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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the WHO-already-dismissed-by-old-people-as-being-a-bunch-of-potheads dept.

Crime 474

An anonymous reader writes: We've known for a while: the War on Drugs isn't working. Scientists, journalists, economists, and politicians have all argued against continuing the expensive and ineffective fight. Now, the World Health Organization has said flat out that nations should work to decriminalize the use of drugs. The recommendations came as part of a report released this month focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV. "The WHO's unambiguous recommendation is clearly grounded in concerns for public health and human rights. Whilst the call is made in the context of the policy response to HIV specifically, it clearly has broader ramifications, specifically including drug use other than injecting. In the report, the WHO says: 'Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. ...Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs." The bottom line is that the criminalization of drug use comes with substantial costs, while providing no substantial benefit.

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Finally! (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a month ago | (#47488423)

This is one of the most messed-up issues in the history of humanity. Hopefully we'll see an end to the insane war on drugs in our lifetime! Drugs are made more dangerous by being illegal, I don't know why so few of us in the United States didn't learn the lesson from alcohol prohibition.

Re: Finally! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488431)

Drugs are bad.... OKa ;-)

Re:Finally! (5, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488465)

It might cause a few deaths but it also sustains the multi billion dollar prison industry and employs well over 1 million people in the US alone, and that it just counting the lawfully employed.

The government profits from illegal drugs even more than drug cartels do.

Re:Finally! (5, Interesting)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a month ago | (#47488687)

It might cause a few deaths but it also sustains the multi billion dollar prison industry and employs well over 1 million people in the US alone, and that it just counting the lawfully employed.

The government profits from illegal drugs even more than drug cartels do.

The reality is that law enforcement, and other areas of the government, used the war on drugs as justification for increased budget, manpower, weapons, laws (search & seizure), etc. Now that the justification has moved towards terrorism, both real and based on hype, and the drug war isn't needed any more. In fact, most law enforcement agencies now have bigger and more expensive toys today (i.e. drones, highly weaponized SWAT teams, etc.) based on terrorism.

As you said, the one lobby that NEEDS the war on drugs to continue is the US prison industry. From Wikipedia "Drug related charges accounted for more than half the rise in state prisoners. The result, 31 million people have been arrested on drug related charges, approximately 1 in 10 Americans." Granted, a good portion of this includes people who are violent criminals and are also booked on drug charges. However, there can be no denying that if 1 in 10 people are going to jail based on a single type of crime, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate public policies and whether these activities should be considered crimes.
 

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488991)

Granted, a good portion of this includes people who are violent criminals and are also booked on drug charges.

But that number does not include the likely bigger number of people driven into other crimes because of the illegal nature of their drug addiction. The illegal drug trade not only puts some mostly innocent people in a compromised position, but also fuels the vast majority of crime.

lawfully employed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488695)

Very appropriate. Since the only reason they are employed is because of these stupid laws. They produce nothing.

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

rholtzjr (928771) | about a month ago | (#47488889)

I agree with your comments on this as well. What would we do with all the prison space currently housed by drug-related occupants? That would put a heavy dent in the income of the organizations that manage the prison systems (which are mostly cronies of the politicians). And once the dent is made in their profits, they would lobby to elevate the penalty of some other illegal act to put the profits back into their pockets, say jaywalking or driving while texting is a now mandatory 90 days in prison.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488563)

2 Viewpoints you may have not considered.

1: The point on the war on drugs in the US is to ensure select individuals profit from drug trafficking; the NSA gives information to law enforcement all the time per Bill Binney, so there's no reason for it to continue except to bankroll specific banks and government offices and organizations. It's in the interest of literally every other country on the planet to redirect cash flow away from the status quo to bankroll their own programs.

2: Presently, US Citizens are paying a premium for their medical devices and care to bankroll research the rest of the world benefits from. If you legalize drug and drug trafficking, pharmaceuticals are next. That means 90% increases in HIV medication costs for Africans, and 90% decreases in HIV medication costs in the US.

