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Zogby Poll: If drugs were legalized 99% of the respondents would not try them…hmmm

February 9, 2009

By A. Citizen

John Zogby did a poll which revealed that if illegal drugs were legalized 99% of the respondents would not try them. This is because they fear not the law but the drug’s mal effects on their health. Since the beginning of time, man has engaged in mind-altering drugs. We start the day with a cup of coffee and we might end the day with a glass of Jack Daniels.

How dangerous are illegal drugs? Well in America every year 450,000 people die from cigarettes, 150,000 die from alcohol, 400,000 die from obesity and poor dieting, 100,000 die from prescription drugs and 40,000 die from automobile wrecks, only 2,300 die from cocaine and zero die from marijuana. In the history of mankind, across the globe not one single person has died from the effects traceable to the ingestion of marijuana. An overdose of marijuana merely drives one to sleep.

Okay, so one might say that all this points to the success of  the war on drugs (Drug Prohibition) since so few die from illegal drugs. Right? Well here are the results based on deaths per 100,000 users. For every user who dies from the intrinsic effects cocaine, 20 will die from Heroin, 37 from alcohol and 162 from cigarettes. Studies also show that cigarettes are more than four time more addictive than cocaine. There it is — cigarettes which are legal are 162 times more deadly than cocaine (given the same number of users). The study’s estimate of the mortality costs for heroin and cocaine can be discounted by 80 percent because about 80 percent of illegal-drug-related deaths can be traced to prohibition factors, as the drugs are cut with poison since there is no quality control.  Just like during alcohol prohibition when thousands were unnecessarily dying from bad alcohol. People were cutting gin with formaldyhyde or were dying from drinking industrial alcohol, etc.

What about the kids? I think drugs are dangerous and therefore should be legal and regulated by the government. Because under prohibition, drugs are regulated, but by criminals. Do you think criminals check I.D.s? Does Jack Daniels give away free samples to kids? Of course only adults should be able to buy these drugs just like with cigarettes and alcohol and one shouldn’t be allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol or any drug that might impair one’s ability.

Sometimes, when the government prohibits one drug, users will substitute with a more addictive and dangerous drug. Take chrystal meth; this drug is unheard of in Holland. In the 1600’s china banned cigarette smoking and people switched to opium. In 1914 the Harrison Act banned the use of cocaine, opium and morphine and people switched to heroin. Now, users, instead of using safer plant based drugs are manufacturing dangerous drugs with ingredients they can buy at a drug or hardware store.  The easy production of synthetic mind-altering drugs in makeshift home labs ensures that users will have access to a virtually limitless number of substitute drugs whenever necessary to ride out the latest drug crackdown.

Drugs are most heavily used in countries that have the most prohibitive ant-drug policies. In Holland the drug use is half of ours.  Heroin was legalized in Switzerland and there were no negative impacts, only positive ones:  property crime went down 60%!

Now, what are the benefits of prohibition. Before alcohol prohibition passed the evangelicals predicted that the jails would empty after the passage of Prohibition. Within one year there were 5,000 speakeasies in NYC and within 3 years there were 30,000. Before the passage of alcohol prohibition the homicide rate was going down and after it exploded. We think the drive-by shootings are a modern phenomenon but it was invented during the twenties. We know, not from intuition but from history, that when we drug Prohibition on drugs, the crime rate will go down, the murder rate, the inner city decay, the corruption, the waste of lives and national treasure will all go down. James Ostrowski, who wrote the most widely read paper on the Internet on drug legalization did a cost/benefit analysis on drug Prohibition. Here’s the basic finding: in order for the benefits of the current drug Prohibition to outweigh its costs there would have to be an increased use of illegal drugs by over 1500% were drug Prhobition to end.

The biggest argument against the drug Prohibition is that it’s a violation of our civil rights. The ninth amendment to the constitution reinforces certain rights but it goes on to say that by enumerating some rights the government in no way limits other rights that are too many to enumerate. This is recognition of our natural rights which predate governments. This gets to the purpose of government. Government is to protect man from man NOT from himself. A grown adult should be able to do what he wants so long as he does not violate another man’s rights through force or fraud.

Besides all of the above if we really want to help those with addiction problems we should stop wasting the $70 billion a year on this futile policy, take a fraction of the savings and spend it on education and rehabilitation. Do you realize that through education we have reduced cigarette smoking by 50% in the last 10 years!

So what should we do? In 1933 when they repealed prohibition, they did not legalize the sale of alcohol at the federal level. No, they simply turned it over to the states. It’s a state issue. One of the reasons our country works so well is that we have federalism (at least we used to) which means we delegate to the states. The states are the laboratories of democracy. They can give us 50 different policies and we can all evaluate the results. If one state gets it right the other states can replicate the successful policy and if one state gets it dreadfully wrong the wrongheadedness doesn’t infect across the state line. States can have different policies to reflect the values of its people. In fact there are some counties that are dry today, most notoriously, Bourbon County, Kentucky!

Besides being grossly unfair, our Prohibition policy is immoral.  How is it moral to sentence someone who has sold a drug to a consenting grown adult, a drug that is 162 times less deadly than cigarettes, to a sentence three or four times longer than that of a murderer.  This is a national disgrace.  America has 5% of the world’s population, yet 25% of the world’s prison population.  We have fewer people than all of Europe yet we have more prisoners on drug offenses than Europe has on ALL offenses.

The next time you read in the paper that a kid has died in the crossfire from a drug related gang dispute or a policeman has been killed in the drug war or someone’s property has been stolen so someone could raise enough cash to pay the exorbitant (90 times higher as a result of prohibition) price of illegal drugs, think that this is the cost NOT of drugs but of the wrongheaded policy of Prohibition.  Drugs do not cause crime, the illicit nature of drugs as a result of Prohibition does.  Were the government to legalize drugs, every drug dealer in America would soon be out of business!  As one congressman put it, ” the war on drugs is unwinnable yet imminently fundable.”  At its core though, drug abuse is a problem, a social, medical and spiritual problem.  Why increase the problem many times over by also making it a criminal problem.  The government’s prohibition policy make the problem it purports to solve infinitely worse.  As someone once said, this is “a problem for the surgeon general not the attorney general.”  The bottom line is that we must, again, repeal Prohibition, not for the drug users but for all Americans, who are forced to endure the violence, street crime, erosion of civil liberties, corruption, and social and economic decay caused by Prohibition.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2009 12:06 AM

    I agree, there is way too much money in the hands of illegal organizations and too many people dying unnecessarily.

  2. fernando m permalink
    January 30, 2010 8:07 PM

    BRAVO!!!. GREAT ARTICLE. complete with stats and facts. The time is now to leagalize .

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