Do you think Drugs are worse then Liquor?

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I say this in 2 context:

1. Do you think drug use is worse than alchoholism or vice versa?

2. Do you think that the War on Drugs is even more a failure then Prohibition or a success or vice versa with Prohibition?

I ask this because I feel there is a kind of "hypocrisy" for lack of a better word with the War on Drugs in that, why haven't they done the same with Liquor again and make another Prohibition, I mean I feel as though the failures of Prohibition were a product of its time and that in todays world with how the current powers and capabilities law enforcement have now, Prohibition would probably be even more successful then however the enforced it back in the 1920s?

As to drug users, I also feel that authorities and laws are way less strict with people who drinks compared to people who do drugs, like just an inch of coke in your personal posession and you get 10+ years of jail or something to that effect, and yeah I know the laws are strict with people who drive while drunk but the same can be said to driving under drug influance so liquor hardly has a monopoly on that.

What do you guys think? Discuss.

1. Drug use is worst, both can be horrible but drugs do more damage, and I can't even count all the types where one dose can be enough to kill someone without being contaminated with something.

2. The War on Drugs is a failure, but it isn't as bad as Prohibition. The violence isn't anywhere near as bad, but the war is still a failure and it's time to legalise the damn stuff and just look down on those who use them like we do those who drink or smoke. Severe punishments for those selling to minors illegally though, no blind eye like with alcohol.

Zontar:
just look down on those who use them like we do those who drink or smoke.

Wait, are you a teetotaller?

OT:

The War on Drugs was nothing more than an excuse to oppress poor communities. It has quite obviously been an utter failure. It is time to end it.

BreakfastMan:
Wait, are you a teetotaller?

No I just look down on those who make it a habit.

The War on Drugs was nothing more than an excuse to oppress poor communities. It has quite obviously been an utter failure. It is time to end it.

It was actually created by poor communities, specifically poor black communities, to combat the devastating effects drugs where having on their communities at the time. Suffice to say, their plan didn't work out. Still keep electing mayors and sheriffs who are tough on drugs and tough on crime though.

They both harm your body, there's no difference in my opinion.

I would also like to add that the way on drugs is one of the biggest policy blunders the U.S. government has ever done right next to the Iraq War. Lives lost or ruined, tax payer dollars wasted, people getting arrested just for using drugs and going to prison for a long time, it needs to end now.

Alcohol IS a drug. People just like to pretend otherwise. People can play out pretty impressive mental gymnastics when they want to. It's a classic case of "it's ok when I do it."

Zontar:

It was actually created by poor communities, specifically poor black communities, to combat the devastating effects drugs where having on their communities at the time.

Ah yes, famous leader of poor black communities *checks notes* Ronald Reagan.

BreakfastMan:

Zontar:

It was actually created by poor communities, specifically poor black communities, to combat the devastating effects drugs where having on their communities at the time.

Ah yes, famous leader of poor black communities *checks notes* Ronald Reagan.

You do realise the drug war started under Nixon right?

Zontar:

BreakfastMan:

Zontar:

It was actually created by poor communities, specifically poor black communities, to combat the devastating effects drugs where having on their communities at the time.

Ah yes, famous leader of poor black communities *checks notes* Ronald Reagan.

You do realise the drug war started under Nixon right?

Which prob one of his biggest blunders ever. People will like to say watergate, but the damaging effects of the drug war is much more horrible then watergate imo.

There is no war on drugs. Over 60,000 people died last year from drugs and most of them were legal drugs. Doctors, legislators and pharmacists are all facilitating, aiding and abetting drug use through their own greed and ignorance.

Zontar:

BreakfastMan:

Zontar:

It was actually created by poor communities, specifically poor black communities, to combat the devastating effects drugs where having on their communities at the time.

Ah yes, famous leader of poor black communities *checks notes* Ronald Reagan.

You do realise the drug war started under Nixon right?

Well, looks like I need to go back and update my notes on famous leaders of poor black communities, then.