I can see a program where select drugs are made legal to provide sufficient competition for select drugs that are truely dangerous; e.g. Heroine and Methamphetamine are truly dangerous substances while peyote, absinthe, and marijuana really are not.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

itsenrique (846636) | about a month ago | (#47488693)

It might then surprise you to learn that both Heroin (not in the USA *presently* but in Europe) and methamphetamine are already legal in certain forms for certain diseases. Heroin is used for end-of-life cancer treatment from what I understand in some countries because it is more powerful than morphine for pain relief. Methamphetamine is prescribed for weight loss sometimes still (although is efficacy compared to surgeries is questionable) and for extreme cases of ADD. It is designed to be used orally however and not smoked or injected.

HEROIN® brand diamorphine (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47488725)

Say a government wants to reduce harm without too much of a shock to the prison industry. Perhaps it could split the difference by approving medical diamorphine but giving the trademark on HEROIN® (diamorphine) back to Bayer. That way the feds could still go after street dealers for misusing the name "HEROIN".

Re:HEROIN® brand diamorphine (4, Interesting)

itsenrique (846636) | about a month ago | (#47488817)

I think what most people are suggesting is more like local police (or federals) still go after street dealers because legal regulated sale will be allowed that by and large will be the norm because people know it's safe. Like ALCOHOL. Sure, theres a few old timers and rural folk still running moonshine stills, but really, almost all alcohol sale and consumption in the US is legal and taxed. So, there will be some sort of clinic or dispensary where you to go to get your cocaine or heroin. Perhaps there are limits to amount and refusal of sale if customer is already visibly intoxicated, there are hours when sale is restricted (to prevent never-ending binges), and proper ID is required but hopefully goes back to no centralized database. This looks an awful lot like how we handle liquor already, it would be a little more complicated, but not much.

Re: HEROIN® brand diamorphine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488855)

Requiring ID is racist and discriminatory.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

Sam36 (1065410) | about a month ago | (#47488809)

I disagree. I find irony in America's constant pursuit and judgment of those that smoke cigarettes. Yet there is this huge push to 'make everything legal'. As far as health goes, smoking cigs is much better than injecting heroin or smoking meth.

I think the people that will suffer the worst are the poor. Intelligent, normal income people know what drug use leads to. The people in the poverty underworld (those which will never post to /.), will be hit hardest by easy to reach drugs. That leads to many things, more deaths, more high school drop outs, and less employable people.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a month ago | (#47489033)

The problem with smoking is not that it harms your health, it's that it harms other people's health, and makes other people's environment less pleasant to be in. That's why smoking is (typically) banned in public places, or near public buildings, but not banned in the comfort of your own home (that said, even there, it can have severe impacts on children/other members of your family).

Re:Finally! (5, Funny)

strikethree (811449) | about a month ago | (#47488947)

Hopefully we'll see an end to the insane war on drugs in our lifetime!

No no no! If you are even slightly "high" you can not be pure and one with God. We absolutely MUST fight against the recreational use of chemicals, any chemicals, that might in any way lead to a sense of euphoria. Life is pain. Pain is suffering. It is only through suffering that we can be close to God. Drugs and drug use is absolute evil. We must go to ANY means necessary to prevent their use.

Drugs are made more dangerous by being illegal

Who cares? It is only the evil people that will be affected. It will afflict them with suffering and as we already established, it is only through suffering that we can be close to God.

I don't know why so few of us in the United States didn't learn the lesson from alcohol prohibition.

In the 1920s we did not have Echelon and TIA. The NSA and FBI have it all covered now. You can expect a reinstatement of prohibition rather soon. The only lesson that was learned from Prohibition is that without effective enforcement, the evil sinners will continue to seduce the righteous.

Look, everything is in place for 100% enforcement. All of the sinners will be removed from society so that the righteous will not be distracted from becoming closer to God through suffering. 100% focus on work will ensure that the righteous never stray from the True Path. There will be Heaven on Earth... or Nuclear Apocalypse. It is up to you as to what happens. If you follow the one True Path, there will be pleasure in the afterlife when you have finished toiling and suffering in this fallen world. If you sin, this fallen world will be destroyed so that all may meet their Final Judgement soon.

All of this absurd talk of weakening the battle for your soul is the work of the devil. The fight will not merely continue, it will intensify! The fate of the entire world is at stake.

Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488437)

Apparently the "druuuugs are eeeebil" lobby's influence is on the wane. Finally.

For reference: When was prohibition finally called off again?

Re:Huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488475)

Drugs don't kill people, drug users kill people.

