 1:6,153 for alcohol), and much below tobacco (1:75). [3][4][5][6]

[edit] Legitimate medical use of illegal drugs

Many cultures have used, and still use the same drugs that are illegal under prohibition for both medicine, and comfort with success.[17]

It has been shown that there may be legitimate medical uses to various illegal drugs, such as use of MDMA (Ecstasy) for cognitive enhancement in people with Parkinson's Disease,[18] or its administration for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, such as people who have been raped.[19] The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a non-profit research and educational organization which assists scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of MDMA, psychedelic drugs and marijuana. MAPS' mission is to sponsor scientific research designed to develop psychedelics and marijuana into FDA-approved prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these drugs.

Cannabis is an example of a mainly illegal drug that can be used medically. For chemotherapy and AIDS patients, cannabis increases their appetite and counters nausea. The American Medical Association protested the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act due to its interest in cannabis for medical purposes, although they would probably[nb 2] not enter any objections to the inclusion of Cannabis in the Harrison Narcotic Act.[20][21][22]

[edit] Drug quality control

[edit] Illegal drug impurities

Often illegal drugs are purchased in the underground market, there is no care for hygiene, and drugs may be cut with other substances or sold under different guises to increase supply, sale, potential profit, or user addiction potential. This can be dangerous as even though numerous illegal drugs have very low toxicity levels (low potential for overdose) and low addiction potential their safety status can be altered dramatically if they contain other chemicals of which the buyer is unaware. This can increase the potential for unexpected effects, overdoses, and drug dependence. For instance, tablets sold as MDMA have commonly been found to contain methamphetamine as the primary active ingredient or include methamphetamine in addition to other drugs.[23] Methamphetamine has much higher comparative addictive potential than MDMA, and a higher risk of overdose as demonstrated by its LD50s.

Dozens of people died in one year in Cook County alone, in relation to ingesting heroin unknowingly cut with fentanyl. [7] Black tar heroin has been known to carry wound botulism. Variable heroin purity, active cutting agents, and contaminated product is one of the major dangers of heroin use.

[edit] Use of more dangerous but more easily accessible drugs

An example of deleterious effects in this regard is that with inability to obtain drugs, some users may turn to making it themselves to save money or to keep an easy supply of the drug. If the user is unqualified in chemistry, unwanted reactions may occur.[24] Illict synthesis of methamphetamine often results in an end product dangerously contaminated with toxic byproducts, including chemicals from the reaction such as toluene, iodine or phosphorus, or potent neurotoxins such as 4-iodomethamphetamine. Similarly homebake heroin may contain contaminants such as pyridine and acetic anhydride. Also dealers often dilute drugs in order to make limited supplies stretch further, using any white powder that comes to hand including chalk, salt or flour. Many people have died from injecting drugs contaminated in this way.[25]

[edit] Stigma and health concerns

Despite increasing amounts of money being spent on prohibition, drugs have become more accessible, cheaper, and more potent.[26] The illegality of injectable drugs leads to a scarcity of needles which causes an increase in HIV infections.[27] An easy cure to this problem, while upholding the illegality of drugs, is the Dutch policy of distributing free needles. The money spent on both increased health costs due to HIV infections and drug prohibition itself causes a drain upon society.[28][29] Despite the fact that most drug offenders are non-violent,[30] the stigma attached to a conviction can prevent employment and education.[31]

A key component of this argument is that many of the health dangers associated with recreational drugs exist precisely because they are illegal. The government cannot enforce quality control on products sold and manufactured illegally. Examples would include: heroin/cocaine overdoses occurring as users don't know exactly how much they are taking, heroin users unintentionally injecting brick dust, quinine, or fentanyl with which their heroin had been cut,[32][33] the easier to make derivative MDA sold as MDMA.[23]

[edit] Block to research

The illegality of many recreational drugs may be dissuading research into new, more effective and perhaps safer recreational drugs. For example, it has been proposed that a safer substitute to alcohol with many of the same desired effects could be created imparting many health and safety benefits to society.[34] Furthermore, the compensation received and knowledge gained in the creation of new recreational drugs might allow for more basic research into human biology, treatments for medical conditions such as depression, and general improvements in the functionality of humans. Also, the illegality of recreational drugs may be hindering the ability of companies to discover and market drugs that could be used for recreation, but could also be effective as medical treatments.

