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Encyclopedia > Arguments for and against drug prohibition
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The prohibition of drugs is a subject of considerable controversy. The following is a presentation of arguments for and against drug prohibition. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... For the general concept, see Prohibitionism. ...


Arguments against prohibition, and for legalization/decriminalization

Moral and Religious

Many of the arguments for drug prohibition are based on perceptions of drugs as dangerous to people, which creates the basis for a moral opposition to drug use. Some of these perceptions are based on common knowledge or scientific evidence, indicating how certain drugs are detrimental to individuals and communities. Those who are against prohibition argue, however, that even though drugs can be dangerous to people, it would be much easier to control their use if drugs were legal. The legalization of drugs would then be perceived as a more ethical way to deal with the problem.

Some religious groups including the União do Vegetal, Native American Church and the Rastafari movement use psychoactive substances as sacrament in religious rituals. In some religious practice, drugs are sometimes used as a conduit to an oceanic feeling or divine union , equated with mysticism or entheogenic ('that which causes God to be within an individual') experiences. In others, the 'entactogenic' qualities of drugs are used to enhance feelings of empathy among congregations. União do Vegetal (Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal or UDV) is a church which is known fundamentally for its usage of Hoasca (or Ayahuasca) as a sacramental entheogenic herbal tea — the vegetal alluded to in the name of the entity. ... Native American Church Native American Church, a religious denomination which practices Peyotism or Peyote religion, originated in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans. ... Haile Selassie I Rasta, or the Rastafari movement, is a religion that accepts Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia, as God incarnate, whom they call Jah. ... Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός (mystikos) an initiate (of the Eleusinian Mysteries, μυστήρια (mysteria) meaning initiation[1])) is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight; and the belief that such experience is one... This entry covers entheogens in the strict sense of the word (i. ... Not to be confused with Pity, Sympathy, or Compassion. ...

Almost all nations have signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, amongst other human rights treaties, as a set of moral standards for the world to live by. One of the fundamental rights enshrined in international human rights law is the right to freedom of thought, which current case law may suggest is violated by a blanket prohibition of drugs[citation needed]. Bold text Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... International human rights law codifies legal provisions governing human rights in various international human rights instruments. ... Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience and freedom of ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone elses view. ...

Other human rights, such as the right to freedom from discrimination, are also often said to be violated, due to the arbitrary difference in treatment between those who use illegal drugs and those who use often more harmful legal ones. This article is about discrimination in the social science context. ...

In opposition to the mentioned opposition to the intoxicating or mind-altering effects of drugs, some argue that altered states and experimentation are able to push the boundaries of human experience. There is thus a moral imperative to experiment with drugs in terms of human progress, teleological development, or just increased artistic creativity; such ideas are central to Cognitive Liberty, Stoned Ape Theory and Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception. Cognitive liberty is the freedom to be the absolute sovereign of one’s own consciousness. ... For the Canadian writer, actor, producer & director, see Terence McKenna (film producer). ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Critics of drug prohibition often cite the fact that the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933 led to immediate decreases in murders and robberies to support the argument that legalization of drugs could have similar effects. Once those involved in the narcotics trade have a legal method of settling business disputes, the number of murders and violent crime could drop. Robert W. Sweet, a federal judge, strongly agrees: "The present policy of trying to prohibit the use of drugs through the use of criminal law is a mistake" (Riga 53). When alcohol use was outlawed during prohibition, it gave rise to gang warfare and spurred the formation of some of the most well known criminals of the era, among them the infamous Al Capone. Similarly, drug dealers today resolve their disputes through violence and intimidation, something which legal drug vendors do not do. Prohibition critics also point to the fact that police are more likely to be corrupted in a system where bribe money is so available. Police corruption due to drugs is widespread enough that one pro-legalization newsletter has made it a weekly feature.[1] Robert Workman Sweet (born 1922 in Yonkers, New York) is an American jurist and currently a senior United States federal judge serving on United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. ... Alphonse Gabriel Capone (January 17, 1899 - January 25, 1947), popularly known as Scarface Al Capone, was an American gangster who led a crime syndicate dedicated to the illegal trafficking of alcoholic beverages during the time of prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s. ... Bribery is the practice of offering a professional money or other favours in order to circumvent ethics in a variety of professions. ...

Drug money has been called a major source of income for terrorist organizations. Critics assert that legalization would remove this central source of support for terrorism. While politicians blame drug users for being a major source of financing terrorists, no clear evidence of this link has been provided. US government agencies and government officials have been caught trafficking drugs to finance US-supported terrorist actions in events such as the Iran-Contra Affair, and Manuel Noriega but the isolated nature of these events precludes them from being major sources of financing. The Iran-Contra Affair (also Irangate), was a political scandal occurring in 1987 as a result of earlier events during the Reagan administration in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran, an avowed enemy, and illegally used the profits to continue funding rebels, the Contras, in Nicaragua. ... Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno (born February 11, 1938) is a Panamanian general, and was the de facto leader and military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, despite never being the official President of Panama. ...

Over 2,000 people in Mexico alone have been murdered in drug trafficking related violence in 2006. [1]

Prohibition causes more harm than good

Despite increasing amounts of money being spent on prohibition, drugs have become more accessible, cheaper, and more potent.[2] The illegality of injectable drugs leads to a scarcity of needles which causes an increase in HIV infections.[3] The money spent on both increased health costs due to HIV infections and drug prohibition itself causes a drain upon society.[4][5] Despite the fact that most drug offenders are non-violent,[6] the stigma attached to a conviction can prevent employment and education.[7] Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ...

Legal dilemmas

Drug prohibition has created several legal dilemmas. For example many countries allow the use of undercover law enforcement officers solely or primarily for the enforcement of laws against recreational use of certain drugs. Many of these officers are allowed to commit crimes if it is necessary to maintain the secrecy of the investigation, or in order to collect adequate evidence for a conviction. Some people have criticized this practice as failing to ensure equality under the law because it grants police officers the right to commit crimes that no other citizen could commit without potential consequences.[citation needed]

Several drugs such as Dimethyltryptamine,[8] Morphine[9] and GHB[10] are illegal to possess but are also inherently present in all humans as a result of endogenous synthesis. Since some jurisdictions classify possession of drugs to include having the drug present in the blood in any concentration, all residents of such jurisdictions are technically in possession of multiple illegal drugs at all times.[11] Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), also known as N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is a psychedelic tryptamine. ... Morphine (INN) (IPA: ) is a highly potent opiate analgesic drug and is the principal active agent in opium and the prototypical opiate. ... Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (4-hydroxybutanoic acid, C4H8O3) is both a drug and a naturally occurring compound found in the mammalian brain, where it might function as a neurotransmitter. ...

Forbidding drugs can romanticize them

The war on drugs is counterproductive to the goal of discouraging drug use. The primary mechanism for this is reverse psychology. Forbidden things become fodder for rebellion, and illegal drugs have been popularized by this perception. In addition, the ability of the government to enforce drug laws among those below the age of 18 is diminished, which causes high school aged people to become a popular conduit through which drugs are distributed, a counterpoint to "protect the children" arguments of those for prohibition.

This argument is often summed up as the allure of the forbidden fruit, which is increased because it is forbidden. In the Bible, the forbidden fruit is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. ...

Criminalization increases profits for drug dealers

Legalization would reduce the profits of drug dealing. The illegal drug business is very profitable since the price of a product increases when it is made illegal. "Whenever there is a great demand for a product and (the) government makes it illegal, a black market always appears to supply the demand" (Official United States Libertarian Party Platform). It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into underground economy. ... The Libertarian Party is an American political party founded on Dec. ...