Blood Brain Barrier:
There is no war on drugs. Over 60,000 people died last year from drugs and most of them were legal drugs. Doctors, legislators and pharmacists are all facilitating, aiding and abetting drug use through their own greed and ignorance.

Marijuana is still outlawed and people are still dying over it on the border, getting arrested for non violent use of it, and we're wasting tax payer dollars.

So yeah there's still a war on drugs.

Which drugs? Not everything under that term is of equal impact. Alcohol is equal to the worst of them, yet it is the one permissible outlet allowed the western masses, probably because it's a huge established industry and lobbying power. I wouldn't be for banning it though, but imagine if people had more options for their "turn off brain/stress now" needs.

WolvDragon:

Blood Brain Barrier:
There is no war on drugs. Over 60,000 people died last year from drugs and most of them were legal drugs. Doctors, legislators and pharmacists are all facilitating, aiding and abetting drug use through their own greed and ignorance.

Marijuana is still outlawed and people are still dying over it on the border, getting arrested for non violent use of it, and we're wasting tax payer dollars.

So yeah there's still a war on drugs.

That just means there is a war on marijuana. "War on drugs" means a war on all drugs, which simply isn't true. The biggest killers are legal drugs, and there is no war on them.

Blood Brain Barrier:

WolvDragon:

Blood Brain Barrier:
There is no war on drugs. Over 60,000 people died last year from drugs and most of them were legal drugs. Doctors, legislators and pharmacists are all facilitating, aiding and abetting drug use through their own greed and ignorance.

Marijuana is still outlawed and people are still dying over it on the border, getting arrested for non violent use of it, and we're wasting tax payer dollars.

So yeah there's still a war on drugs.

That just means there is a war on marijuana. "War on drugs" means a war on all drugs, which simply isn't true. The biggest killers are legal drugs, and there is no war on them.

Just because the United States isn't at war with Saudi Arabia doesn't mean it isn't at war. Same goes for the war on drugs.

Blood Brain Barrier:

WolvDragon:

Blood Brain Barrier:
There is no war on drugs. Over 60,000 people died last year from drugs and most of them were legal drugs. Doctors, legislators and pharmacists are all facilitating, aiding and abetting drug use through their own greed and ignorance.

Marijuana is still outlawed and people are still dying over it on the border, getting arrested for non violent use of it, and we're wasting tax payer dollars.

So yeah there's still a war on drugs.

That just means there is a war on marijuana. "War on drugs" means a war on all drugs, which simply isn't true. The biggest killers are legal drugs, and there is no war on them.

http://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/brief-history-drug-war

Oh and a war on opium, coca, and psychedelics as well.

Seanchaidh:

Blood Brain Barrier:

WolvDragon:

Marijuana is still outlawed and people are still dying over it on the border, getting arrested for non violent use of it, and we're wasting tax payer dollars.

So yeah there's still a war on drugs.

That just means there is a war on marijuana. "War on drugs" means a war on all drugs, which simply isn't true. The biggest killers are legal drugs, and there is no war on them.

Just because the United States isn't at war with Saudi Arabia doesn't mean it isn't at war. Same goes for the war on drugs.

Why use government-sanctioned language at all? You're falling into the trap of calling the "drugs" which the government is "at war" with are those evil, nasty, uncontrolled substances, which carries an implication that those profitable prescription medications which are the biggest killers are perfectly fine.

It's destructive. That's how most people get hooked on opioids and antidepressants - and big pharma loves it because of the $$$.

Which drugs? There's quite a few, alcohol is one of them, and they vary quite a bit.

But whether or not the war on drugs has been a success depends on what you count as success.

Samtemdo8:
1. Do you think drug use is worse than alchoholism or vice versa?

Which drug? And worse in what way?

Really, we'd need to assess what's bad that we want to prevent. Broadly, I'd guess, three the strands of concern are a) health risk to the individual taking the drug (short and long-term toxicity), b) dependence, c) wider social cost to non-users (accidents, violence crime, etc.) Although obviously all three are interlinked in ways.

