It’s been almost 100 years (95) since the start of Prohibition in the United States, 82 since it ended, and we have to ask ourselves, did we learn anything from it?
When prohibition was enforce, we had big gangs using automatic weapons, Speakeasy’s where you could go and drink, moonshiners making their own distilled alcoholic beverages, and liquor runners transversing the highways at high speeds to deliver contraband to distant markets.
Today, we’ve got big gangs, often with automatic weapons, rave’s where you can go and do drugs, meth labs making crystal meth, international drug runners bringing in heroin and cocaine, people getting AIDS from shared needles, people overdosing because the quality varies thus dosages are hard to determine. The substances are different, the results are the same.
The war on drugs isn’t a war on drugs because drugs are an inanimate subject that can’t fight a war. The war on drugs is a civil war and it only results in harm to this country and it’s citizens.
In 2001, Portugal ended to opt out of the war on drugs and decriminalized all drugs. The decriminalization continues 14 years later because it worked. While Portugal saw a slight initial increase in drug use, they saw a dramatic decrease in drug overdoses, a dramatic decrease in new AIDS cases, and more recently both the lifetime prevalence, past year prevalence, and past month prevalence of drug use has declined to levels lower than those seen before decriminalization.
The thing that makes illicit drug sales profitable to the point where competition amongst suppliers results in violence and murders, is their very illegal nature. While decriminalization might make the problem more visible, it is only in the light of day where a problem is visible that it can be effectively dealt with.
With the present status quo, those who want to get off of substance addictions face prosecution if they seek help. With decriminalization, those that want help can get it. Those that don’t at least can be managed in a way that minimizes risk to the public and themselves.