Yearly drug trafficking earnings average to about 60 billion US dollars and range as high as 100 billion US dollars a year in the US alone (Duke and Gross 33). Marijuana is the largest cash crop in ten states as well as in the US as a whole[2] The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ...

"Revenues from drug trafficking in Miami, FL., are greater than those from tourism, exports, health care and all other legitimate businesses combined" (Wink 108). The U.S. illegal drug market is one-eighth of the total world market, making it the largest illegal drug market in the world (Rodriguez). Worldwide, the trade in illegal recreational drugs is estimated to be worth as much as US$ a billion per year, approximately the same value as the legitimate trade in pharmaceutical drugs used in medicine.[citation needed]

Janet Crist of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy mentioned that the anti-drug efforts have had "no direct effect on either the price or the availability of cocaine on our streets" (qtd. in Boaz). Additionally, drug dealers show off expensive jewelry and clothing to young children (Duke and Gross 33). Some of these children are interested in making fast money instead of working legitimate jobs (Kane 157). Drug legalization would remove the "glamorous Al Capone-type traffickers who are role-models for the young" (Wink 111). The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, was established in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. ...


The United States efforts at drug prohibition started out with a US$350 million budget in 1971, and is currently (in 2006) a US$30 billion campaign.[12] These numbers only include direct prohibition enforcement expenditures, and as such only represent part of the total cost of prohibition. This $30 billion figure rises dramatically once other issues, such as the economic impact of holding 400,000 prisoners on prohibition violations, are factored in.[13] Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ... One thousand million (1,000,000,000) is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001. ...

The war on drugs is extremely costly to such societies that outlaw drugs in terms of taxpayer money, lives, productivity, the inability of law enforcement to pursue mala in se crimes, and social inequality. Some proponents[14] of legalization say that the financial and social costs of drug law enforcement far exceed the damages that the drugs themselves cause. For instance, in 1999 close to 60,000 prisoners (3.3% of the total incarcerated population) convicted of violating marijuana laws were behind bars at a cost to taxpayers of some $1.2 billion per year. In 1980, the total jail and prison population was 540,000, about one-quarter the size it is today. Drug offenders accounted for 6% of all prisoners. Today drug offenders account for nearly 25%. Libertarian Party opponents to the drug war have stated that if the US government legalized only marijuana, US taxes could be reduced by one third.[citation needed] Malum in se (plural mala in se) is a Latin phrase meaning wrong in itself; it is an act that is illegal from the nature of the act, i. ... The Libertarian Party is an American political party founded on Dec. ...

Personal freedom

Many believe what persons do in private should not be regulated by the government. It is argued that persons should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies, including the recreational use of drugs, as long as they do not harm others. Such arguments often cite the harm principle of philosopher John Stuart Mill who urged that the state had no right to intervene to prevent individuals from doing something that harmed them, if no harm was thereby done to the rest of society: 'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign' and 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.' This argument was used in relation to recreational drug use by Aleister Crowley. The argument is that drug use is a victimless crime and as such the government has no right to prohibit it or punish drug consumers, much like the government does not forbid overeating, which causes significantly more deaths per year. This can be equated with the quest for freedom of thought. The harm principle is laid out in John Stuart Mills arguably most famous work, On Liberty. ... John Stuart Mill (20th May 1806 – 8th May 1873), a British philosopher and political economist, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. ... Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947; the surname is pronounced // i. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Consensual crime. ... Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience and freedom of ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone elses view. ...


It has been shown that ending prohibition reduces the use of hard drugs as it has in countries such as The Netherlands [3].

Since alcohol prohibition ended and the War on Drugs began, there has been much debate over the issue of consistency among legislators with regard to drug prohibition. Many anti-prohibition activists focus on the well-documented dangers of alcohol (such as alcoholism, cystisis, domestic violence, brain and liver damage). In addition to anecdotal evidence, they cite statistics to show more deaths caused by drunk driving than by drivers under the influence of cannabis, more assaults instigated by drunks than by smokers, and more property damage. The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ... Anecdotal evidence is an informal account of evidence in the form of an anecdote, or hearsay. ...

Although there has not been one single substantiated case for the last 100 years in medical history of a marijuana overdose (death), two other legal drugs have been the cause of more than half a million deaths a year in the USA alone: 480,000 deaths from tobacco smoking-related illnesses and 80,000 from alcohol abuse.[15] Although these drugs constitute about 20% of all yearly deaths in the US, and although preventable by direct prohibition, they are legal to use. This shows an inconsistency between the declared motives of the law enforcement agencies to reduce harm and the laws themselves. Some activists argue that it is inconsistent that alcohol is legal for those over 21 in the United States, while marijuana is absolutely illegal. The cigarette is the most common method of smoking tobacco. ... This article needs cleanup. ...

Illegal drug impurities

Often when illegal drugs are purchased in the underground market, there is no care for hygiene, and drugs may be cut with other substances or sold under different guises to increase supply, sale potential, profit, or user addiction potential. This can be dangerous as even though numerous illegal drugs have very low toxicity levels (low potential for overdose) and low addiction potential their safety status can be altered dramatically if they contain other chemicals of which the buyer is unaware. This can increase the potential for unexpected effects, overdoses, and drug dependence. For instance, tablets sold as MDMA have commonly been found to contain methamphetamine as the primary active ingredient or include methamphetamine in addition to other drugs.[citation needed] Methamphetamine has much higher comparative addictive potential than MDMA, and a higher risk of overdose as demonstrated by its LD50s. Dozens of people died in one year in Cook County alone, in relation to ingesting heroin unknowingly cut with fentanyl. [4] Black tar heroin has been known to carry wound botulism. Variable heroin purity, active cutting agents, and contaminated product is one of the major dangers of heroin use, and is strictly caused by prohibition. ecstasy and religious ecstasy MDMA, most commonly known today by the street name ecstasy, is a synthetic entactogen of the phenethylamine family whose primary effect is to stimulate the brain to rapidly secrete large amounts of serotonin, causing a general sense of openness, empathy, energy, euphoria, and well-being. ... This article is about the psychostimulant, d-methamphetamine. ... This article is about the psychostimulant, d-methamphetamine. ... ecstasy and religious ecstasy MDMA, most commonly known today by the street name ecstasy, is a synthetic entactogen of the phenethylamine family whose primary effect is to stimulate the brain to rapidly secrete large amounts of serotonin, causing a general sense of openness, empathy, energy, euphoria, and well-being. ... An LD50 test being administered In toxicology, the LD50 or colloquially semilethal dose of a particular substance is a measure of how much constitutes a lethal dose. ... Botulism (from the Latin word botulus) is a rare, but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin, botulin, that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. ...


Traditional health use

Many cultures have used, and still use the same drugs that are illegal under prohibition for both medicine, and comfort with success.[16] It can be argued that if the benefits of a drug can be made clear then the prohibition of the drug is unfounded.

Drug addiction as a public health issue

If drugs were legalized, drug addiction and abuse would become a health issue, and public health would be enhanced. For one, cleaner drugs would lead to improved health. By selling drugs in state clinics or stores, the government would be able to maintain quality control over drug sales. As with alcohol, government agencies would guarantee purity and safety (Wink 111-113). Steven B. Duke and Albert C. Gross conclude that drug legalization would result in a reduced risk of drug poisoning or overdose. Producers and traffickers currently sell poisonously diluted drugs because they are cheaper and easier to import. Legalization would allow a control of the diluted form and extent. Grain alcohol redirects here. ... Trafficking is a term to describe a transnational illegal activity, involving transporting, usually smuggling drugs, transporting small arms or people. ...