Alcohol, for instance, is actually a huge problem not so much for the user, but more in wider social cost: violence, aggression, accidents, even to an extent hangovers and lost productivity. Tobacco on the other hand tends to cause a lot of damage to the user, and much less to wider society.

Broadly, I'd suggest cannabis use is probably less harmful than alcohol. It creates similar levels of intoxication and addiction. It's (much) harder to overdose on, probably less damage from long-term overuse, and less likely to incite violence and disorder because it lacks the stimulatory and pro-agression element of alcohol. Although on the downside potentially considerably more damaging for childhood brain development.

Acid, ecstacy, benzodiazepines etc. are probably also relatively benign in various ways, some potentially even more so than cannabis. Cocaine and amphetamines we're getting rather more problematic - although amphetamines represents different drugs with quite a range (methamphetamine is generally the worst). Heroin is almost certainly the worst drug of abuse for personal and social harm by a long way.

2. Do you think that the War on Drugs is even more a failure then Prohibition or a success or vice versa with Prohibition?

Prohibition was an obvious failure. The current drug war is a failure; it is however less of a failure than prohibition.

There's one simple reason for that. Alcohol is vastly tied into Western culture and overwhelmingly the preferred narcotic of choice used by a massive majority of the population. Banning everybody's everyday drug was insane. By comparison, the use of all current illegal drugs combined is far, far lower than alcohol use, and thus never likely to be quite as problematic.

WolvDragon:
They both harm your body, there's no difference in my opinion.

So does caffeine, so I hope you don't drink coffee, tea or any form of cola.

We should remember that alcohol and most drugs are dangerous and will hurt your body, but we should also remember that the potency of them vary quite a bit. As far as potency go alcohol for human consumption is actually pretty tame, where most people won't be much affected by a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. You have to do quite a bit of drinking (as in, more then a bottle of beer per day for your average man) to see long term damage from alcohol, as purely physiological damage doesn't become noticeable until after 20-30 years of heavy drinking (ie. 5+ bottles of beer per day for a man), and you have to absolutely go all out to risk immediate danger from alcohol (a bottle of vodka or so), while not paying attention to your body fighting it off.

In comparison, Cannabis used daily will net you long-term to permanent cognitive impairment within a few years of use. Cocaine will do the same but in about half the time. Amphetamine, crack and heroin will see you suffer permanent bodily damage within a few years. This is not getting into LSD, MDMA and various mixes of "spice", all who can cause permanent cognitive impairment within anything from a few uses to a few years of permanent use.

The major differences between alcohol and cannabis are thus the relatively long gestation period for alcohol-related problems compared to cannabis (though alcohol, for all intents, will cause much more serious damage once it his) and the fact that you can't half-smoke a joint in the same way you can taste an alcoholic beverage without getting drunk on it. You can take a few sips of hard liqour and be unaffected, while enjoying the taste. I doubt a lot of people take half a drag of cannabis just for the nice taste of burning plant.

In essence, alcohol is not the same as most other drug use, both for physiological and social reasons. Trying to compare them is almost as bad as pretending as if all drug use is equal, despite the massive differences in terms of effect, danger and long time risk of different drugs.

In addition to what's been said, legalization of cannabis most likely has an effect on what sort of plant gets distributed to users. A criminal pot dealer wants to deal the most potent (more money per gram) and most addictive (customers less likely to quit) stuff. Under regulation the safety of cannabis can be increased.

McElroy:
In addition to what's been said, legalization of cannabis most likely has an effect on what sort of plant gets distributed to users. A criminal pot dealer wants to deal the most potent (more money per gram) and most addictive (customers less likely to quit) stuff. Under regulation the safety of cannabis can be increased.

If done right, yeah. Additionally, you've just freed up a lot of resources you can use going after someone else. In the US, Cannabis is often targeted cause it's an easy result (and less scary people involved), makes the police stats look good, but that effort would be better directed elsewhere.

