Battlepanda: The War on The War on Drugs


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The War on The War on Drugs

(via Majikthise)

John Tierney is becoming quite a champion against the War on Drugs. All I can say is, good on him.
Amphetamine pills were easily available, sold over the counter until the 1950's, then routinely prescribed by doctors to patients who wanted to lose weight or stay awake. It was only after the authorities cracked down in the 1970's that many people turned to home labs, criminal gangs and more dangerous ways of ingesting the drug.

It's the same pattern observed during Prohibition, when illicit stills would blow up, and there was a rise in deaths from alcohol poisoning. Far from instilling virtue in Americans, Prohibition caused them to switch from beer and wine to hard liquor. Overall consumption of alcohol might even have increased.

Today we tolerate alcohol, even though it causes far more harm than illegal drugs, because we realize a ban would be futile, create more problems than it cured and deprive too many people of something they value.

What's more dangerous than the drug itself is the social/economical context prohibition creates. Queen Victoria took cocaine. There's no evidence that she ended up like Renton on Trainspotting (OK, not the same drug, but you get my point.)