1). Has reduced the U.S. industries of drug cultivation and manufacturing to a fraction
of what they were in the 70s.
2). Billions of dollars now flow
out of this country to purchase drugs at greatly inflated prices.
3). Approximately 1/2 of all organized crime’
s revenues come from drugs.
4). Drug profits turn ordinary citizens into criminals. People because of association, need, and drug usage have become involved in the drug
trade, but whom are otherwise law abiding.
5). Increased enforcement has caused
the replacement at the top of the non—violent middle-class entrepreneurial smugglers, dealers, and manufacturers with
the more violent lower class participants. In the seventies those coming of good
families dominated the top position in the United States drug business. By the
90’s that was no longer true.
6). During the 70s when enforcement was increased,
smuggler began bring in huge quantities of cocaine, because measured in dollars it occupies one-hundredth the space of marijuana. With decreasing availability of pot and an increasing availability of cocaine, sales
of cocaine, the far more pernicious drug, skyrocketed. Violence also rose as
South American Cartels set up shop in this country.
7). In foreign countries the drug-export trade has
become organized, powerful, and violent.
Foreign governments are corrupted as drug cartels buy politicians--much like the way big business buy policies from
9). In some countries the influence of “drug
barons” rivals that of the Catholic Church.
10). The expanded enforcement efforts during the 80s have
had little effect upon supply or price—compared to the early 70s.
11). In 1987 the minimum estimate cost of drug enforcement
was $10 billion (3 federal, 5 state, and 2 local). That figure has risen
to over $20 billion for 1990, and $16 billion for courts and prison.
12). High cost of drugs causes a lower standard of living
for the drug users and their families.
13). The legal system is over burdened by the 750,000 drug
marijuana arrests per year, 3/4 of which are for simple possession.
14). Police are taken away from work on serious crimes, ones
15). Tax funds which could be spent on real community
needs such as schools, freeways, and hospitals is squandered on the costs of the drug war.
to drugs has caused cuts in funding for rehabilitation and
needle exchange programs--25% of AIDS is spread through I.V usage.
17). Lack of quality control
leads to poisonings and overdoses.
Restrictive legislation has prevented some drugs from being used for legitimate medical purposes.
Encourages people to use more harmful legal drugs; i.e., alcohol over marijuana.
Also doctors are prevented from substituting opiates and marijuana, when abstinence from alcohol for addicts is not
a viable alternative. Such practice was once popular.
Divides society and families because users form groups which hide their activities from nonusers.
22). For some it creates
moral confusion, for they come to believe that one form of intoxicant, which was used in the Bible, is permissible while the
others not used in the Bible, aren’t.
23). Creates cynicism towards
the courts, laws, police, and politicians because of their roles in the violation of our moral sense of justice.
mistrust and disrespect of the police, because of their use of entrapment, snitches, and other means of deception.
25). Freedom in the pursuit happiness
(mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitution) when it doesn’t harm other people has been eroded.
26). Privacy has been lost through
drug testing, phone taps, and searches; moreover, association with drug users and dealers has become risky because of guilt
by association (much like the McCarthy era).
27). Punitive penalties have disrupted
the lives of millions of citizens each year: those arrested, plus countless more
friends, families, and lovers.
28). Current drug policies attack the more benign drugs while permitting the use of far
more harmful substance. Alcohol costs over $100 billion dollars per year and
is responsible for between 50,000 and 200,000 deaths per year (depending on study cited, including 10,000 overdoses). Cigarettes
cause over 450,000 deaths per year, including 50,000 nonsmokers via second-hand smoke. Illegal drugs, according to the national
Council on Alcoholism, caused 3,562 deaths for 1965.
The use of illicit drugs should be permitted because the penal solution has caused far
greater harm. Secondly, only a small percentage of the populace has an addictive
personality. Estimates from several studies have shown it to be around 4%. These people are beyond control and will abuse
whatever is available; laws will not change their behavior. And those who abuse
drugs for social reasons restrict one substance and they will find another, whatever their group favors.
In addition to preventing the just listed consequences, legalization would have
the following benefits:
taxation of illicit drugs, billions of dollars could be raised by federal, state, and local governments (instead smugglers,
and dealers now reap the profits).
realized through taxation could be used to fund social programs; thereby, getting at the true root of the drug problem. Such efforts would go a long way towards curing
the social ills that plague our society, and at the same time reduce drug abuse.
3. Billions would
be saved as people are freed from prisons. These funds could not be used on socially
4. The suffering
caused by incarceration and breaking up of families would end.
5. By creating
a nurturing attitude through social programs, a more effective attack would be mounted upon recreational drugs and cigarettes. Respect of society, promoted in part
through social programs would create a pervasive attitude of being part of a just society, and as such there would be greater
peer conditioning against self-harm.
differential taxation of the most and least favored drugs, usage would be affected.
The Policy of Punitive Penalties Has Failed
Decriminalization has been tried with marijuana in eleven states without an increase in usage, and similarly
in numerous countries in Europe. In the Netherlands consumption of marijuana
declined 40% from 1976 to 1985. In the 19th century there was no drug control
in this country. The dramatic growth of heroin usage in the 60s dropped off for
reasons other than enforcement; and so too did the overall decline in drug usage of recent years, for it began before the
war on drugs started. A dispassionate look at the evidence reveals that the major
social drug problems are cigarettes, alcohol, pharmaceutical tranquilizers, and then illicit drugs, in that order——as
measured by costs, and mortality. To attack with laws illicit drugs is hypocritical,
unjust, and unnecessary.
Over zealous bureaucrats, promoting their own causes; created the repression and spread
the myth that the use of drugs is destroying the moral fiber of our country. Politicians
have turned drugs into a scapegoat: a safe political cause, a diversion while more pressing issues (issues which the Business Roundtable opposes spending on) are not dealt with and while often existing programs are dismantled. Urban renewal, under funded inner city schools, lack of medical coverage for
a third of Americans, social services for the needy, public transportation, gas guzzling vehicles, usurious interest rates,
corporate welfare, and the need for campaign reform so as to bar special interests from funding elections. Social service programs properly ran would do more to create the respect for society and self that is needed
to give our citizens the moral prospective by which they would understand that to waste time, mind, and health is though a
personal right, it is immoral. It is the social pressures that have resulted
in a much lower substance abuse level in countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark, countries that decriminalized
With repression so great, users fail to stand up and be counted——there
are over 40 million yearly users of illicit drugs. Repression has gone too far,
responsibility and choice should be returned to the people. Given all the facts,
one can plainly see that a redirection of drug policy is needed to bring it in line with reality.
Drug Prohibition in the United States: Costs and Consequences,
and Alternatives, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Science, Vol. 245, Sept 1989, pp 939—47. Truly exceptional article. Many more use recreational drugs in excess do to social factors.
Change these factors and their behavior changes.
We would need, of course, to elect humanitarians instead of politicians for to run such