This article is a continuation of a previous article, Drugs, Violence, and Economics. In this article I shall outline the steps that can be taken to sensibly deal with our drug problem. Unfortuately, as an associate has indicated, this will be an uphill battle due to three factors:
The government mind-set seems to be:
1) He who does nothing (new) doesn’t screw up.
2) He who doesn’t screw up gets promoted or re-elected.
3) See rule #1 …
The first step to ending the drug wars is to adopt a science-based legislation system that depoliticizes drug laws. This is the most critical component for success.
This will bring credibility back to government efforts. This approach has worked for food and drug safety, and it has worked in parts of agriculture.
Objective evaluations of the available illegal drugs must be conducted. This must quantify the physiological, emotional, mental health, and economic effects of each drug. The most significant part of the study must be a determination of how many people have used the drug and what percentage became addicted. The study must also determine what resources were used as a result of taking the drug. For example, ambulance, hospital, and police services.
The study must also look objectively at economic costs involved in the manufacture of illegal drugs. For example, grow-ops in rented premises, or meth labs. How much is spent on building repairs, fire service, building inspections, etc..
With the study done, we will have reliable data with which to compare each illegal drug to a benchmark legal drug – alcohol.
We must stop being hypercritical. A drunk alcoholic politician can kill someone with his car and walk away free while some kid can be sent to jail for having a “drug” in his pocket.
The next article will be on establishing reasonable sentencing based upon the above study.