[edit] Crime, terrorism and social order

Experts like Andreas von Bülow and Milton Friedman concede that almost every serious crime of terrorism is funded by illegal drugs but they don't agree that prohibition can reduce these phenomena. In fact the prohibition protects the drug cartel insofar as it keeps the distribution in the black market and creates the risk that makes smuggling profitable.[35][36] As former federal narcotics officer Michael Levine states in relation to his undercover work with Colombian cocaine cartels, "I learned that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they counted on it to increase the market price and to weed out the smaller, inefficient drug dealers. They found U.S. interdiction efforts laughable. The only U.S. action they feared was an effective demand reduction program. On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it “a sham put on for the American taxpayer” that was actually “good for business”."[37]

Critics of drug prohibition often cite the fact that the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933 led to immediate decreases in murders and robberies to support the argument that legalization of drugs could have similar effects. Once those involved in the narcotics trade have a legal method of settling business disputes, the number of murders and violent crime could drop. Robert W. Sweet, a federal judge, strongly agrees: "The present policy of trying to prohibit the use of drugs through the use of criminal law is a mistake" (Riga 53). When alcohol use was outlawed during prohibition, it gave rise to gang warfare and spurred the formation of some of the most well known criminals of the era, among them the infamous Al Capone. Similarly, drug dealers today resolve their disputes through violence and intimidation, something which legal drug vendors do not do. Prohibition critics also point to the fact that police are more likely to be corrupted in a system where bribe money is so available. Police corruption due to drugs is widespread enough that one pro-legalization newsletter has made it a weekly feature.[38]

Drug money has been called a major source of income for terrorist organizations. Critics assert that legalization would remove this central source of support for terrorism.[39] While politicians blame drug users for being a major source of financing terrorists,[3] no clear evidence of this link has been provided. US government agencies and government officials have been caught trafficking drugs to finance US-supported terrorist actions in events such as the Iran-Contra Affair, and Manuel Noriega but the isolated nature of these events precludes them from being major sources of financing.[35]

Over 2,000 people in Mexico alone have been murdered in drug trafficking related violence in 2006. [8]

[edit] Children being lured into the illegal drug trade

Janet Crist of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy mentioned that the anti-drug efforts have had "no direct effect on either the price or the availability of cocaine on our streets" (qtd. in Boaz). Additionally, drug dealers show off expensive jewelry and clothing to young children (Duke and Gross 33). Some of these children are interested in making fast money instead of working legitimate jobs (Kane 157). Drug decriminalization would remove the "glamorous Al Capone-type traffickers who are role-models for the young" (Wink 111).

The lack of government regulation and control over the lucrative illegal drug market has created a large population of unregulated drug dealers who lure many children into the illegal drug trade. The U.S. government's most recent 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that nationwide over 800,000 adolescents ages 12–17 sold illegal drugs during the previous 12 months preceding the survey. [9] The 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nationwide 25.4% of students had been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug by someone on school property. The prevalence of having been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property ranged from 15.5% to 38.7% across state CDC surveys (median: 26.1%) and from 20.3% to 40.0% across local surveys (median: 29.4%).[10]

Despite more than $ 7 billion spent annually towards arresting and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005, the federally-funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain.” That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[11]

[edit] Legal dilemmas

Several drugs such as Dimethyltryptamine,[40] Morphine[41] and GHB[42] are illegal to possess but are also inherently present in all humans as a result of endogenous synthesis. Since some jurisdictions classify possession of drugs to include having the drug present in the blood in any concentration, all residents of such jurisdictions are technically in possession of multiple illegal drugs at all times.[43]

[edit] User cost of drugs

When the cost of drugs increases, drugs users are more likely to commit crimes in order to obtain money to buy the expensive drugs (Duke 115). Legalizing drugs would make drugs reasonably cheap (Kane 155).

[edit] Prohibition does not work

A report sponsored by the New York County Lawyers' Association, one of the largest local bar associations in the United States, argues on the subject of US drug policy:

{{"|Notwithstanding the vast public resources expended on the enforcement of penal statutes against users and distributors of controlled substances, contemporary drug policy appears to have failed, even on its own terms, in a number of notable respects. These include: minimal reduction in the consumption of controlled substances; failure to reduce violent crime; failure to markedly reduce drug importation, distribution and street-level drug sales; failure to reduce the widespread availability of drugs to potential users; failure to deter individuals from becoming involved in the drug trade; failure to impact upon the huge profits and financial opportunity available to individual "entrepreneurs" and organized underworld organizations through engaging in the illicit drug trade; the expenditure of great amounts of increasingly limited public resources in pursuit of a cost-intensive "penal" or "law-enforcement" based policy; failure to provide meaningful treatment and other assistance to substance abusers and their families; and failure to provide meaningful alternative economic opportunities to those attracted to the drug trade for lack of other available avenues for financial advancement.[44]

Moreover, a growing body of evidence and opinion suggests that contemporary drug policy, as pursued in recent decades, may be counterproductive and even harmful to the society whose public safety it seeks to protect. This conclusion becomes more readily apparent when one distinguishes the harms suffered by society and its members directly attributable to the pharmacological effects of drug use upon human behavior, from those harms resulting from policies attempting to eradicate drug use.[45]

With aid of these distinctions, we see that present drug policy appears to contribute to the increase of violence in our communities. It does so by permitting and indeed, causing the drug trade to remain a lucrative source of economic opportunity for street dealers, drug kingpins and all those willing to engage in the often violent, illicit, black market trade.