"If drug purities were standardized and clearly and accurately labeled, the likelihood of a person accidentally overdosing would be much less than it is under the present regime" (37-38). Administration of clean hypodermic needles would lessen disease transmitted by drug abusers, including AIDS. Pregnant women with drug problems would receive better prenatal care (Duke 116-117). Furthermore, the introduction of addictive agents added into the drug can also be regulated. Different bevels on hypodermic needles Syringe on left, hypodermic needle with attached color-coded luer lock on right. ... Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS or Aids) is a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). ...

Judge James P. Gray, an advocate of drug legalization, believes that the only way to solve a progressively unsuccessful war on drugs is to decriminalize it and make it a health issue (Luna). Currently, it is difficult for drug users to ask for help or seek treatment because of the criminal status of drugs; drug abuse should be considered an illness. Peter J. Riga believes "it is shameful and irrational that users of cocaine and heroin are labeled criminals and go to jail—with almost no hope of therapy or rehabilitation—while the users of the powerful drug alcohol are considered sick and given therapy". The government provides very little funding for drug treatment (53), resulting in the abuse of addicted people. New York City imprisons one drug abuser for more than 150 dollars per day, but ignores the need of the user. Convicted addicts without money have to wait at least four months for therapy (Kane 155). Treatment is "available for only about 15 [percent] of the nation's drug addicts". Recurrently, judges have to follow mandatory sentencing guidelines when prosecuting drug users. The New York Times mentions that in New York in April 1993, two federal judges were fed up with the guidelines and refused to hear any case that was drug-related (Riga 53). James Jim P. Gray is currently the presiding judge of the Superior Court of Orange County, California. ... Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ... Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. ... Heroin (INN: diacetylmorphine, BAN: diamorphine) is an opioid synthesized directly from the extracts of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Some drugs cannot be used for medical purposes because of prohibition. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no accepted medical uses. The benefits of its use include easing the pain of terminally ill patients. For chemotherapy and AIDS patients, cannabis increases their appetite and counters nausea. The American Medical Association protested the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act due to its interest in cannabis for medical purposes (McGrath 123+). Look up Cannabis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. ... The American Medical Association (AMA) is the largest association of medical doctors in the United States. ... A Cannabis sativa plant The drug cannabis, also called marijuana, is produced from parts of the cannabis plant, primarily the cured flowers and gathered trichomes of the female plant. ...

The rationing out of medicines often creates the situation where a patient with legitimate analgesic needs is provided with an inadequate supply. As many physicians are wary of being placed on law enforcement watchlists, newer and relatively untested non-narcotic pain relievers are frequently prescribed instead of opioids.[17] One such medication was Vioxx, later found to be responsible for an estimated 26,000 to 55,000 deaths by heart attack and stroke. An analgesic (colloquially known as a painkiller) is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain (achieve analgesia). ... Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions, and dysmenorrhoea. ... Acute myocardial infarction (AMI or MI), more commonly known as a heart attack, is a disease state that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. ... Stroke (or cerebrovascular accident or CVA) is the clinical designation for a rapidly developing loss of brain function due to an interruption in the blood supply to all or part of the brain. ...

As many people initially only inject heroin to stretch a limited amount (usually due to limited funds), intravenous heroin abuse was practically non-existent back when the substance was legal and cheap. Therefore, drug prohibition is directly responsible for drastically accelerating the spread of HIV/AIDS among North-American heterosexuals. Needle sharing among heroin users has widened the spread of other diseases as well, such as hepatitis C, tetanus, and endocarditis. Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love or sexual desire exclusively for members of the opposite sex or gender, contrasted with homosexuality and distinguished from bisexuality and asexuality. ... Hepatitis C is a blood-borne, infectious, viral disease that is caused by a hepatotropic virus called Hepatitis C virus (HCV). ... Tetanus is a medical condition that is characterized by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers. ... Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium. ...

The Netherlands government treats drug use as a health problem, not a criminal problem (although there is criminal punishment for trafficking in some "hard drugs"). Because of the country's decision, treatment for drug addiction is widely available in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam 75 percent of heroin addicts are on treatment. HIV infection rate among injective drug users in cities like Amsterdam has dropped from 11 percent to 4 percent and is now one of the lowest in the world. The drug policy of the Netherlands is based on 2 principles: Drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal matter A distinction between hard drugs and soft drugs exists It is a pragmatic policy. ... Nickname: Motto: Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig (Valiant, Determined, Compassionate) Location of Amsterdam Coordinates: , Country Netherlands Province North Holland Government  - Mayor Job Cohen (PvdA)  - Aldermen Lodewijk Asscher Hennah Buyne Carolien Gehrels Tjeerd Herrema Maarten van Poelgeest Marijke Vos  - Secretary Erik Gerritsen Area [1][2]  - City 219 km²  (84. ... Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ...

Research published in March, 2007 by the United Kingdom's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), advocated by Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (UK) into the harm caused by 20 different common recreational drugs, claimed that if recreational drugs were all classified under the current UK ABC system (A focusing on hard drugs, such as heroin, and, strangely, ecstasy and mushrooms containing psilocin or psilocybin, C containing the soft drugs such as Cannabis and ketamine) then alcohol would be a Class A drug (punishment for possession being 7 years incarceration and an unlimited fine, supply incurring life in prison and an unlimited fine), and Tobacco would be a Class B drug, joining amphetamines (with a punishment of a maximum of 5 years incarceration and an unlimited fine for possession, and 14 years incarceration and an unlimited fine for supplying). The Study suggested a drugs policy that reflected the actual harm of the drug - Heroin and Cocaine topping the list, followed by Alcohol at 5th, Tobacco at 9th, with Cannabis at 11th - the study takes into account the stronger hydroponic skunk that now is the most common form of cannabis in the UK, and the recent studies on the capacity for Cannabis use to enduce mental disorders such as Paranoid Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorder. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) was ranked 14th, and ecstasy 18th. The harm ratings were based upon completely pure drug consumption - something that is incredibly rare in Britain, where the average ecstasy pill contains less that 15% MDMA, and is cut with amphetamine, methamphetamine, morphine, 2c-b, caffine and occasionally strychnine, creating complex synergystic effects that the user is unlikely to anticipate, and the harm caused is far more difficult to estimate. Proponents of legalisation argue that this not only demonstrates a palpable hypocrisy, but shows how much safer narcotics could be if they were legaly produced. An interesting case study of the problem of impurities is demonstrated by the influx of the highly dangerous para-methoxyampethamine (PMA) compound into the Australian drug scene, where it was sold as ecstasy causing a large number of overdoses. Proponents argue that this could be prevented by legal production and control.

A key component of this argument is that many of the health dangers associated with recreational drugs exist precisely because they are illegal. The government cannot enforce quality control on products sold and manufactured illegally. Examples would include: heroin/cocaine overdoses occurring as users don't know exactly how much they are taking, heroin users unintentionally injecting brick dust, quinine, or fentanyl with which their heroin had been cut, the more toxic (and easier to make) derivative MDA sold as MDMA[citation needed], etc. Quinine (IPA: ) is a natural white crystalline alkaloid having antipyretic (fever-reducing), antimalarial, analgesic (painkilling), and anti-inflammatory properties and a bitter taste. ... Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic, first synthesized by Janssen Pharmaceutica (Belgium) in the late 1950s, with an analgesic potency of about 80 times that of morphine. ...

User cost of drugs

When the cost of drugs increases, drugs users are more likely to commit crimes in order to obtain money to buy the expensive drugs (Duke 115). Legalizing drugs would make drugs reasonably cheap (Kane 155). Poor addicts or recreational users would be capable of honest work and would not be driven to crime to support their habits.