Crack, Cocaine, Herione, Crystal Meth, yes, worse.
Marijuana, Mushrooms, MDMA, Speed, LSD, no.

The War on Drugs was Bill Clinton's gift to the black community. Thanks to him, 75% of black kids are raised by single mothers.

KingsGambit:
Crack, Cocaine, Herione, Crystal Meth, yes, worse.
Marijuana, Mushrooms, MDMA, Speed, LSD, no.

The War on Drugs was Bill Clinton's gift to the black community. Thanks to him, 75% of black kids are raised by single mothers.

Nixon coined the war on drugs

So no one is going to answer the question I asked regarding why a New Prohibition on Liquor has not happend in recent times?

Considering as I said before, the failures of the old Prohibition were technically a product of its time, Law Enforcement in the 1920s and 30s compared to Law Enforcement now was VASTLY inferior. And the Mafias/Organized Crime factions of that time are no where near as powerful as they are now.

What with mass surveillance, SWAT, much more sophisticated methods of investigation, would a modern Prohibition on Liquor be more successful?

KingsGambit:
Crack, Cocaine, Herione, Crystal Meth, yes, worse.
Marijuana, Mushrooms, MDMA, Speed, LSD, no.

The War on Drugs was Bill Clinton's gift to the black community. Thanks to him, 75% of black kids are raised by single mothers.

I thought that was Reagan?

But than again from the history I have seen: Nixon started the War, Reagan expanded it, and Clinton made it even worse?

Samtemdo8:
So no one is going to answer the question I asked regarding why a New Prohibition on Liquor has not happend in recent times?

Considering as I said before, the failures of the old Prohibition were technically a product of its time, Law Enforcement in the 1920s and 30s compared to Law Enforcement now was VASTLY inferior. And the Mafias/Organized Crime factions of that time are no where near as powerful as they are now.

What with mass surveillance, SWAT, much more sophisticated methods of investigation, would a modern Prohibition on Liquor be more successful?

I'm going to go with "nope". The police work when the people want them to work. Otherwise you're playing occupying army, which is much harder. The US police struggles with that as it is, standing up and saying "Boo to your freedoms, prohibition didn't work so we'll do it again" (which is how it would be interpreted) would not help matters.

Thaluikhain:

Samtemdo8:
So no one is going to answer the question I asked regarding why a New Prohibition on Liquor has not happend in recent times?

Considering as I said before, the failures of the old Prohibition were technically a product of its time, Law Enforcement in the 1920s and 30s compared to Law Enforcement now was VASTLY inferior. And the Mafias/Organized Crime factions of that time are no where near as powerful as they are now.

What with mass surveillance, SWAT, much more sophisticated methods of investigation, would a modern Prohibition on Liquor be more successful?

I'm going to go with "nope". The police work when the people want them to work. Otherwise you're playing occupying army, which is much harder. The US police struggles with that as it is, standing up and saying "Boo to your freedoms, prohibition didn't work so we'll do it again" (which is how it would be interpreted) would not help matters.

Is that your "to sum up" answer? Because I was rather hoping for a more detailed answer. As in why not the use of Mass Surveilience, A Liquor version of NARC, and other stuff would still make a modern prohibition a failure?

Samtemdo8:
1. Do you think drug use is worse than alchoholism or vice versa?

Well, it's important to remember that alcohol is just another drug. So is nicotine and caffeine. What drugs are "better" than others really depends on the effect of the individual drug.

Heroin, for example, is very addictive, very unhealthy, and very easy to kill yourself with. Cocaine overdoses are harder, but it's still very unhealthy. Methamphetamine is the absolute worst.

Marijuana? It's impossible to kill yourself with marijuana, and it's no more or less healthy than smoking ordinary cigarettes. Most hallucinogens are essentially harmless in terms of their physiological effect; the danger comes from the risk of hurting yourself while hallucinating. There have been indications that MDMA can be beneficial in small doses, but certainly not in the doses taken by partygoers; that said, the big risk of MDMA is that you either a) do something stupid and hurt yourself, b) get a tainted pill and get sick or c) have a heart attack from the agitation.