The war on drugs failed only.... (4, Insightful)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about a month ago | (#47488439)

...if its goal was to prevent drug usage.

Re:The war on drugs failed only.... (5, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a month ago | (#47488459)

...if its goal was to prevent drug usage.

It's been a rousing success for the law enforcement and prison industries though!

Re:The war on drugs failed only.... (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a month ago | (#47488537)

Hey, all those liberal arts majors in the social sciences need jobs as counselors and parole officers.

Re:The war on drugs failed only.... (0)

itsenrique (846636) | about a month ago | (#47488709)

People who get into these fields often study in community college programs designed for corrections and criminal studies. It's usually a really expensive building with really expensive furniture inside and some very stern looking people working there compared to the rest of the college. The classes take less time to complete, and I'd wager less mental horsepower than getting an AA degree in anything. For reference I'm in Florida.

Re:The war on drugs failed only.... (0)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month ago | (#47488543)

In fact, it is even a success for the military and the weapons industry.

Because dump a shitload of drugs into a real warzone, and you've effectively stopped the war.

No public drug use (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488443)

No ads, no public displays of drug use, no public drug use, not even in designated public venues, and no brown paper bag bullshit either. Keep it private. No operating heavy machinery or participation in traffic while intoxicated. But yeah, the drug use itself should not be criminal.

Re:No public drug use (1, Troll)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a month ago | (#47488485)

But the sale of addictive drugs should.

Companies should not be permitted to profit from the sale of addictive substances for recreational purposes.

Re:No public drug use (1, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488517)

You want to ban video games now too?

Re:No public drug use (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a month ago | (#47488555)

Just banning In App Purchases would be a big move at this point in time.

Look at the descriptions in mobile games these days. One of the things many, many games boast of is being 'the most addictive game in the app store.' Like it's a good thing. A measure of success for the game's publisher.

Re:No public drug use (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a month ago | (#47488603)

i think they mean 'its so good that people just can't stop playing it' when they say their game is addictive. the addiction of heroin might be a completely different kind.

Free demo (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47488759)

Just banning In App Purchases would be a big move at this point in time.

Without IAPs, what's the correct way to provide a limited playable version without offering the first episode without charge and offering additional episodes as IAPs? This "shareware" model, where the prices for additional episodes are stated up front, worked for Doom.

CORRECTION (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47488767)

"a limited playable version without offering" snuck in and survived preview. It should be "to provide the first episode without charge". I apologize for wasting your time.

Re:No public drug use (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488533)

Disagree. The point of legalizing drugs is to prevent an underground supply. The rationale is quite simple: You're not going to stop people from taking drugs. Someone is going to profit from supplying those drugs, so there is either going to be a legal source or an illegal source. A legal source is better than an illegal source.

Anyone selling drugs should be required to inform the users about the risks and consequences. If you still want to take up an addictive drug, that's your own damn fault. It's been proven over and over again that you can't prevent people from taking drugs, so that cannot be the objective. The rational objective is to protect others from the effects of drug use (no second hand smoke, keeping intoxicated people off the streets, etc.)

Re:No public drug use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488617)

As long as you've effectively 'protected others from the effects of drug use', then it's simply a question of policing consensual behavior. Then again, in a free society, there would be no question.

Effects on dependents (0)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47488783)

"Protecting others from the effects of drug use" would have to include neglect of dependents due to excessive spending on recreational drugs, as well as congenital impairments caused by the use of certain substances by a pregnant woman. One's children do not consent to such effects. This is where the "think of the children" crowd gets its ammo.

Re:No public drug use (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488875)

You miss the point. Once the profit motive and corporate greed gets involved, drugs will be engineered that make today's drugs look like candy. Imagine, a profit motive to hooking the entire population . . . for life.

Yeah, legalize drugs. Solve one problem and create a multitude of others.

Re: No public drug use (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488937)

That's the opposite of the truth. People were happy with opium, weed n coca leaf, illegal supply requires the best bang by the kilo. Look at the dumb shit people make without an affordable supply - krocodil?

Re:No public drug use (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#47488657)

like tobacco in cigarettes?

or the 200 other ingredients in there to get you addicted?

Re:No public drug use (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a month ago | (#47488691)

Keep your paws off my coffee mug.