Racism and unequal enforcement of drug laws

Some consider the war on drugs, at least in the United States, to be a "war on some drugs"...and some drug users. Current drug laws are enforced in such a way as to penalize African-Americans more harshly and more often than other ethnic groups, and to penalize the poor of all races more harshly and more often than the middle and upper classes. The belief that "hard" drugs such as crack cocaine warrant stronger sentences[18] than "soft" drugs such as marijuana or even powder cocaine represents a double standard not supported by scientific evidence. Defendants convicted of selling crack cocaine receive equal sentences to those convicted of selling 100* times the same amount of powder cocaine. Languages Predominantly American English Religions Protestantism (chiefly Baptist and Methodist); Roman Catholicism; Islam Related ethnic groups Sub-Saharan Africans and other African groups, some with Native American groups. ... A pile of crack cocaine ‘rocks’. Crack cocaine is a form of cocaine. ...

  • This disparity was lessened during the Clinton administration when the Powder Cocaine Sentencing Act changed the ratio to 10 to 1.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of offenders convicted for selling crack are poor and/or black, while the majority of those convicted for selling cocaine are not. In fact, Blacks only constitute 13% of all known drug users, but represent 35% of all arrests for drug possession and 74% of all those sentenced to prison for drug possession.[19] In addition, the convention of selling crack in heavily patrolled neighborhoods makes crack dealers easier targets for arrest than cocaine dealers, who tend to operate in private areas, such as dance clubs and college campuses. If this does not demonstrate that anti-drug laws are useless in themselves (so the argument goes), it shows that they are clearly being implemented inequitably. A Masai man in Kenya Black people or blacks is a political, social or cultural classification of people. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... The Universitätscampus Wien, Austria ( details) Campus (plural: campuses) is derived from the (identical) Latin word for field or open space. English gets the words camp and campus from this origin. ...

The creation of drug cartels

Massive arrests of local growers of marijuana, for example, not only increases the price of local drugs, but protects the major drug cartels from any competition. Only major retailers that can handle massive shipments, have their own small fleet of aircraft, troops to defend the caravans and other sophisticated methods of eluding the police (such as lawyers), can survive by this regulation of the free market by the government.

Milton Friedman:"...it is because it's prohibited. See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true." Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was a prominent American economist and public intellectual. ...

Effect on producer countries

The United States' "War on Drugs" has added considerably to the political instability in South America. The huge profits to be made from cocaine and other South American-grown drugs are largely due to the fact that it is illegal in the wealthy neighbouring nation. This drives people in the relatively poor countries of Colombia, Peru and Brazil to break their own laws in organising the cultivation, preparation and trafficking of cocaine to the States. This has allowed criminal, paramilitary and guerrilla groups to reap huge profits, exacerbating already serious law-and-order and political problems. Coca farming has been practiced for centuries in Andean countries, producing coca leaves which are then chewed for their mild stimulant effect. Many of these farmers' livelihoods (whether or not they are supplying the cocaine trade) are destroyed by U.S. sponsored herbicide spraying, usually by air. Producer countries are also given further economic stimulus to grow illicit drugs as a cash crop by the dumping of subsidised farming products (fruit, vegetables, grain etc.) produced by Western countries (predominantly US and EU agricultural surpluses) (see BBC reference, below). Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... A paramilitary organization is a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion. ... Guerilla may refer to Guerrilla warfare. ... Planes view of the Andes, Peru. ... In economics, dumping can refer to any kind of predatory pricing, and is by most definitions a form of price discrimination. ...

Recently, this has become a huge problem in Afghanistan as well, which went from producing practically no drugs in 2000 having been banned by the Taliban to cultivating as much as 90% of the world's opium (6,100 tonnes according to a United Nations report from September 2006). This has destabilized the government to the point that the top NATO commander in Afghanistan recently warned that the majority of Afghanistan's citizens could support a Taliban return by the summer if conditions do not improve. The Taliban (Pashto: , students or seekers of knowledge) are a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim and ethnic Pashtun movement that ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when their leaders were removed from power by American aerial bombardment and Northern Alliance ground forces. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... NATO 2002 Summit in Prague. ... The Taliban (Pashto: , students or seekers of knowledge) are a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim and ethnic Pashtun movement that ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when their leaders were removed from power by American aerial bombardment and Northern Alliance ground forces. ...

Furthermore, the sale of the illegal drugs produces an influx of dollars that is outside the formal economy, and puts pressure on the currency exchange keeping the dollar low and making the export of legal products more difficult.

Same policy for distinctive drugs

Many drug policies group all illegal drugs into a single category. Since drugs drastically vary in their effects, dosages, methods of production, and consumption the arguments for or against drug prohibition are blurred.

In contrast the medical community will group drugs based upon common effects. This allows them to properly regulate the usage of the drugs. Should all prescription drugs be regulated under the same system, doctors may find it difficult to prescribe antibiotics due to the fact they are in the same category as addictive prescription drugs.

Use of more dangerous but more easily accessible drugs

Because some drugs are difficult to make or acquire under prohibition users and producers may instead turn to more dangerous drugs that are easier to obtain or attempt dangerous procedures to make drugs covertly.

For example because a drug like cocaine is too expensive, users may turn to another drug like methamphetamine that is arguably more dangerous, but also more easily synthesized. This article is about the psychostimulant, d-methamphetamine. ...

Another example is when a drug is too hard to traffic and sell easily some users may turn to making it themselves to save money or to keep an easy supply of the drug. If the user is unqualified in chemistry, unwanted reactions may occur. Illict synthesis of methamphetamine often results in an end product dangerously contaminated with toxic byproducts, including chemicals from the reaction such as toluene, iodine or phosphorus, or potent neurotoxins such as 4-iodomethamphetamine. Toluene, also known as methylbenzene or phenylmethane is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners, redolent of the sweet smell of the related compound benzene. ... General Name, Symbol, Number iodine, I, 53 Chemical series halogens Group, Period, Block 17, 5, p Appearance violet-dark gray, lustrous Standard atomic weight 126. ... General Name, Symbol, Number phosphorus, P, 15 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 3, p Appearance waxy white/ red/ black/ colorless Standard atomic weight 30. ... A neurotoxin is a toxin that acts specifically on nerve cells, or neurons, usually by interacting with membrane proteins and ion channels. ...

Similarly homebake heroin may contain contaminants such as pyridine and acetic anhydride. Also dealers often dilute drugs in order to make limited supplies stretch further, using any white powder that comes to hand including chalk, salt or flour. Many people have died from injecting drugs contaminated in this way. Homebake is a slang name of monoacetyl morphine in New Zealand and Australia. ... Pyridine is a chemical compound with the formula C5H5N. It is a liquid with a distinctively putrid odour. ... Acetic anhydride, also known as ethanoic anhydride, is one of the simplest of acid anhydrides. ...

The synthesis of Nitrous oxide from ammonium nitrate is another example; explosive byproducts are easily created, which means that property damage or severe injuries are likely. Instances are known of individuals suffering death or severe injury after inhaling the highly toxic gas nitric oxide having mistaken it for nitrous oxide. R-phrases S-phrases Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... R-phrases , , , , S-phrases , , , Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ...

Due to the lack of availability of other drugs, some communities have seen a rise of comparatively more dangerous drugs such as inhalant abuse. This increased use of dangerous legal products, according to some critics, has been more harmful to society than regulated sales of the currently illegal drugs would have been. // A soda bottle after being filled with blue paint for the means of solvent abuse in Townsville, Australia. ...

Deliriant drugs such as nutmeg and datura are not illegal, even though they are both more likely than most illegal drugs to cause death from acute overdose, and have a higher tendency to cause confusion and potentially violent unpredictable behaviour. Some medicines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) are sometimes taken in dangerous overdoses when people try to use them to achieve deliriant effects. The deliriants (or anticholinergics) are a special class of dissociatives which are antagonists for the acetylcholine receptors (unlike muscarine and nicotine which are agonists of these receptors). ... It has been suggested that Legal drugs#Nutmeg be merged into this article or section. ... Species See text below Datura is a genus of 12-15 species of vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. ... Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (trade name Benadryl, as produced by J&J, or Dimedrol outside the U.S.) is an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine and sedative. ... Dramamine redirects here. ...