So the regulation of a specific drug, logically, should follow analysis of that specific drug, not from hazy moral assessments of "drug use" as a general practice. That means scientific and medical studies determining the danger of the drug, any beneficial effects, the likelihood of addiction and what dosages to avoid. This is what all pharmaceutical companies do with all drugs that they discover and think they can use; however, because many drugs like marijuana were originally classed way back in the 50s when people were hypersensitive to drug use, they're over-regulated today. In the case of some drugs, like MDMA, it's not even feasible to do the research necessary to figure out if the drug could be beneficial and in what doses.

And it's not necessarily a good thing for even a clearly beneficial drug to be unregulated - Oxycontin was heavily popularised as a painkiller despite being incredibly addictive, and pharmaceutical pressure resulted in its overprescription and easy availability over the past two decades. Now the US is dealing with a deadly homegrown opioid crisis of its own making, and its lawmakers can't address it because they still think the cause of the problem was drugs being smuggled from South America. (It wasn't. The problem came from doctors.)

tl;dr - I'm fine if a friend drinks or smokes, I'm also cool with marijuana or hallucinogens so long as the latter is being used in a proper environment - i.e. with a sober friend around to stop you walking into walls or something dumb. I'm much less cool with "harder" drugs, mainly because they have clearer and more severe health consequences - I have a friend who is essentially a high-functioning cocaine addict, and I'm constantly pressuring him to scale it down because I'm worried he'll give himself a heart attack.

Samtemdo8:
2. Do you think that the War on Drugs is even more a failure then Prohibition or a success or vice versa with Prohibition?

In terms of actual effect on drug use, the War on Drugs is even more of a failure than Prohibition. It's also been more expensive, and it's taken far longer - there's no real end to the War on Drugs, whereas Prohibition lasted essentially as long as public support was in favour of Prohibition. Prohibition did actually cause a nationwide shift in the perception of alcoholism as a vice, largely due to the efforts of the temperance movement and Alcoholics Anonymous.

In terms of its effect on crime, it's different. Prohibition effectively stymied the availability of alcohol - at least for certain classes of people - but it also caused a massive surge in crime because all of the remaining places to get liquor were, by necessity, now run by the mob. The War on Drugs has not necessarily created more crime so much as it has created more convicts, by overwhelming the prison system with drug users rather than drug dealers.

Most of the negative effects of the War on Drugs happens either a) to poor black people caught with a gram of cocaine and jailed for life, or b) in South America, far from US domestic concerns. That makes its consequences on social order much less visible than those of Prohibition, which caused domestic criminals to form larger and more dangerous nation-wide organisations.

Samtemdo8:
I ask this because I feel there is a kind of "hypocrisy" for lack of a better word with the War on Drugs in that, why haven't they done the same with Liquor again and make another Prohibition, I mean I feel as though the failures of Prohibition were a product of its time and that in todays world with how the current powers and capabilities law enforcement have now, Prohibition would probably be even more successful then however the enforced it back in the 1920s?

You could 100% enforce Prohibition better today than in the 1920s. You'd have breath tests, for one thing, not to mention much better surveillance, a much larger and more resourceful federal government, and an infinitely-more-experienced FBI.

That doesn't mean Prohibition is a good idea. The current system - where alcohol sales are regulated, licensed and taxed, certain activities (driving, performing brain surgery) are prohibited while drunk, and bars are required to closed at certain times - is much more efficient at tackling the public health problems presented by alcoholism.

Samtemdo8:
As to drug users, I also feel that authorities and laws are way less strict with people who drinks compared to people who do drugs, like just an inch of coke in your personal posession and you get 10+ years of jail or something to that effect, and yeah I know the laws are strict with people who drive while drunk but the same can be said to driving under drug influance so liquor hardly has a monopoly on that.