Re:No public drug use (4, Interesting)

itsenrique (846636) | about a month ago | (#47488727)

No ads, no public displays of drug use, no public drug use, not even in designated public venues, and no brown paper bag bullshit either. Keep it private. No operating heavy machinery or participation in traffic while intoxicated. But yeah, the drug use itself should not be criminal.

No ads? OK, sounds reasonable. No public display? OK, we don't allow this for alcohol EXCEPT in designated venues. Do you see a problem with pot cafes? Or methadone clinics? If by public you mean on the street OK, but if you mean no consumption anywhere except the home this contradicts how we treat alcohol. No brown paper bag bullshit? Well you don't usually drink drugs, so OK. No operating machinery or participating in traffic while intoxicated? OK, although proving this for many drugs is much more challenging than alcohol. Example: marijuana.

Re:No public drug use (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488801)

Yes, I see a problem with pot cafes. Drug use is not OK, just inevitable. A concentration of drug use (such as in designated venues) will have a serious negative impact on the local community. It is also a form of advertising. Methadone clinics aren't needed if they're just places to use the drug. If they're actual clinics, then their purpose isn't the use of drugs but to help people quit drugs. You wouldn't go to a methadone clinic to take up methadone, except to wean yourself of something worse.

Yes, I am aware that these rules are stricter than we treat alcohol. I think we should treat alcohol stricter than we do, but I don't think we will. With "brown paper bag bullshit" I mean any concealed use of drugs, not just literal brown paper bags to conceal alcohol.

Re:No public drug use (4, Interesting)

znrt (2424692) | about a month ago | (#47489017)

Yes, I see a problem with pot cafes. Drug use is not OK

drug use IS OK. drug abuse is not.

I see a problem with views like yours which shift the blame on the substance, righteously ignoring the root problems which are social and educational. this view solves nothing, perpetuates the real problems and just supports the status in quo in keeping the prohibition circus going.

Re:No public drug use (3, Informative)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488815)

No ads, no public displays of drug use, no public drug use, not even in designated public venues, and no brown paper bag bullshit either.

Well, if you don't want to do any of that or pay attention to it, then feel free not to. However, just because you don't like it doesn't mean it should be banned.

Re:No public drug use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488867)

The rationale behind "not in public" isn't that I don't like it but that drug use has significant deteriorating effects on society and can thus not be allowed to become normal social behavior. The World Health Organization doesn't want governments to legalize drugs because the people at the WHO are secretly craving, want to stop paying so much for illegal drugs or believe that everybody deserves a better life through recreational drugs. They're weighing the negative effects of drugs against the negative effects of the war on drugs. This is not going to be stoner paradise. You're still wrecking yourself.

Re:No public drug use (4, Insightful)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488943)

The rationale behind "not in public" isn't that I don't like it but that drug use has significant deteriorating effects on society and can thus not be allowed to become normal social behavior.

Bullshit. Any truly free country would not infringe upon people's fundamental liberties in the name of safety. Also, have you ever heard of personal responsibility? If someone sees you doing drugs and wants to try them too, then that is *their* problem and no one else's. And I think there are constitutional problems with the drug war, and constitutional problems with banning public drug use.

I have a better idea: Stop trying to control people and just leave them alone. That way, maybe we'll move closer to becoming 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' rather than 'the land of the unfree and the home of the worthless cowards who sacrifice freedom for safety.'

Re: No public drug use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488949)

Says someone with their head either in the sand or up their own ass.

PErhaps they could answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488449)

this burning question I have had banging around a long long time. Do zombies breathe? Seriously.

It's finally time to do it (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488453)

Legalization of drugs means that government and its corporate masters can seize upon the opportunity to tax and profit from widespread addiction. Also, government should see legalization as an opportunity for greater control, as with the *right* legal drugs, a population can be kept high in a sedate way, and therefore under complete control.

A stoned society is a polite society, and one which can be easily controlled by government.

Re:It's finally time to do it (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47488513)

The problem is, once we get away from pot and other light drugs, the heavier ones have a pretty significant net economic cost. Historically, before our modern drug laws went insane, trying to get drugs out of a local community was a response to local economic collapses when things like opium were introduced to a region. Physically addictive drugs can be pretty devastating to a community as more workers exit the pool and more resources go to taking care of the addicts.