Meanwhile, the effect of present policy serves to stigmatize and marginalize drug users, thereby inhibiting and undermining the efforts of many such individuals to remain or become productive, gainfully employed members of society. Furthermore, current policy has not only failed to provide adequate access to treatment for substance abuse, it has, in many ways, rendered the obtaining of such treatment, and of other medical services, more difficult and even dangerous to pursue.[46]

In response to claims that prohibition can work, as claimed by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, drawing attention to the drug policy of Sweden Henrik Tham has written that sometimes it's domestically important to stress drug policy as successful, as the case of Sweden where this notion is important, serving "the function of strengthening a threatened national identity in a situation where the traditional ‘Swedish model’ has come under increasingly hard attack from both inside and outside the country." Tham questions the success of the Swedish model - "The shift in Swedish drug policy since around 1980 [nb 1] towards a more strict model has according to the official point of view been successful by comparison with the earlier, more lenient drug policy. However, available systematic indicators show that the prevalence of drug use has increased since around 1980, that the decrease in drug incidence was particularly marked during the 1970s and that some indicators point towards an increase during the 1990s."[47]

The professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Oslo, Nils Christie, pointed out Sweden as the hawk of international drug policy, being a welfare alibi and giving legitimacy to the US drug war. Adding that the two countries have an extraordinary influence on UNODC as the biggest donor countries.[48]

An editorial in The Economist argued: {{"|fear [of legalisation] is based in large part on the presumption that more people would take drugs under a legal regime. That presumption may be wrong. There is no correlation between the harshness of drug laws and the incidence of drug-taking: citizens living under tough regimes (notably America but also Britain) take more drugs, not fewer. Embarrassed drug warriors blame this on alleged cultural differences, but even in fairly similar countries tough rules make little difference to the number of addicts: harsh Sweden and more liberal Norway have precisely the same addiction rates.[49]

Antonio Maria Costa's conviction that "countries have the drug problem they deserve" if they fail to follow the 'Swedish Model' in drug control has also been criticised in Peter Cohen's work - Looking at the UN, smelling a rat.[50]

British Crime Survey statistics indicated that the proportion of 16 to 24 year-olds using cannabis decreased from 28% a decade ago to 21%, with its declining popularity accelerating after the decision to downgrade the drug to class C was announced in January 2004. The BCS figures, published in October 2007, showed that the proportion of frequent users in the 16-24 age group (i.e. who were using cannabis more than once a month), fell from 12% to 8% in the past four years.[51]

[edit] Freedom (personal freedom to use drugs)

Authors such as Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Terence McKenna believed what persons do in private should not be regulated by the government. It is argued that persons should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies, including the recreational use of drugs, as long as they do not harm others. Such arguments often cite the harm principle of philosopher John Stuart Mill who urged that the state had no right to intervene to prevent individuals from doing something that harmed them, if no harm was thereby done to the rest of society: 'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign' and 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.' This argument was used in relation to recreational drug use by Aleister Crowley. The argument is that drug use is a victimless crime and as such the government has no right to prohibit it or punish drug consumers, much like the government does not forbid overeating, which causes significantly more deaths per year. This can be equated with the quest for freedom of thought.

We're playing with half a deck as long as we tolerate that the cardinals of government and science should dictate where human curiosity can legitimately send its attention and where it can not. It's an essentially preposterous situation. It is essentially a civil rights issue, because what we're talking about here is the repression of a religious sensibility. In fact, not a religious sensibility, the religious sensibility.

Terence McKenna in: Non-Ordinary States Through Vision Plants, Sound Photosynthesis, Mill Valley CA., 1988, ISBN 1-569-64709-7

[edit] Economics

The United States efforts at drug prohibition started out with a US$ 350 million budget in 1971, and is currently (in 2006) a US$ 30 billion campaign.[52] These numbers only include direct prohibition enforcement expenditures, and as such only represent part of the total cost of prohibition. This $ 30 billion figure rises dramatically once other issues, such as the economic impact of holding 400,000 prisoners on prohibition violations, are factored in.[53]

The war on drugs is extremely costly to such societies that outlaw drugs in terms of taxpayer money, lives, productivity, the inability of law enforcement to pursue mala in se crimes, and social inequality. Some proponents[54] of decriminalization say that the financial and social costs of drug law enforcement far exceed the damages that the drugs themselves cause. For instance, in 1999 close to 60,000 prisoners (3.3% of the total incarcerated population) convicted of violating marijuana laws were behind bars at a cost to taxpayers of some $ 1.2 billion per year. In 1980, the total jail and prison population was 540,000, about one-quarter the size it is today. Drug offenders accounted for 6% of all prisoners. Today drug offenders account for nearly 25%.

It has been argued that if the US government legalised marijuana it would save $7.7 billion per year in expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Also, that marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if it were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if it were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco.[55]

[edit] The creation of drug cartels

Mass arrests of local growers of marijuana, for example, not only increase the price of local drugs, but lessens competition. Only major retailers that can handle massive shipments, have their own small fleet of aircraft, troops to defend the caravans and other sophisticated methods of eluding the police (such as lawyers), can survive by this regulation of the free market by the government

[…] it is because it's prohibited. See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.

