I was referring to the fact that alcohol prohibition decreased drinking rates (despite nucleating organized crime formation and introducing other sociatal harms).
Just what I already postedDo you have a rebuttal or anything of substance to add?
I think the US alcohol prohibition period is probably a bad example to make your case given how many people died from drinking bootleg methanol during that period. The social harm from those deaths, which likely would not have occurred without prohibition, alone is astronomical.
Prohibition is often depicted as a carefree era of exciting parties and speakeasy culture, but any given drink could be your last, when they were so often adulterated with the poison known as methanol.www.pastemagazine.com
So, I'm not arguing that prohibition was a net good, just that it net decreased drinking (by 70% at its peak, and this effect dissapated with drinking reaching pre prohibition levels in the 1970).Just what I already posted
The point of prohibition was to reduce the damage drugs do to society, not to eliminate drugs. It's impossible to say how much or little this has worked without access to the multiverse. You might as well say: people still drive over the speed limit, so clearly speed limits don't work... but wouldn't more people drive dangerously fast if there were no legal consequences? I don't see how anyone can sensibly argue that drug usage is unaffected by legality.
No offense is meant to anyone by this. But the above post is one of the best I've seen on the topic. And warrants more than a mere "Heart" like. Hence this post.So, I'm not arguing that prohibition was a net good, just that it net decreased drinking (by 70% at its peak, and this effect dissapated with drinking reaching pre prohibition levels in the 1970).
The high estimate of methanol deaths was the tens of thousands with the conservative estimate being the thousands (from the source you posted). While this is tragic, the population of the US was 117.4 million
I do think the specter of tainted alcohol does map perfectly to the specter of tainted drugs with modern prohibition.
I think the calculus would be:
if (scale of prohibition effect) >
(harm from prohibition) then it works
if (scale of prohibition effect) < (harm from prohibition) then it has failed.
The scale of prohibition effects would be quantified as follows
(percent of population that abstains due to prohibition) * (social benefits of abstainence)
Harms would be harder to measure as things like organized crime, once started will exist even after prohibition ends due to the leadership structures and connections forged due to trafficking the prohibited substance.
For harms like tainted substances or people experiencing loss of quality of life based I feel like you could sum them (as each value represents a number of lives negatively impacted.
So I would define harms as:
(sum of all immediate deaths due to tainted supply/forced abstinence) + (deaths from violence due to trafficking) + (some value that represents the longer term social harms of formation of organized crime)
For what it's worth, I do feel like if tainted substances were the only issue, both drug and alcohol prohibition would be considered a success in terms of reducing social harm.
I am deeply unsure of the balance once the effects of crime are factored in though. My gut says it is likely not worthwhile.
If there are any obvious flaws to this model please do point them out.
I've emboldened three very important statements and/or questions (those that captured my interest and had me thinking hard).I think you're rather missing the point that many advocates of legalisation make. The point isn't that drugs are good, or that drug use will be lessened by legalisation. The point is that illegalisation doesn't help. The harms of drugs are obvious. Addiction, and accidental death being the most serious and prolific. Making drugs illegal doesn't address those. It doesn't provide for quality control of the substance (fentanyl in the heroin). Also, if you assume that a belief that one can change one's behaviour is an essential element to that change (and you should, because there have been a lot of studies that support it), punishing someone through the criminal justice system is literally doing the opposite of what you need to do to help someone battling addiction. Instead of encouraging someone to self-efficacy, the criminal justice system removes choice and freedom entirely. People offer the trite "you can't help them unless they want to change" up all the time when discussing addiction. Why would anyone want to change when they don't feel like they have the control, the ability to make that change?
So basically, it shouldn't be a question of "Why should we legalise it?" it should be a question of "Is keeping it illegal helping anybody?". Legalisation, while offering support for people when they need it without judgement or repercussions, puts choice and the ability to exercise ones self-efficacy back in the hands of the afflicted.