Toad licking has also been noted to cause deaths, for instance in an incident where a man died from confusing the hallucinogenic Colorado River Toad with another kind of toad that sweats powerful cardiotoxic steroids. Binomial name Bufo alvarius Girard in Baird, 1859 The Colorado River Toad or Bufo alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, is a psychoactive toad found in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. ...

Block to research

The illegality of many recreational drugs may be dissuading research into new more effective and perhaps safer recreational drugs. For example it has been proposed that a safer substitute to alcohol with many of the same desired effects could be created imparting many health and safety benefits to society.[20] Furthermore, the compensation received and knowledge gained in the creation of new recreational drugs might allow for more basic research into human biology, treatments for medical conditions such as depression, and general improvements in the functionality of humans. Also the illegality of recreational drugs may be hindering the ability of companies to discover and market drugs that could be used for recreation but could also be effective as medical treatments. Functional group of an alcohol molecule. ...

Legitimate medical use of illegal drugs

It has been shown that there may be legitimate medical uses to various illegal drugs, such as use of MDMA for cognitive enhancement in people with Parkinson's Disease,[21] or its administration for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, such as people who have been raped.[22] The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a non-profit research and educational organization which assists scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of MDMA, psychedelic drugs and marijuana. MAPS' mission is to sponsor scientific research designed to develop psychedelics and marijuana into FDA-approved prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these drugs. ecstasy and religious ecstasy MDMA, most commonly known today by the street name ecstasy, is a synthetic entactogen of the phenethylamine family whose primary effect is to stimulate the brain to rapidly secrete large amounts of serotonin, causing a general sense of openness, empathy, energy, euphoria, and well-being. ... Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term for certain severe psychological consequences of exposure to, or confrontation with, stressful events that the person experiences as highly traumatic. ... The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit organization that aims to assist scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of MDMA, psychedelic drugs and marijuana. ...

Arguments for prohibition, and against legalization/decriminalization


One common reason given for the prohibition of the use of certain drugs is to prevent an increase in health risks to those who might use prohibited drugs. Possible immediate detrimental health effects include altered awareness, reduced motor control, poisoning, and death by overdose. Prohibited drugs may also detrimentally impact broader long term measures of health and well being such as educational performance, standard-of-living, and incidence of depression.[citation needed]

There is concern over a variety of other possible links between health problems and specific prohibited drugs: direct somatic problems such as increased accidents (bone fractures, car accidents)[citation needed]; physical addiction and substance cravings; co-morbid diseases such as HIV, bronchitis and Hepatitis C[citation needed]; psychosocial problems such as increased risk of depression, paranoia and psychosis, and others. Health risk profiles may vary substantially between different prohibited drugs.[citation needed] Paranoia is an adverse effect caused by some drugs, including: Opiates LSD Various amphetamines Ecstasy, or chemical name, 3-4 methylene-dioxymethamphetamine Cocaine Marijuana Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Alcohol Caffeine Categories: | | | ...

In many cases though there is contention as to whether apparent correlations between use of a prohibited drug and an increased health risk results from the drug use itself or results from other factors such as the prohibition of drugs (or related social/ sociological/ legal issues related to such prohibition), economic situations, or social situations.[citation needed]

The U.S. government has argued that illegal drugs are "far more deadly than alcohol" because "[a]lthough alcohol is used by seven times as many people as drugs, the number of deaths induced by those substances is not far apart." [5] However, there is evidence that many illicit drugs pose comparatively fewer health dangers than certain licit drugs (e.g. alcohol and tobacco). In the UK, an average of 500,000 people take ecstasy every weekend, resulting in an average of only 10 ecstasy related deaths a year, whilst there is one death a day due to acute alcohol poisoning.[6].

Economics and psychosocial arguments

While a distinction is often made between 'problem use' of drugs (addiction, alcoholism, binge drinking etc.) and recreational use of drugs (e.g. in clubbing or party settings), possession and sale of illicit drugs remains illegal (ref. the United Nations' Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961).

Psychoactive substances, licit or illicit, typically bear a substantial 'cost to society'. Social costs may take numerous forms, for example short- and long-term healthcare provision; harm reduction programs; addiction treatment; public nuisance and third party damage; absence from work and lost productivity; crime committed by drug users while 'under the influence'; and, often primarily, costs associated with identifying/ arresting/ prosecuting/ incarcerating/ reintegrating into society people involved in the drug trade[citation needed].

In the case of licit psychoactive substances (e.g. alcohol and tobacco), such costs are easily ascertainable and are rarely redeemed[citation needed] by tax revenue or the economic/employment contribution made by their manufacturers. The World Health Organization published a Global Status Report on Alcohol (2004). In this report, the social and economic costs of alcohol abuse in the US was estimated at $184.6 billion (1998). In the case of illegal drugs, it is harder to define precise figures for the cost of drugs given the underground nature of the market, although existing estimates for social costs are high: the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, 2006)[citation needed] places the cost at $181 billion per year in the US. Moreover, in the case of illegal drugs, there is no revenue from taxation to subsidise such societal costs.

An additional, micro-economic argument is that drug users (especially problem users) tend to spend a considerable portion of their day-to-day budget on drugs. As any legalisation is likely to be accompanied by high taxation of the drugs, problem drug users — or those with borderline-heavy drug consumption — might increase current spending, particularly as they will no longer suffer the current stigma attached to purchasing from a dealer or criminal (for example, cigarettes in many countries are as expensive as crack, while cannabis typically offers cheaper intoxication than alcohol[citation needed]). While prohibitionists may be criticised for paternalistic attitudes to protecting an individual from self-harm, there exists a genuine risk that, with no legal thresholds to purchase and a commercial interest for the (legal) vendor to sell as much as possible, users might be tempted to 'max out' on their drug spending.

One economic argument for defending prohibition of certain substances is to protect traditional producers of legal psychoactive substances (in particular alcohol) from competing with 'newly-legalised entrants' into the recreational drug market. The argument (an example of protectionism) runs that legal drugs are valuable cultural artifacts and provide a livelihood to entire industries, populations and regions. To use the alcohol example, today's products have emerged over centuries to provide intoxication and delivery of dose in a societally-acceptable fashion. Low-potency products (beer/wine) in particular have evolved to extend sought-after effects to provide sustainable revenues for retail outlets. It is uncertain whether illegal drugs, after prohibition, could sustain similar levels of economic activity or employment, and whether increased polydrug consumption would threaten traditional, legal drug sellers. Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between nations, through methods such as high tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, a variety of restrictive government regulations designed to discourage imports, and anti-dumping laws in an attempt to protect domestic industries in a particular nation from foreign take-over...

Drug prohibition as a solution to perceived problems of society

Some proponents of drug prohibition, such as members of the Temperance movement, support drug prohibition on the basis that many of the perceived problems or flaws of society are caused by the use of drugs or drug addiction. As to maintain consistency with this stance, these proponents often call for prohibition of alcohol[citation needed]. Proponents of drug prohibition fear a society with more addicts and drug pushers (attracted by profits) if drugs are legalized. They believe addicts are more likely to commit more crimes because their minds are altered (some drugs may cause harmful behaviour), much as drunk criminals do sometimes[citation needed]. The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... A cartoon from Australia ca. ... Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its negative consequences. ...