Milton Friedman[36]

[edit] Effect on producer countries

The United States' "War on Drugs" has added considerably to the political instability in South America. The huge profits to be made from cocaine and other South American-grown drugs are largely due to the fact that it is illegal in the wealthy neighbouring nation. This drives people in the relatively poor countries of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil to break their own laws in organising the cultivation, preparation and trafficking of cocaine to the States. This has allowed criminal, paramilitary and guerrilla groups to reap huge profits, exacerbating already serious law-and-order and political problems. Within Bolivia, the political rise of current president Evo Morales is directly related to his grassroots movement against US-sponsored coca-eradication and criminalization policies. However, coca has been cultivated for centuries in the Andes. Among their various legitimate uses, coca leaves are chewed for their mild stimulant & appetite suppression effects, and steeped as a tea which is known to reduce the effects of human altitude sickness. Rural farmers in the poor regions in which coca has historically been cultivated often find themselves at the difficult and potentially violent intersection of government-sponsored eradication efforts, illegal cocaine producers & traffickers seeking coca supplies, anti-government paramilitary forces trafficking in cocaine as a source of revolutionary funding, and the historical hardships of rural subsistence farming (or the its typical alternative - abandoning their land and fleeing to an urban slum). In some regions, farmers' coca and other crops are frequently destroyed by U.S.-sponsored eradication treatments (usually sprayed from the air with varying degrees of discrimination), whether or not the farmers directly supply the cocaine trade, thereby destroying their livelihoods. Agricultural producers in these countries are pushed further to grow coca for the cocaine trade by the dumping of subsidised farming products (fruit, vegetables, grain etc.) produced by Western countries (predominantly US and EU agricultural surpluses) (see BBC reference, below), which reduces the prices they could otherwise receive for alternate crops such as maize. The net effect can be a depression of prices for all crops, which can both make the farmer's livelihood more precarious, and make the cocaine producers' coca supplies cheaper.

After providing a significant portion of the world's poppy for use in heroin production, Afghanistan went from producing practically no illegal drugs in 2000 (following banning by the Taliban), to cultivating what is now as much as 90% of the world's opium[56]. The Taliban is currently believed to be heavily supported by the opium trade there.[57]

Furthermore, the sale of the illegal drugs produces an influx of dollars that is outside the formal economy, and puts pressure on the currency exchange keeping the dollar low and making the export of legal products more difficult.[35]

[edit] Moral

Many of the arguments for drug prohibition are based on perceptions of drugs as dangerous to people, which creates the basis for a moral opposition to drug use. Some of these perceptions are based on common knowledge or scientific evidence, indicating how certain drugs are detrimental to individuals and communities, while other perceptions are based on popular myths. Those who are against prohibition argue that even when drugs are dangerous to people, it is much easier to control their use and minimize harm if drugs are legal. The decriminalization of drugs would then be perceived as a more ethical way to deal with the problem.[58]

[edit] Personal development and exploration

In PiHKAL,[59] Alexander Shulgin, argues that the psychedelics help us learn about ourselves; indeed that is where the name "psychedelic" (mind expanding) comes from.

I am completely convinced that there is a wealth of information built into us, with miles of intuitive knowledge tucked away in the genetic material of every one of our cells. Something akin to a library containing uncountable reference volumes, but without any obvious route of entry. And, without some means of access, there is no way to even begin to guess the extent and quality of what is there. The psychedelic drugs allow exploration of this interior world, and insights into its nature.

Alexander Shulgin in: PiHKAL, Introduction p.xvi, Transform Press, CA., 1991, ISBN 0-9630096-0-5

[edit] Spiritual and religious

Some religious groups including the União do Vegetal, the Native American Church, the Bwiti religion and the Rastafari movement use psychoactive substances as sacrament in religious rituals. In some religious practice, drugs are sometimes used as a conduit to an oceanic feeling or divine union, equated with mysticism or entheogenic ('that which causes God to be within an individual') experiences. In others, the 'entactogenic' qualities of drugs are used to enhance feelings of empathy among congregations.[60]

Almost all national governments have signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, amongst other human rights treaties, as a set of moral standards for the world to live by. One of the fundamental rights enshrined in international human rights law is the right to freedom of thought, which is violated by a blanket prohibition of drugs.

Altered states of consciousness enable many people to push the boundaries of human experience, knowledge and creativity. There is thus a moral imperative to experiment with drugs in terms of human progress, teleological development, or just increased artistic creativity; such ideas are central to Cognitive Liberty, Stoned Ape Theory and Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception.[61][62][63]

[edit] Consistency

It has been suggested that ending prohibition could reduce the use of hard drugs as it has in countries such as The Netherlands.[64]

Since alcohol prohibition ended and the War on Drugs began there has been much debate over the issue of consistency among legislators with regard to drug prohibition. Many anti-prohibition activists focus on the well-documented dangers of alcohol (such as alcoholism, cystisis, domestic violence, brain and liver damage). In addition to anecdotal evidence, they cite statistics to show more deaths caused by drunk driving under the influence of alcohol than by drivers under the influence of marijuana,[65] and research which suggests that alcohol is more harmful than all but the most "dangerous" drugs. When the level of harm associated with the other drugs includes harm that arises solely as a result of the drugs illegality rather than merely that danger which is associated with actually using the drugs, only heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and street methadone were shown to be more harmful than the legal drug alcohol).[66]

A 2002 DAWN report for the USA records two overdoses where marijuana was the only drug found.[67] Legal drugs however, have been the cause of more than half a million deaths a year: 480,000 from tobacco smoking-related illnesses and 80,000 from alcohol abuse.[68] Together, tobacco and alcohol cause about 20% of all yearly deaths in the USA.