Re:It's finally time to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488551)

That is true for illegal drugs. But the point of this is to legalize drugs and then transfer control of the drug-making process to corporate interests who can engineer drugs that give a great high, but are not so physically devastating or addicting - truly recreational drugs.

The only reason there is such an economic cost is because government has abandoned its responsibility to regulate the drug trade and make it safe enough to be acceptable.

One of the biggest problems we have in society today is free will - most people don't know what to do with it, and end up acting out self-destructively. A ubiquitous, government-controlled drug program can make sure US Citizens remain in a nice high most of the time, and under control. Most people need to be told what to do. Without leadership, they can't function.

Life is just so much easier when you don't have to make big decisions for yourself, and when you don't have huge responsibilities to manage. Let the government handle all of that crap. A ubiquitous, managed drug use program can achieve that.

Re:It's finally time to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488591)

I see someone has watched Interstate 60 or been to Banton [youtube.com] .

Re:It's finally time to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488575)

Have you looked around lately? If keeping drugs illegal is just to keep people off welfare, it has failed. Just about 50% of US citizens rely on federal welfare of some type or other.

I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm saying your reasoning is wrong. We have economic collapse nationwide if your definition is people dependent on governemnt checks and the government having to take care of them. Drugs are not related to this issue.

Re:It's finally time to do it (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month ago | (#47488581)

No, this is the old "Reefer Madness" mentality, meant to make happy both the Puritans and the prison profiteers while keeping the politicians in an elevated state of power.

What actually happens, and Portugal ran this experiment with a sample size of over 8 million people during the past decade, is that when drug use is decriminalized, the usage rate quickly falls to about half.

Most of those are people who are no longer afraid to seek treatment. Some are folks who wind up court-ordered to get treatment, and a few were drug users who were only doing it because drugs seemed cool because they were illegal.

At the end, though, the incontrovertible fact is that the community has half the number of drug users as it did under Prohibition. Prohibitionists are responsible for a doubling of the drug usage rate in the community. Does that seem counter-intuitive? So what? The data is in.

Re:It's finally time to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47489015)

It does not seem counter-intuitive to me and makes sense. It also confirms the beliefs that I already have, though. Can you provide references, though, cuz statistics and all that since skepticism is gude.

Re:It's finally time to do it (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488839)

This is 100% irrelevant even if it is true. The 'land of the free and the home of the brave' would not ban people from taking drugs, even for safety, just like it wouldn't allow the TSA, the NSA surveillance, or any other freedom-violating/unconstitutional nonsense to exist.

Re:It's finally time to do it (0)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about a month ago | (#47488519)

Alcohol and tobacco are good enough for this purpose. The gains from other drugs would just cut into those profits. And you would miss the opportunity to implement piece by piece the tools of a police state. Come on... child porn and terror carry only so far and don't really fill your prisons. Without drugs something else has to be found for this purpose.

Re: It's finally time to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488959)

They didn't say legalize you fuckwit, learn to read. Ignorance isn't an excuse for your waffle either

Response (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488457)

from every politician everywhere: "LALALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU"

Doctors @ WHO (-1, Offtopic)

razorh (853659) | about a month ago | (#47488469)

here to save the world again!

Re:Doctors @ WHO (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about a month ago | (#47488663)

There hasn't been a good one since David Tennant

Safe injection sites (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488477)

We're seeing more places around the world with so called "safe injection sites" which seem to be helping people's safety. I've often wondered if it idea was taken a step further. Create safe haven drug houses, drugs are free, safe from impurities etc provided by the government (likely far cheaper than current policing costs). But you have to stay in a small padded room with nothing to do until the drugs leave your system, and be monitored by nurses. Would they be very popular? Would this all but eliminate the illegal drug trade if drugs were free and safe? I would think for all but the worst addicts, the novelty would be gone, and they would hopefully move on in life.

Re:Safe injection sites (4, Insightful)

Razed By TV (730353) | about a month ago | (#47488719)

I've been thinking along these lines for a few years now. Make the drugs legal, regulate them, and possibly even have the government sell them. Use taxes on drugs to fund rehab programs. Give sex workers a way to get out from drug induced slavery. Cut the head off the cocaine cartel by growing it here or importing it from someone else. Take a blow to the coffers of street gangs as well as more organized criminals.