Commercial exploitation of addictive drugs

Some people, especially those who might otherwise support drug legalization, are against it because of the impact upon society of the commercial exploitation of the addictive potential of drugs. The basic concept is that tobacco and alcohol are extremely popular even though they are relatively more dangerous than many illegal drugs and are subjectively less pleasurable. This, critics say, is attributable to the profit motive and large marketing campaigns of tobacco and alcohol companies. If these same companies were able to sell drugs that were arguably more addictive and pleasurable, then, critics say, even more people would become addicted because of marketing and additives[citation needed]. This genre of critics is pessimistic that a system could never be created whereby drugs could be legalized but not be commercially exploited. They often call for reinstated prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, or rather regulatory approaches to curb substance use such as: taxation, advertising bans, retail outlet and venue licensing, control over venue design, drinking curfews, etc.[citation needed] One factor critics point to is the tremendous lobbying power of alcohol and tobacco companies, as well as the large areas of commerce that are already related to illegal drugs, such as t-shirts about drugs, or songs about drugs. These critics also dismiss the idea that legalizing drugs will make them cheaper, pointing to the fact that most brands of alcohol are more expensive than most illegal drugs for an equivalent level of inebriation (this might be true in the USA, UK, Scandinavian, Muslim and some other countries, but is not true in most other countries; also, prescription drugs, as opioids, are much cheaper, when legally bought, than similar illegal drugs)[citation needed]. Many of these critics feel that those involved in the production of certain currently legal drugs such as tobacco and prescription opioids are already profiting off of the addiction of their users. This criticism is directed not only toward the commercial exploitation of physiological addiction, but also of psychological addiction, which in addition to drug use can occur in relation to many types of behavior, for example gambling, overeating and economic consumption[citation needed]. However, the ability of companies to advertise tobacco goods has been severely limited in countries such as Britain, where advertising is banned for Tobacco. A similar measure could easily be applied (and is likley to be) if currently illegal intoxicants were legalised. Shredded tobacco leaf for pipe smoking Tobacco can also be pressed into plugs and sliced into flakes Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in genus Nicotiana. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Look up marketing in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An addiction is a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity. ... An opioid is any agent that binds to opioid receptors found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. ... A medical prescription ) is an order (often in written form) by a qualified health care professional to a pharmacist or other therapist for a treatment to be provided to their patient. ... An opioid is a chemical substance that has a morphine-like action in the body. ... Psychological addiction, as opposed to physiological addiction, is a persons need to use a drug out of desire for the effects it produces, rather than to relieve withdrawal symptoms. ... The term gambling has had many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. ... It has been suggested that Binge eating be merged into this article or section. ... Conspicuous consumption is a term used to describe the lavish spending on goods and services that are acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. ...

Illegal drugs as a pragmatic counterweight to global trade imbalances

Illicit drugs constitute a strong revenue stream for developing countries, with relatively few exposures to Western-dominated free market competition. This is reflected in the basic economic rationale which drives farmers in developing products (hashish producers in Pakistan/Morocco, cocaine producers in Peru/Colombia/Bolivia) to favour the growing of illegal crops instead of a legal alternative. Prohibition facilitates developing country control of the market by

  • ( A ) outlawing the cultivation of the raw agricultural product in Western countries (e.g., cannabis, opium),
  • ( B ) adding an element of risk to supply, and consequently a premium on the product price,
  • ( C ) freeing suppliers from regulatory control of the product (e.g., taxation, quality controls, tariffs and distribution quotas),
  • ( D ) guaranteeing that dominant Western companies cannot step in to oligopolise the market (see oligopoly), and
  • ( E ) providing a reason for employing migrant labour (traffickers/suppliers speak another language to law enforcement, and typically have strong cultural ties to the homeland).[citation needed]

Experience from legal trade in comparable third world agricultural products (chocolate, coffee, pineapples, bananas) suggests that developing countries are unlikely to receive a fair share of the profits of the global demand for their domestically-grown products (see unequal exchange), and furthermore that they will be highly exposed to price fluctuations.[citation needed] By removing prohibition, legalising and regulating trade, the argument is that (illegal but local) crime cartels will simply be replaced by (legal but Western) international trade cartels, with little benefit to small producers, and even less empowerment of producing countries in global trade talks. The current prohibition is thus perceived as imperfect (it attracts crime and political corruption, encourages addiction in producer countries, and offers poor ratios between farmgate prices and street sales), yet also the 'least worst' option in terms of providing immigrant employment and ensuring north-south revenue streams. However, it might be interesting to note that the production of Cannabis in Britain has shifted from 10% being homegrown, to 60% being homegrown, which would show that such economic benefits have decreased.[citation needed] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Unequal exchange is a concept used in Marxian economics to denote forms of exploitation which commercial trade of any type can involve, if objects of unequal value are being exchanged or traded. ...

Moral and religious

Some hold the position that consciously altering one's mind or state of consciousness is morally unjustifiable, and or against God's will as the creator of the human mind.[23]`
For example, the Qur'an advises against the use of 'al-khamri' (intoxicants, derived from 'khamara', to cover, i.e. substances that 'cover one's mind' or 'cloud one's judgment'), saying 'in them there is a gross sin, and some benefits for the people. But their sinfulness far outweighs their benefit.' (2:219), and that they are 'abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.' Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...

In Judaeo-Christianity, the Bible is famously silent on drugs that are illicit today, though makes frequent mention of wine. Isaiah 5:11-12 was a key quote of the Temperance movement: "Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands". Judeo-Christian (or Judaeo-Christian) is a term used to describe the body of concepts and values which are thought to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, and typically considered (along with classical Greco-Roman civilization) a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and moral values. ... A cartoon from Australia ca. ...

In Scientology, drugs are viewed as a cause of spiritual damage and bodily contamination, with addiction being an obstacle to self-fulfillment.[citation needed] Scientology is a system of beliefs and practices created by American pulp fiction[1][2] and science fiction [3] author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as a self-help philosophy. ...

In Buddhism, it is considered wrong to use drugs that lead to carelessness or heedlessness (the fifth precept of The Five Precepts). This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... The five precepts (Pali: Pañcasīla, Sanskrit: Pañcaśīla Ch: 五戒 wǔ jiè, Sinhala: පන්සිල්) constitute the basic Buddhist code of ethics, undertaken by lay followers of the Buddha Gautama. ...

In secular philosophy, as drug use is largely focused on individual or group leisure, drugtaking is sometimes criticised as a self-centred, non-altruistic or selfish activity, and is subject to similar moral criticism levelled at egoism and hedonism. This subject also brings up the question of how heavily morality should be legislated.[citation needed] Egoism may refer to any of the following: psychological egoism - the doctrine that holds that individuals are always motivated by self-interest ethical egoism - the ethical doctrine that holds that individuals ought to do what is in their self-interest rational egoism - the belief that it is rational to act... This article does not cite any sources. ...

Rebuttals to Arguments for drug prohibition and against legalization/decriminalization

Moral and religious

It could be argued that the previous arguments are argumentum ad ignorantiam, and an appeal to tradition. The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam (appeal to ignorance [1]) or argument by lack of imagination, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proved false or that a premise is false only because...

Since religious beliefs are based on faith instead of evidence, religious claims are not subject to rational debate.

Some religions do not condemn drug use, and even incorporate it in formal ceremonies. Moreover, some religions explicitly prohibit harming people who are not directly harming others, as one would be if one were enforcing laws against consensual crimes such as drug possession.[citation needed]


Whilst it must be accepted that the costs of drug-related crime and, for countries with a state provided health service, are large, several other factors must be taken into account. Firstly the taxation of these drugs, coupled with the employment opportunites counter ballance a proportion of these costs. Yet, as is shown by tobacco and alcohol, not all the costs are offset. However, a secondary reduction of costs is often passed over - in countries such as Britain, the detrimental health effects of the drugs can actually save the state money, as death at around the age of 60 would greatly decrease social security and retirement payments. Legalisation would also allow far cheaper drugs (heroin and opiates are very cheap to produce), upon which a great deal of taxation could be placed to increase the offsetting of those costs. Moreover, these costs are still being incurred by the illegal use of illicit drugs, but none of it can be recouped as there is no taxation. DEA Operation Mallorca, 2005 Drugs are related to crime in multiple ways. ...