This inconsistency between the harm caused and the legal status of these common drugs undermines the declared motives of the law enforcement agencies to reduce harm by prohibition of marijuana.[69] However, an increasing number of countries in Western Europe and parts of the US has, in recent years, banned the smoking of tobacco in restaurants, trains and other public places.

[edit] Consistency between drugs

In the United States, defendants convicted of selling crack cocaine receive equal sentences to those convicted of selling 100 times the same amount of powder cocaine. This disparity was lessened during the Clinton administration when the Powder Cocaine Sentencing Act changed the ratio to 10 to 1. The majority of offenders convicted for selling crack are poor and/or black, while the majority of those convicted for selling cocaine are not.[70]

[edit] Same policy for distinct drugs

Many drug policies group all illegal drugs into a single category. Since drugs drastically vary in their effects, dosages, methods of production, and consumption the arguments either way could be seen as inconsistent.[58]

[edit] Racism and unequal enforcement of drug laws

Some consider the war on drugs, at least in the United States, to be a "war on some drugs" … and some drug users. Current drug laws are enforced in such a way as to penalize non-whites more harshly and more often than whites, and to penalize the poor of all races more harshly and more often than the middle and upper classes.[71][72][73]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Further reading

  • The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture. Richard DeGrandpre, Duke University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8223-3881-9
  • Toward a Policy on Drugs: Decriminalization? Legalization? Currie, Elliot. Dissent. 1993. Rpt. in Drug Use Should Be Decriminalized. At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 55–64.
  • How Legalization Would Cut Crime. Duke, Steven B. Los Angeles Times. 21 Dec. 1993. Rpt. in Legalizing Drugs Would Reduce Crime. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 115–117.
  • Rolles S. Kushlick D. Jay M. 2004 After the War on Drugs, Options for Control Transform Drug Policy Foundation
  • America's Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs. Duke, Steven B. and Albert C. Gross. New York: Putnam Books, 1993. Rpt. In Legalizing Drugs Would Benefit the United States. At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 32–48.
  • Legalization Madness. Inciardi, James A. and Christine A. Saum. Public Interest 123 (1996): 72–82. Rpt. in Legalizing Drugs Would Increase Violent Crime. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 142–150.
  • Poll Shows Most Russians Against Legalization of Soft Drugs. ITAR-TASS. BBC Monitoring 26 June 2003. Newsbank. 1 Feb 2004.
  • Jaffer, Mehru, U.N. Firm Against Legalization of Drugs. Inter Press Service 17 Apr. 2003. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [12].
  • Kane, Joseph P. The Challenge of Legalizing Drugs. America 8 Aug. 1992. Rpt. in Should Drugs Be Legalized? Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Health and Society. 2nd ed., Eileen L. Daniel, ed., Guilford, CT.: Dushkin Publishing Group, 1996: 154–158.
  • Luna, Claire. Orange County Judge Gray, a Drug-War Foe, Will Run for Senate Now a Libertarian, the Longtime Advocate of Legalization Will Challenge Boxer in 2004. Los Angeles Times 20 Nov. 2003: B3. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [13].
  • Lynch, Gerald W. Legalizing Drugs Is Not the Solution. America 13 Feb. 1993. Rpt. in Legalizing Drugs Would Not Reduce Crime. At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 110–113.
  • McNeely, Jennifer. Methadone Maintenance Treatment. Lindesmith Center 1997. Rpt. in Methadone Is an Effective Treatment for Heroin Addiction. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 91–95.
  • McWilliams, Peter. Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do. Los Angeles, CA. : Prelude Press, 1996 (full text)
  • Mendez, Julia de Cruz and Ralf Winkler. Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Jan. 1996. 24 Mar. 2004 [14].
  • Paulin, Alastair. Taxation Without Legalization. Mother Jones June 2003: 26. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [15].
  • Riga, Peter J. The Drug War Is a Crime: Let's Try Decriminalization. Commonweal. 16 July 1993. Rpt. in Legalization Would Help Solve the Nation's Drug Problem. At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 52–54.
  • Rodriguez, L. Jacabo. Time to End the Drug War. CATO Institute 13 Dec. 1997. 23 Feb. 2004 [16].
  • Should We Re-Legalize Drugs? United States Libertarian Party. 22 Feb. 2004 [17].
  • Thornton, Mark. Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure. CATO Institute 17 July 1991. 24 Mar. 2004 [18].
  • Wink, Walter. Getting Off Drugs: The Legalization Potion. Friends Journal Feb. 1996. Rpt. in Illegal Drugs Should Be Legalized. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 107–114.
  • Zuckerman, Mortimer B. Great Idea for Ruining Kids. U.S. News & World Report 24 Feb. 1997. Rpt. in Legalizing Drugs Would Increase Drug Use. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 151–152.
  • Leavitt, Fred. (2003) The REAL Drug Abusers. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Armentano, Paul. Drug War Mythology in You Are Being Lied To. China: The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2001. Pages 234–240
  • Goldstein, P.J., Brownstein, H.H., Ryan, P.J. & Bellucci, P.A., Crack and Homicide in New York City: A Case Study in the Epidemiology of Violence, in Reinarman, C. and Levine, H. (eds.), Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 113–130.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b There were changes of course to the drug policy of Sweden prior to the period to which, on both sides of the argument, Antonio Maria Costa and Henrik Tham refer. For example, the Narcotics Penal Act of 1968 increased the maximum penalty for a grave drug offence from one to four years. It was increased again in 1969 to maximum six years (both in the Narcotics Penal Act and in the Smuggling Penal Act). The aim was to permit notable penalties for profiteers taking advantage of the inexperience, curiosity or drug dependence of others. In 1972, maximum punishment for gross offences was increased from 6 to 10 years in order to achieve parity with Finnish, Norwegian and West German law. This increase was intended to affect only the most dangerous criminals. - Source: Bogdan, Michael (1977). Reflections on some international and Swedish legal rules relating to drug offences, pages 1-20, note 46.
  2. ^ Dr. William Woodward of the American Medical Association stressed in his congressional hearing that while he had no "direct authority" from AMA's house of delegates or their board of trustees to say so, he still strongly believed that "the American Medical Association would enter no objection at all to the inclusion of Cannabis indica. or the various types of Cannabis, in the Harrison Narcotic Act." [1]