I remember a study which found that driving without having slept the night before is even more dangerous than driving while drunk. But as far as I'm aware, there's no prohibition on driving while sleepy. I've been forced to do it a whole bunch of times when I was going through bouts of insomnia. On some occasions, I literally had to pull up by the side of the road and take a goddamn nap, or else I'd fall asleep at the wheel.

So, yes. The way drug use is regulated is highly disproportionate to the way alcohol consumption - or even habitual insomnia - is regulated.

Samtemdo8:
As in why not the use of Mass Surveilience, A Liquor version of NARC, and other stuff would still make a modern prohibition a failure?

Because the War on Drugs has all of that, and is a failure. Extending the War on Drugs into something with much less public support isn't likely to work any better.

It'd also be a massive vote loser, and give certain local industries a good kicking.

Samtemdo8:
So no one is going to answer the question I asked regarding why a New Prohibition on Liquor has not happend in recent times?

It kinda got lost with your other points. Simply, alcohol doesn't have the same social status as the recreational drugs with the general public. There is a reason opium dens or other establishments dedicated for recreational drug consumption aren't seen the same way as bars in USA.

Samtemdo8:
Considering as I said before, the failures of the old Prohibition were technically a product of its time, Law Enforcement in the 1920s and 30s compared to Law Enforcement now was VASTLY inferior. And the Mafias/Organized Crime factions of that time are no where near as powerful as they are now.

Were they failures of their time though? Was the general public really ok with dry law? If they were, the Mafia wouldn't had enough people to whom sell licor to make any money.

Samtemdo8:
What with mass surveillance, SWAT, much more sophisticated methods of investigation, would a modern Prohibition on Liquor be more successful?

If the War of Drugs serves as reference; I'd say... absolutely no.

At the end, it's all about supply and demand. Cut off the demand, and the supply will wither on the vine.

Samtemdo8:
1. Do you think drug use is worse than alchoholism or vice versa?

Alcoholism is not the same as using alcohol, just as feeding a drug addiction is not the same as using drugs.

The thing with alcohol is that the vast majority of people will use it all their lives and never become addicted, let alone physically dependent on it. It's a very "safe" drug when we look at it in those terms. In fact, there's a significant genetic component to alcoholism, because people react to alcohol differently, for some people it works in a way they do find psychologically compulsive, some people just feel sick and distressed all the time.

But, and I can speak from a little experience here because a close relative of mine is an alcoholic (thankfully sober for over a year now) actually being addicted to alcohol is terrible. In fact, being dependent on alcohol goes beyond terrible. It's rare, because it requires years of unusually heavy drinking, but it's up there with many "hard drugs" in terms of how hard it is to beat. Heck, alcohol can literally kill you through withdrawal. Then there's the fact that even if you make it, you may well have damaged your liver, so just as you're trying to get your life back you now have to live the rest of it with this constant shadow of liver damage that may ultimately kill you anyway.

But let's separate this out. Sure, being addicted to alcohol is bad. But being addicted to anything, save perhaps caffeine and other low-effect easily obtainable drugs, is bad. It is not like on television where someone just looks sad all the time and then their family and friends rally around them and it's resolved. Addicts have very little control over their lives, and even if they do resolve to go clean the chances of them succeeding on any given attempt is very low. There are drugs and treatments which can help, but even they don't have a high success rate. Beating addiction is something most of us can't imagine because it's so difficult.

So in that sense, alcohol is a pretty safe drug. Sure, it's terrible to be addicted to, but it's also very hard to get addicted to. Other drugs, like crystal meth and heroin, cause addiction more easily, and sure, you get functioning heroin users, but they're functioning only in the sense that they can afford to easily supply their addiction and take steps to combat resistance (one reason why heroin addicts overdose so often is because over time they need more and more to achieve the same high - there's also another reason, and I'll get to it). If they were suddenly poor, you bet they'd be mugging people to feed it. There is no such thing as a managed addiction, there is only an addiction which can be met.