A second problem that arises from prohibition is the in-elasticity of demand for illegal drugs. The War on Drugs causes the supply of drugs to decrease; meanwhile, the demand for the drugs stays the same. This causes the price of drugs to increase, yet the amount of drugs sold remains constant, thus generating higher revenue, i.e., profits for suppliers. Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ...

Possible compromises

Partial legalization of drugs, or decriminalization, might satisfy both pro and con of this issue, as well as solving many of the problems that drugs cause. In a compromise, drugs would remain illegal, but drug addicts who are non-violent and are convicted for drug possession would go to a drug rehabilitation clinic instead of prison. (Currently, treatment is available for only about 15% of the U.S.'s drug addicts. Now, some people convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison.) Drug addicts would then be treated as the diseased, and not treated as criminals. Possession of drugs would be an infraction rather than a felony. Drug dealers, violent drug addicts/possessers and addicts who possess a large quantity of drugs (probably for sale and not personal use) would continue to go to jail as before, as felons. Decriminalization is the reduction or abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For the similarly written medical term referring to a blocked artery, see infarction. ... For the record label, see Felony Records The term felony is a term used in common law systems for very serious crimes, whereas misdemeanors are considered to be less serious offenses. ...

This would greatly reduce overcrowded prison populations and increase real prison time for serious criminals such as murderers.[citation needed] For example, a murderer who is sentenced 20 years to life, but who only serves 7 actual years due to prison overcrowding, will serve about 10 years of real time when the compromise reduces prison population. By being soft on minor criminals, penalties become harder on major criminals who commit victim crimes.

One solution has been described thus. Decriminalization of drugs would allow addicts to receive medical aid and free drugs from the clinic. Drug addicts would come back to the clinic regularly for the free drugs. Drug dealers would be unable to sell their drugs to addicts who get the drugs for free. The drug dealer would have to move to another country where drugs are illegal in order to sell drugs. With no dealers to catch, police can focus their limited resources on hunting down murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and other serious criminals. The number of robberies would be reduced—formerly committed by addicts who spend the stolen money on drugs. There would be fewer police deaths because there would be no shootouts between drug dealers and police. Drug pushers would not be walking around asking people if they want to buy drugs because they will go to jail, as usual. Decriminalization is the reduction or abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts. ...

Decriminalization has several central problems. Providing addicts with drugs requires additional funding, especially to distinguish recreational users from addicts. Since clinics would be supplied by corporations, this essentially constitute partial legalization. Without the clinic scenario, decriminalization may exacerbate problems. Since the vast majority of negative impact to society stems from black market culture (i.e. organized crime and dealer disputes), prohibition will gain more support. Decriminalization would not eliminate the black market culture. Some claim it may not be morally acceptable to incarcerate people for selling products that are legal to possess, or if not actually legal, only a civil offense.

Critics of partial decriminalization — who may either be on the side of prohibition or legalization — warn that the decriminalization of a soft drug (for example, cannabis) in an area may lead to increased sale of harder drugs (for example, heroin). The problems associated with illegal heroin use — fatalities, muggings, burglaries, use of infected needles — would rise in the area, possibly leading the authorities to conclude that the full legalization of cannabis would exacerbate the situation. (Although in the Netherlands, the opposite idea has been taken—as decriminalization of cannabis has been used as a tactic to separate 'soft' and 'hard' drug markets) Furthermore, in the case of cannabis decriminalization the sale of the drug would still be illegal, and revenue from it would still go into the pockets of criminals instead of the government's treasury (although in the Netherlands for instance, shops selling marijuana still pay income taxes on the product—despite marijuana being technically illegal).[citation needed] A dried flowered bud of the Cannabis sativa plant. ... Heroin (INN: diacetylmorphine, BAN: diamorphine) is an opioid synthesized directly from the extracts of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. ...

See also

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, is a non-profit, international, educational organization comprised of former and current police officers, government agents and other law enforcement agents who oppose the current War on Drugs. ... Drug addiction, or dependency is the compulsive use of drugs, to the point where the user has no effective choice but to continue use. ... Drug possession is the crime of having one or more illegal drugs in ones possession, either for personal use, distribution, sale or otherwise. ... Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience and freedom of ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone elses view. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A perverse incentive is a term for an incentive that has the opposite effect of that intended. ... For the general concept, see Prohibitionism. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Massive mark-ups for drugs, [http://www. ... The Drug Policy Alliance is a New York City-based non-profit organization with the principal goal of ending the American War on Drugs. Its publicly-stated goals include nationwide availability of medicinal marijuana, the creation of drug-related public health measures, ending abuses of asset forfeiture, repealing non-violent... Demand reduction is a term used by drug control authorities to refer to educational and other efforts aimed at stopping people from seeking drugs, as opposed to cutting off their supply. ... Harm reduction is a philosophy of public health, intended to be a progressive alternative to the prohibition of certain lifestyle choices. ... The Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF)[1] is a registered non-profit charity based in the United Kingdom. ... The drug policy of the Netherlands is based on 2 principles: Drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal matter A distinction between hard drugs and soft drugs exists It is a pragmatic policy. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... An altered state of consciousness is any state which is significantly different from a normative waking beta wave state. ... Not to be confused with neuroethology. ...