[edit] References

  1. ^ United States Drug Enforcement Administration, "Fact 3: Illegal drugs are illegal because they are harmful".
  2. ^ a b c d US Drug Enforcement Administration (May 2003). "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" (pdf). U.S. Department of Justice. 
  3. ^ a b Bush, George W. (December 2001). Remarks by the President in Signing Drug-Free Communities Act Reauthorization Bill. Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America."
  4. ^ ”White House Drug Policy Official Website”[
  5. ^ Summary of DUF findings [
  6. ^ [
  7. ^ Brännmark, Detective Superintendent Eva (Swedish National Police Board) (April 2007). "Law Enforcement – the Swedish Model" (pdf) in First International Conference on Illicit Drug Use., Australia: Drug Free Australia. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  8. ^ The Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Feb 2008). The Swedish action plan on narcotic drugs 2006–2010.
  9. ^ UNODC (Feb 2007). Sweden's successful drug policy: A review of the evidence, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
  10. ^ Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of UNODC, "Cannabis... call it anything but "soft"", The Independent (UK), March 25, 2007.
  11. ^ McSmith, Andy; Stephen Castle (2006-06-27). "Britain 'deserves its drugs problem', says UN". The Independent (UK). 
  12. ^ Donnelly, John (2000-03-05). "Apart From Personal Use, A Key Issue Stays Away". Globe Newspaper Company. 
  13. ^ Ames, Alison (September 1997). "New Group Proposes Moderate Drug Policy Course". The National Drug Strategy Network. 
  14. ^ Morgan, Scott. Rule #1 of Drug Legalization is Don't Talk About Drug Legalization, Drug Reform Coordination Network, February 2008.
  15. ^ Degenhardt, Louisa et al (2007). "Who are the new amphetamine users? A 10-year prospective study of young Australians". Retrieved on 2007-09-22. 
  16. ^ Saitz, Richard (2003-02-18). "Is marijuana a gateway drug?". Journal Watch. Retrieved on 2007-02-27. 
  17. ^ Medical Uses of Illicit Drugs
  18. ^ as a brain booster for Parkinson's?
  19. ^ Tell FDA Some Hallucinogens May Aid Alcoholics, terminally ill and psychiatric patients
  20. ^ McGrath, Matt (July 1997). Economic Considerations on the Legalization of Cannabis. Tufts 13 Dec. 1994. [2]. Rpt. in Marijuana Should Be Legalized. Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 112–130.
  21. ^ Woodward, C. (July 1937). "American Medical Association Opposes the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937". American Medical Association. 
  22. ^ "Statement of Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Counsel, American Medical Association". Retrieved on 2006-03-25. 
  23. ^ a b NIDA (April 2006). "MDMA (Ecstasy)". NIDA InfoFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  24. ^ Pieper, Werner (2003) (in German). DopePollution. Zwischen Farm und Pharmageddon. Werner Pieper and the Grüne Kraft. ISBN 978-3-930442-63-8. 
  25. ^ Peele, Stanton (August 1999). "The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose". The Stanton Peele Addiction Website. Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  26. ^ SAMHSA, 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C. 2001. See table G.75; SAMHSA, Monitoring the Future: Overview of Key Findings 2000, Washington, D.C. 2001. See table 8.
  27. ^ Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 11 (No. 2). Washington, D.C. 1999 White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, "National Drug Control Strategy: 2000 Annual Report", Washington, D.C., 2001.
  28. ^ Sourcebook for Criminal Justice Statistics 1998, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1999. P. 462
  29. ^ National Association of State Budget Officers, "1995 State Expenditures Report". April 1996. Pp. 55
  30. ^ Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison, Prisoners in 2000, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. August 2001
  31. ^ American Civil Liberties Union: Injustice 101: Higher Education Act Denies Financial Aid to Students with Drug Convictions
  32. ^ BBC (2002-01-30). "Brick dust sold as heroin". Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  33. ^ DEA. "Heroin". Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  34. ^ the pleasures of alcohol, with no downsides
  35. ^ a b c von Bülow, Andreas (2000) (in German). Im Namen des Staates. CIA, BND und die kriminellen Machenschaften der Geheimdienste. Pieper. ISBN 3-492-23050-4. 
  36. ^ a b Trebach, Arnold S.; Kevin B. Zeese, Milton Friedman (1992). Friedman and Szasz on Liberty and Drugs: Essays on the Free Market and Prohibition. Drug Policy Foundation Press. ISBN 1-87918-905-4. 
  37. ^ After Prohibition. An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century. p92. ISBN 1-882577-94-9
  38. ^
  39. ^ Oscapella, Eugene (October 2001). How Drug Prohibition Finances and Otherwise Enables Terrorism. Submission to the Senate of Canada Special Committee on Illegal Drugs.