But yes, alcohol has terrible social consequences. It plays a role in a huge proportion of violent crime, it causes people to make poor decisions, it impairs their ability to drive or avoid accidents. That is the real problem with alcohol, not alcoholism. Alcoholism is a huge and terrible problem for the small group of people who suffer it (many of whom will die from it), and is also incredibly misunderstood. Erttheking posted a clip from South Park earlier, and that episode is a good example.. the conclusion is completely and dangerously wrong. Alcoholism is not a "lack of discipline", it's an addiction. It's an addiction which doesn't affect everyone who drinks alcohol, but that's not really within our control. Addictions should be treated medically, not seen as a character flaw or personal weakness, and alcoholism is no exception.

Samtemdo8:
2. Do you think that the War on Drugs is even more a failure then Prohibition or a success or vice versa with Prohibition?

Yes, the war on drugs is a complete failure, because it has the opposite effect to the one intended.

So, as with any trade, the drug trade is driven by supply and demand. On the supply side, you've got people growing, importing and selling drugs, and on the demand side you've got people who want to buy and consume drugs, or who are addicted to drugs and need them.

The war on drugs follows the logic that if you cut off the supply of drugs and imprison drug users, you can stop drug trafficking. So, obviously prison doesn't work. A drug addict in prison is still a drug addict. But think about this for a second. What happens when the supply of something goes down but the demand does not change? The answer, of course, is that the price goes up. Now, drug addicts will want drugs no matter what they cost. Rich people who want to do a bump of cocaine on the weekend don't care if it costs more than a typical family spends on food.

So what the war on drugs is ultimately doing is making the drug trade more profitable for those who choose to do it. That's why it doesn't matter how many people get stopped or how many shipments of drugs get seized, there will always be more because the demand is always there, and the only effect of the supply being disrupted is that that demand is not met. There will always be more people ready to join drug cartels and risk their lives and freedom smuggling drugs into countries like the US because it's so profitable that the dangers don't matter.

The war on drugs is exactly like the prohibition, in that it has become a massive driver of organised crime. It's just bigger. A lot bigger. Tens of thousands of people die each year in Mexico alone due to organised crime, but the drug cartels themselves are fine. In fact, they're thriving. There are always more people to fill the gaps, and there always will be as long as the drug trade is as lucrative as it is.

What's needed, and what's proved overwhelmingly successful in places like Switzerland, is to switch to a policy of harm reduction. We should be focusing less on stopping addicts from getting hold of drugs (in fact, there's a good argument we should be giving them access to clean and safe drugs in managed doses, again, the other reason why a lot of heroin addicts die is because the strength of street heroin varies so much that it's impossible to judge a safe dose) and more on helping them reintegrate into society through finding work and housing, and ensuring they have medical support to treat their addiction like the medical problem it ultimately is.

The problem is that ultimately, people don't understand addiction, and people see addiction as a moral problem which people should be able to solve on their own because after all, I'm not an addict, I've managed to avoid addiction, how hard can it be? There's a fundamental failure of empathy around people who use or become addicted to drugs which presents them as bad or weak people, rather than suffering from a serious medical problem. The war on drugs is attractive to these people (in particular, to self-satisfied little conservatives who think their mediocrity constitutes virtue) because they would rather see addicts punished than rehabilitated.

KingsGambit:
The War on Drugs was Bill Clinton's gift to the black community.

[sigh] Reagan, for heaven's sake.

Come on, it's famously known to be an '80s thing. "Just say no" campaign, crack cocaine epidemic, invasion of Panama; the corresponding ballooning of drug trafficking in media: Scarface, Beverley Hills Cops, Miami Vice, etc. Technically the "War on Drugs" was started by Nixon, but it was Reagan that vastly increased the scope of anti-drug enforcement and the punitiveness.

Agema:

KingsGambit:
The War on Drugs was Bill Clinton's gift to the black community.

[sigh] Reagan, for heaven's sake.

Why does everyone forget Nixon?

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