References, external links and notes

References and external links

  • EMCDDA - Decriminalisation in Europe? Recent developments in legal approaches to drug use.
  • The case for legalisation, The Economist, Jul. 26 2001.
  • The Senlis Council, international think tank on drug policy reform.
  • European coalition for Just and effective drugs policies
  • Drug Legalization, Criminalization, and Harm Reduction. David Boaz. CATO Institute. 16 June 1999. 2 Feb. 2004
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Cannabis. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Fourth Edition. 2000. Rpt. in Dictionary.com 25 Mar 2004
  • War on Drugs. Mary H. Cooper. Congressional Quarterly 13 Mar. 1993: 243-258. SIRS. 1 Feb. 2004.
  • An interview with pro-legalization Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman
  • The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise by Milton Friedman
  • The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture by Richard DeGrandpre, Duke University Press, 2006.
  • "Toward a Policy on Drugs: Decriminalization? Legalization?" Currie, Elliot. Dissent. 1993. Rpt. in "Drug Use Should Be Decriminalized." At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 55-64.
  • "How Legalization Would Cut Crime." Duke, Steven B. Los Angeles Times. 21 Dec. 1993. Rpt. in "Legalizing Drugs Would Reduce Crime." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 115-117.
  • Rolles S. Kushlick D. Jay M. 2004 "After the War on Drugs, Options for Control" Transform Drug Policy Foundation
  • America's Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs. Duke, Steven B. and Albert C. Gross. New York: Putnam Books, 1993. Rpt. In "Legalizing Drugs Would Benefit the United States." At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 32-48.
  • "Legalization Madness." Inciardi, James A. and Christine A. Saum. Public Interest 123 (1996): 72-82. Rpt. in "Legalizing Drugs Would Increase Violent Crime." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 142-150.
  • "Poll Shows Most Russians Against Legalization of Soft Drugs." ITAR-TASS. BBC Monitoring 26 June 2003. Newsbank. 1 Feb 2004.
  • Jaffer, Mehru, "U.N. Firm Against Legalization of Drugs." Inter Press Service 17 Apr. 2003. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [7].
  • Kane, Joseph P. "The Challenge of Legalizing Drugs." America 8 Aug. 1992. Rpt. in "Should Drugs Be Legalized?" Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Health and Society. 2nd ed., Eileen L. Daniel, ed., Guilford, CT.: Dushkin Publishing Group, 1996: 154-158.
  • Luna, Claire. "Orange County Judge Gray, a Drug-War Foe, Will Run for Senate Now a Libertarian, the Longtime Advocate of Legalization Will Challenge Boxer in 2004." Los Angeles Times 20 Nov. 2003: B3. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [8].
  • Lynch, Gerald W. "Legalizing Drugs Is Not the Solution." America 13 Feb. 1993. Rpt. in "Legalizing Drugs Would Not Reduce Crime." At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 110-113.
  • McGrath, Matt. "Economic Considerations on the Legalization of Cannabis." Tufts 13 Dec. 1994. 30 July 1997. [9]. Rpt. in "Marijuana Should Be Legalized." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 112-130.
  • McNeely, Jennifer. "Methadone Maintenance Treatment." Lindesmith Center 1997. Rpt. in "Methadone Is an Effective Treatment for Heroin Addiction." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 91-95.
  • McWilliams, Peter. Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do. Los Angeles, CA. : Prelude Press, 1996 (full text)
  • Mendez, Julia de Cruz and Ralf Winkler. "Marihuana Tax Act of 1937." Jan. 1996. 24 Mar. 2004 [10].
  • Paulin, Alastair. "Taxation Without Legalization." Mother Jones June 2003: 26. Newsbank. 1 Feb. 2004 [11].
  • Riga, Peter J. "The Drug War Is a Crime: Let's Try Decriminalization." Commonweal. 16 July 1993. Rpt. in "Legalization Would Help Solve the Nation's Drug Problem." At Issue: Legalizing Drugs. Karin L. Swisher, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1996: 52-54.
  • Rodriguez, L. Jacabo. "Time to End the Drug War." CATO Institute 13 Dec. 1997. 23 Feb. 2004 [12].
  • "Should We Re-Legalize Drugs?" United States Libertarian Party. 22 Feb. 2004 [13].
  • Thornton, Mark. "Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure." CATO Institute 17 July 1991. 24 Mar. 2004 [14].
  • Wink, Walter. "Getting Off Drugs: The Legalization Potion." Friends Journal Feb. 1996. Rpt. in "Illegal Drugs Should Be Legalized." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 107-114.
  • Zuckerman, Mortimer B. "Great Idea for Ruining Kids." U.S. News & World Report 24 Feb. 1997. Rpt. in "Legalizing Drugs Would Increase Drug Use." Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs. Charles P. Cozic, ed., San Diego, CA.: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998: 151-152.
  • Leavitt, Fred. (2003) The REAL Drug Abusers. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Armentano, Paul. "Drug War Mythology" in You Are Being Lied To. China: The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2001. Pages 234-240
  • Goldstein, P.J., Brownstein, H.H., Ryan, P.J. & Bellucci, P.A., "Crack and Homicide in New York City: A Case Study in the Epidemiology of Violence," in Reinarman, C. and Levine, H. (eds.), Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 113-130.
  • Simpson, John, 'Rethinking the war on drugs', BBC News, 7 October 2005.
  • Marijuana 'top cash crop in US', BBC News, 19 December 2006.

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was a prominent American economist and public intellectual. ... Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was a prominent American economist and public intellectual. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Inter Press Service (abbreviated: IPS) is a global news agency. ... See also Libertarianism and Libertarian Party Libertarian,is a term for person who has made a conscious and principled commitment, evidenced by a statement or Pledge, to forswear violating others rights and usually living in voluntary communities: thus in law no longer subject to government supervision. ... Gerald W. Lynch was the third President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the only institution of higher education in the United States dedicated exclusively to the study of criminal justice, law enforcement, police science, and public service. ... Matthew J. “Matt” McGrath (December 18, 1878 – January 29 1941) was an Irish-American policeman, thrower and Olympic gold medalist. ... is the 211th day of the year (212th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Peter Alexander McWilliams (August 5, 1949 - June 14, 2000) was a writer and cannabis activist. ... Aint Nobodys Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Society (ISBN 0931580587) is a book by Peter McWilliams in which he presents the history of legislation against consensual crimes (also called victimless crimes), as well as arguments for their legalization. ... Ralf Winkler, alias A.R. Penck, born in 1939 in East Germany, influential, prolific Jewish painter and printmaker. ... is the 197th day of the year (198th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Libertarian Party is a United States political party created in 1971. ... Mark Thornton Mark Thornton is an famous Harry Potter conspirator who adheres to the principles of the Fawkes as Horcrux Thornton received his B.S. from St. ... is the 198th day of the year (199th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Dr. Walter Wink is Professor at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. ... Paul Armentano is the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. A freelance commercial writer, Armentano has written articles for Penthouse Magazine, The Washington Post, Creative Screenwriting, and Congressional Quarterly [1]. He has also been a High Times columnist since 1995. ...


  1. ^ http://www.stopthedrugwar.org
  2. ^ SAMHSA, 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C. 2001. See table G.75; SAMHSA, Monitoring the Future: Overview of Key Findings 2000, Washington, D.C. 2001. See table 8.
  3. ^ Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 11 (No. 2). Washington, D.C. 1999 White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, "National Drug Control Strategy: 2000 Annual Report", Washington, D.C., 2001.
  4. ^ Sourcebook for Criminal Justice Statistics 1998, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1999. P. 462
  5. ^ National Association of State Budget Officers, "1995 State Expenditures Report". April 1996. Pp. 55
  6. ^ Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison, Prisoners in 2000, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. August 2001
  7. ^ http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/youth/10753res20020614.html
  8. ^ Barker SA, Monti JA and Christian ST (1981). N,N-Dimethyltryptamine: An endogenous hallucinogen. In International Review of Neurobiology, vol 22, pp. 83-110; Academic Press, Inc.
  9. ^ Chotima Poeaknapo. Mammalian morphine: de novo formation of morphine in human cells. Med Sci Monit, 2005; 11(5): MS6-17
  10. ^ Rarediseases.org
  11. ^ http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/transcripts/2005/050829_5aa.html
  12. ^ Drug war facts
  13. ^ Drug Offenders In The Corrections System — Prisons, Jails and Probation
  14. ^ The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise
  15. ^ Annual Causes of Death in the United States
  16. ^ Medical Uses of Illicit Drugs
  17. ^ Doctors say US Drug policy forces pain patients to extreme measures, turns doctors into criminals
  18. ^ Federal Trafficking Penalties
  19. ^ Effectiveness of the War on Drugs
  20. ^ the pleasures of alcohol, with no downsides
  21. ^ as a brain booster for Parkinson's?
  22. ^ Tell FDA Some Hallucinogens May Aid Alcoholics, terminally ill and psychiatric patients
  23. ^ Churches in St. Lucia Work Together Against Drugs

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Arguments To Make Americans Fear Prohibition (6291 words)
Through some miracle of rhetoric, drug warriors seem to have convinced the public that they are responsible for some marvelous society where no one uses drugs because they are illegal, but that reformers are responsible for the current situation where anyone, regardless of age or income, can purchase drugs easily with no control whatsoever.
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Prohibition (drugs) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5554 words)
The prohibition of drugs through legislation or religious law is a common means of controlling the perceived negative consequences of recreational drug use at a society- or world-wide level.
Present-day attempts to enforce drug prohibition in the U.S. are frequently considered to be part of the ongoing War on Drugs instituted by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
A major campaign against hashish-eating Sufis was conducted in Egypt in the 11th and 12th centuries resulting among other things in the burning of fields of cannabis, and the public torture of hashish users (Ref 1).
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