  40. ^ Barker SA, Monti JA and Christian ST (1981). N,N-Dimethyltryptamine: An endogenous hallucinogen. In International Review of Neurobiology, vol 22, pp. 83–110; Academic Press, Inc.
  41. ^ Chotima Poeaknapo. Mammalian morphine: de novo formation of morphine in human cells. Med Sci Monit, 2005; 11(5): MS6–17
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ via New York County Lawyers' Association (Oct 2006). Report and Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force (Note 2). NYCLA & Drug Reform Coordination Network. - see National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (1993), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which reports that 12% of the total U.S. population, or 24 million persons within the U.S., had used illicit drugs within the past year. 77 million persons had used illicit drugs sometime during their life. In a similar survey, conducted in 1994, it was found that 10.8% of the total population, or 22.6 million persons had used illicit drugs some time during the previous year. Further, a U.S. General Accounting Office report, released in 1989, noted the following findings: that drug abuse in the United States persisted at very high levels throughout the 1980's; that the amount of cocaine consumed in the U.S. doubled, while the price declined about 30%; that the price of heroin declined 20%, while the average purity of heroin sold had doubled; and that marijuana, while its use declined, continued to be readily available in most areas of the country. Thus, notwithstanding huge expenditures in waging the "war on drugs" drug use remains widespread throughout the nation, its costs have actually decreased and potency increased.
  45. ^ New York County Lawyers' Association (Oct 2006). Report and Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force (Note 3). NYCLA & Drug Reform Coordination Network. "In aid of more meaningful and objective analysis of what has commonly been referred to as "the drug problem," care must be taken and appropriate distinctions made in using terms such as: "drug use," "substance abuse," "drug-related crime," and "drug-induced crime." Definitions of these terms having been blurred in the drug policy debate thus far, has led to a failure to properly analyze and distinguish harms caused by drug use, substance abuse, the drug-trade, and drug control policies themselves."
  46. ^ New York County Lawyers' Association (October 2006). "Report and Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force". NYCLA & Drug Reform Coordination Network. 
  47. ^ Tham, Henrik (September 1998). "Swedish Drug Policy: A Successful Model?". European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (Springer Netherlands) 6 (3): 395-414. doi:10.1023/A:1008699414325. 
  48. ^ Christie, Nils (Mar 2004). A Suitable Amount of Crime. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-33611-6.
  49. ^ Editorial comment (March 2009). "Failed states and failed policies - How to stop the drug wars". The Economist. 
  50. ^ Cohen, Peter (2006). Looking at the UN, smelling a rat. Amsterdam: CEDRO.
  51. ^ Travis, Alan (2007-10-26). "Cannabis use down since legal change". The Guardian (UK). 
  52. ^ Common Sense for Drug Policy (2007-05-21). "Economics". Drug War Facts. Retrieved on 2008-03-07. 
  53. ^ Common Sense for Drug Policy (2007-12-31). "Prisons, Jails and Probation – Overview". Drug War Facts. Retrieved on 2008-03-07. 
  54. ^ The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise
  55. ^ Miron, Jeffrey A. (June 2005). "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition". The Marijuana Policy Project. Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  56. ^ Afghanistan Opium Crop Sets Record -
  57. ^ Afghanistan
  58. ^ a b Weil, Andrew (1985). The Natural Mind—An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-395-91156-7. "The use of drugs to alter consciousness is nothing new. It has been a feature of human life in all places on the earth and all ages of history. In fact, to my knowledge, the only people lacking a traditional intoxicant are the Eskimos, who had the misfortune to be unable to grow anything and had to wait for the white men to bring them alcohol. Alcohol of course, has always been the most commonly used drug simply because it does not take much effort to discover that the consumption of fermented juices produces interesting variations from ordinary consciousness.
      The ubiquity of drug use is so striking that it must represent a basic human appetite. Yet many Americans seem to feel that the contemporary drug scene is something new, something qualitatively different from what has gone before. This attitude is peculiar because all that is really happening is a change in drug preference. There is no evidence that a greater percentage of Americans are taking drugs, only that younger Americans are coming to prefer illegal drugs like marijuana and hallucinogens to alcohol. Therefore, people who insist that everyone is suddenly taking drugs must not see alcohol in the category of drugs. Evidence that this is precisely the case is abundant, and it proves another example of how emotional biases lead us to formulate unhelpful conceptions. Drug taking is bad. We drink alcohol. Therefore alcohol is not a drug. It is, instead, a ‘pick-me-up,’ a ‘thirst quencher,’ a ‘social lubricant,’ ‘an indispensable accompaniment to fine food,’ and a variety of other euphemisms. Or, if it is a drug, at least it is not one of those bad drugs that the hippies use."