I'm almost done! I promise! And I'm certainly not picking on you! For better or for worse (for you): you make good statements!You asked what legalisation with regulation might look like. Here's an example. Imagine a tightly regulated heroin bar. Conditions of operating such a bar would include guaranteeing the purity of the supply, having Narcan and a trained paramedic on staff, having a trained social worker or counselor on staff who is identified to each customer as they come in. First time customers must go through an induction process where their needs in terms of addiction and safety are assessed by the paramedic and counselor. The drug must be used on site and the patient must remain on site for one hour after using. The site could be set up just like a regular bar, with a warm, inviting atmosphere - a place people want to relax in, and where they can have a conversation with the counselor or social worker if they choose to. R18.
Surely such a scenario is an improvement on the current situation?
The paramedic and the counselor, in that scenario, wouldn't require anything other than a bit of information about a persons use. Their role would be to introduce themselves, assess if there were any pre-existing medical conditions of concern that should be noted, advise the individual on harm reduction and safer dosing, and make sure that when and if a person decides they want to quit, they are available for them to talk to, or about any other concerns they might have. Their job isn't to turn anyone away or make the process too difficult. It's just to make the person as safe as possible and empower them to make their own choices about when they want to stop.Just a short comment: I'm not QUITE sure what you meant in the part that I've emboldened. And the word "regulation" has been bandied about by a few here on this thread.
Noted. As I said: I wasn't QUITE sure what you were getting at is all. But now I am. And I agree.The paramedic and the counselor, in that scenario, wouldn't require anything other than a bit of information about a persons use. Their role would be to introduce themselves, assess if there were any pre-existing medical conditions of concern that should be noted, advise the individual on harm reduction and safer dosing, and make sure that when and if a person decides they want to quit, they are available for them to talk to, or about any other concerns they might have. Their job isn't to turn anyone away or make the process too difficult. It's just to make the person as safe as possible and empower them to make their own choices about when they want to stop.
I never take anything as being dismissive nor do I ever take offense (although sometimes I have to dig deep depending on the source! ).In response to your other comments. Please don't take this as being dismissive at all, but isn't that the slippery slope argument? That argument gets trotted out a lot, most often to justify not trying something at all for the first time. That just doesn't wash with me. We're intelligent people who can see the downsides of the tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. We're not looking to repeat those mistakes and we're more than capable of putting in place safeguards to ensure they aren't repeated. The issue here isn't a lack of practicality, it's a lack of political will, from both the electorate and their representatives.
Well to be sure: another great and insightful post.I don't think there's an universal model when it comes to drug policy. I just can't support the (current) prohibitionist model, it's not the kind of world I want, and I also believe it has been and continues to be net negative for humanity.
I think it's undeniable that the prohibitionist policies of the US have had a profound global impact. We probably wouldn't be asking for legalization if things had been done differently.
Many decades have passed so what are the results?
For starters: drug use is still very prevalent despite being taboo, there's now a huge selection to choose from, overdose deaths have risen and continue to do so, many jails are full of non-violent drug offenders, the trade is controlled by violent criminal organizations operating on a global scale, the fact that drugs are illegal&taboo makes them difficult to study, etc...
Another thing to keep in mind is that some countries and/or communities have paid a higher price, one could argue that the most developed ones have been relatively spared, besides overdoses and other public health issues (which are still a pretty big deal). Yet many producing/transit countries have had tens of thousands of casualties that are directly related to the war on drugs, and that's in addition to all the other issues.
We humans have been using drugs for millennia and there has always been a small percentage of users who become badly addicted (though addictive behavior is much bigger than drug use).
People often focus on the bad sides of recreational drugs, yet we tend to forget that many of them have led us to many great scientific discoveries. I don't think anyone would enjoy having surgery without anesthetics, painkillers and sadatives.
What if no one had ever been allowed to explore and study morphine, cocaine, cannabis and many others? Maybe we should have arrested Sigmund Freud for being a bit too enthusiastic about cocaine.
How many drugs have been made illegal over the last 10-20 years ? I don't have the numbers but I know it's A LOT, more than ever before. We're stuck in a prohibitionist mindset where psychoactivity is a good enough reason to outlaw and often demonize any substance... That's not science or logic, it's ideology.
The war has caused the price of illegal drugs to skyrocket compared to what it was before, thus making it an attractive business for criminal organizations. It has created an extremely competitive underground market where only the strongest and most intelligent/resourceful criminals survive.
Is that the right way to go about it?