Editorials | Opinions
|America Needs to Change its Drug Laws|
Philo Hayward - PVNN
October 27, 2010
America needs to change its drug laws. It is criminal what the USA is doing to Mexico and other Latin American Countries, and to Afghanistan, not to mention what it’s doing to its own society.
The flow of money and guns from the sale of illegal drugs, to Latin America, is one of the primary reasons for South America’s swing to the radical left. The drug lords now control large parts of many South American countries, and through the funding and bribing of politicians, is dramatically changing the face of government in Latin America.
|Taking drugs off the street would mitigate gang warfare in the cities. Schools would become safer. The problems with guns and the crime associated with drug trafficking would all but disappear.|
In Mexico, some northern states are said to be on the verge of tipping toward being totally controlled by the Cartels. Think of it. Criminals are right now taking over the government of America’s southern neighbor.
Terrorism from the Middle East is being fueled by opium and heroin derived from poppies grown in Afghanistan. Without the money from the illegal sale of these narcotics, terrorism would lose a lucrative source of it’s funding. The majority of those drug sales are made in the U.S.
America’s futile war on drugs has cost the U.S. $1 trillion in the last decade alone. That money would have been better spent on fixing America’s schools; repairing the US infrastructure; and paying down America’s national debt. It is past time, but not too late, to take a refreshingly objective look at how we deal with our drug problem.
All drugs, with the exception of pot, need to be legalized and regulated. I say not Pot because I believe that there is a strong and compelling argument for the complete legalization of Marijuana, however, hard drugs such as cocaine, meth, and heroin should be legalized and regulated under the law.
As it stands, there is no problem for addicts getting their illegal drugs now, even though they are illegal. And yes, they are illegal and there is the potential of spending time in prison, and yes they are expensive and yes they are extremely dangerous to obtain, but that does not stop users from getting them, and using them.
However if there were a place where addicts could go to get their drugs and along with counseling, and perhaps see a medical physician at the same time, it would be far better and much less expensive for our society.
So, what kind of a model would make something like this work? If drugs were legalized and regulated, anyone wanting to do drugs would need to register and get their drugs from a government licensed source. They would have to register as drug users. Their name would be put on a users list and made available to employers, licensing agencies, etc. That would mean that hard drug users couldn't, for example, be licensed to fly planes or do other public endangering activities.
If someone were caught doing drugs, they would automatically be added to the users list and issued a card to enable them to purchase drugs. No jail time. No clogging the judicial system. No nothing. Just the stigma of being put on the users list.
That list could become a very strong deterrent, but without fines and prison time and the other expensive social costs associated with criminalization. There could also be a path one could take to get removed from the users list, such as periodic drug tests to prove drug use has discontinued.
Yes, there would still be some illegal demand for drugs by people who want to do drugs without being on the users list. However, if every time someone was caught doing drugs without a permit, they would automatically be added to the list, and a natural attrition of illegal users would result. Eventually, the illegal sales of those drugs would become a trickle compared to what is happening now. And remember, these same people are already getting their drugs this way.
This approach would remove the extraordinary profit from trafficking illegal drugs, and thus the motivation for people to sell them, resulting in less illegal drugs to buy.
If drugs were dispensed by government licensed pharmacies, they would cost only a fraction of drugs currently sold illegally on the streets. If addicts were making a choice between good quality, inexpensive, regulated, drugs and illegal street drugs, they would be more apt to choose the less expensive, better quality drugs. Certainly that would be another reason why the sale of illegal drugs would be reduced to a mere trickle compared to what is happening now.
If drugs were legal and regulated they would become less expensive. Addicts wouldn't need to commit a crime to get the money that they need to pay for the high prices that drug dealers are currently charging them. Taking drugs off the street would mitigate gang warfare in the cities. Schools would become safer. The problems with guns and the crime associated with drug trafficking would all but disappear.
It could also take our kids out of the drug culture. No pressure to do drugs because someone is trying to make money from the transaction. The coolness factor, and the peer pressure would also diminish. Kids wouldn't be able to buy drugs so easily from their friends anymore.
It would also be safer for the addicts, because drug doses would become more consistent. Less drug-related deaths. Not only would they be getting safer drugs, but also counseling and help with other drug related issues.
There would be less need for police, and less need for prisons. There would be fewer criminals in our judicial system clogging up our courts. There would exist an all around safer environment.
This is just the beginning. This is just one model. There are other models that exist out there. They should also be considered. This is an important issue for our society. There needs to be a free and open dialogue on this issue. We need to devise a system to resolve this drug problem.
There is nothing to fear. We need to do this for our children and for the children in the countries that are being devastated by our unwillingness to bring this discussion out in the open and do something about the problem.
Much of this, not to mention the end of the drug war, could be accomplished by legalizing and regulating drugs. Let's move toward a saner drug policy. This reckless and insane policy we have now, is crippling our society and perverting our culture.
Philo Hayward is the owner of Philo's Restaurant and Bar in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Contact him at philo(at)philoslacruz.com.