  59. ^ Shulgin, Alexander; Ann Shulgin (1991). PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. Transform Press. ISBN 0-9630096-0-5. 
  60. ^ Weil, Andrew (1985). The Natural Mind—An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-395-91156-7. "It is my belief that the desire to alter consciousness periodically is an innate, normal drive analogous to hunger or the sexual drive. Note that I do not say ‘desire to alter consciousness by means of chemical agents.’ Drugs a merely one means of satisfying this drive; there are many others, and I will discuss them in due course. In postulating an inborn drive of this sort, I am not advancing a proposition to be proved or disproved but simply a model to be tried out for usefulness in simplifying our understanding of our observations. The model I propose is consistent with observable evidence. In particular, the omnipresence of the phenomenon argues that we are dealing not with something socially or culturally based but rather with a biological characteristic of the species. Furthermore, the need for periods of nonordinary consciousness begins to be expressed at ages far too young for it to have much to do with social conditioning. Anyone who watches very young children without revealing his presence will find them regularly practicing techniques that induce striking changes in mental states. Three- and four-year-olds, for example, commonly whirl themselves into vertiginous stupors. They hyperventilate and have other children squeeze them around the chest until they faint. They also choke each other to produce loss of consciousness.
      To my knowledge these practices appear spontaneously among children of all societies, and I suspect they have done so throughout history as well. In our society, children quickly learn to keep this sort of play out of sight of grownups, who instinctively try to stop them. The sight of a child being throttled into unconsciousness scares the parent, but the child seems to have a wonderful time; at least, he goes right off and does it again."
  61. ^ McKenna, Terence (1993). Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge—A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-37130-4. 
  62. ^ Lilly, John C. (2006). The Centre of the Cyclone. Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd.. p. 6. ISBN 1-84230-004-0. "It is my firm belief that the experience of higher states of consciousness is necessary for survival of the human species" 
  63. ^ Huxley, Aldous (2004). The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. Harper Perennial Modern Classics. ISBN 0-06059-518-3. 
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  65. ^ "Impaired Driving". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  66. ^ Nutt, David; King, Leslie; Saulsbury, William; Blakemore, Colin (March 2007), "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse", The Lancet 369 (9566): 1047–1053, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60464-4,, retrieved on 2007-03-23 
  67. ^ Marijuana-Only Drug Abuse Deaths—2002
  68. ^ Common Sense for Drug Policy (2007-05-16). "Annual Causes of Death in the United States". Drug War Facts. Retrieved on 2008-03-07. 
  69. ^ Trimnell, Edward (2007-02-03). "The inconsistent nature of U.S. drug laws". Retrieved on 2008-05-11. 
  70. ^ Effectiveness of the War on Drugs
  71. ^ Human Rights Watch (2000-05-01). "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs". Report. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. "Ostensibly color blind, the war on drugs has been waged disproportionately against black Americans." 
  72. ^ Coyle, Michael (2002-11-22). "Race and class penalties in crack cocaine sentencing" (PDF). Sentencing Project. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. 
  73. ^ Glasscote, Raymond M.; Sussex, J.N., Jaffe, J.H., Ball, J., Brill, L. (1972). The Treatment of Drug Abuse: Programs, Problems, Prospects. Washington, D.C.: Joint Information Service of the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health. "… as a general rule, we reserve the term drug abuse to apply to the illegal, nonmedical use of a limited number of substances, most of them drugs, which have properties of altering the mental state in ways that are considered by social norms and defined by statute to be inappropriate, undesirable, harmful, threatening, or, at minimum, culture-alien." 
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