The obvious number one downside is the potential for an increase in number of addicts. I never really had the answer for how to counter that. Social stigma? Government monitoring program on those who buy from the "drug store" that encourages rehabilitation? But maybe if you make the harder drugs extra affordable in an outpatient setting like you describe, it offers a way out for the addicts, while making it inconvenient for dabblers and college kids to get into the really nasty stuff. You could still sell (and tax, of course) the less addictive/destructive drugs, as you would alcohol and tobacco.

And bonus points if this reduces violent crime rates by people trying to get money to fuel their need.

drugs == health? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488523)

I think 'tis pretty clear that certain drugs (cocaine for example) are in fact bad for thine health. As such, 'tis hypocritical and disingenous for a world HEALTH organization to deregulate them. OTOH, not all drugs are equally unhealthy, and some of the unhealthiest (ethanol and tobacco) are already legal..

Re: drugs == health? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488977)

They're not saying cocaine is healthy shit for brains. You know how it is made with cleaning products and petrol yeah? Then sold and shipped in a myriad of unsafe ways? Then cut repeatedly with fuck knows what? Then sold in an unsafe place by nasty people? Yeah? Fuckin read ffs.

Doctor Rockso does Cocaine (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488561)

Re:Doctor Rockso does Cocaine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488579)

And Lars Ulrich is a panzy. But then these things are for Captain Obvious.

Can we have some Facts please? (-1)

knightghost (861069) | about a month ago | (#47488577)

The bottom line is that outlawing drugs reduces their use, and correspondingly reduce their negative effects on society.

Should it be handled better? Of course. But do it factually rather than the misinfotainment spouted by both sides. Take pot for instance... the genetic and economic damage is huge. 150x the THC is not the harmless stuff the hippies from the 60's smoked. The political Right makes it a boogy man, but the political Left pushes "medical marijuana" which is a bigger lie than "Iraq WMD". Both drive from their marketing basis rather than act on fact.

Re:Can we have some Facts please? (5, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488619)

Relevant quote: "I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before." - John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Re:Can we have some Facts please? (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about a month ago | (#47488639)

Unfortunately, these are not facts, but pure fantasy. First, outlawing drugs does not reduce their usage. The alcohol prohibition indicates that the converse is true. Hence this prohibition increases harm. Second, the harm done is massively increased by outlawing drugs. Most drugs are actually relatively cheap to produce in medical-grade quality, with clear instructions and standardized quality, yet the dangerous low-quality stuff on the market fetches premium prices that then go to criminal enterprises. This situation is purely crated by illegality. Finally, people that are in prison for no good reason are unproductive and cost money as well.

The whole thing is nothing but a massively misanthropic effort by religious and other authoritarians to prevent people from deciding about their own lives and to punish those that have other ideas as heavily as possible. It has zero intention to reduce negative effects and zero effect in that direction. It does increase negative effects massively though.

Re:Can we have some Facts please? (2)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488849)

The bottom line is that outlawing drugs reduces their use, and correspondingly reduce their negative effects on society.

Even if I were to accept that as true (I don't), I would still be 100% opposed to the drug war, because it violates people's fundamental liberties. Such a thing would never be allowed in any truly free country, safety or no safety. It's people like you who cheer on the TSA, the NSA surveillance, free speech zones, DUI checkpoints, etc. simply because you think they keep people safe, without caring that you're supposed to be living in a free country.

Busy Body Types (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488613)

It will never happen as long as we have hypocritical, sanctimonious busy body types running things. People have to pay for their sin of using drugs according to them. The fact that the person is ruining their own health and relationships by abusing drugs is not payment enough for their sins we have to make it a criminal offense as well and feed the for profit prison industry and the gangsters who make a mint by pushing illegal drugs at inflated prices.

Drug use versus crime (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a month ago | (#47488633)

The social cost off allowing the use of certain drugs (alcohol and marihuana for sure, maybe a few others) is preferable to to the cost of trying to ban them. But anyone who thinks legalizing drugs like cocaine or opiates will reduce street crime is living in a dream world; take away selling drugs to earn a living and it will be replaced by a different crime.

Re:Drug use versus crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488741)

Cocaine and opiates were perfectly legal in 1800s and up to at least 1910s.

Re: Drug use versus crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47489007)

Like what? Kidnapping? What? I'm curious.

Use of drugs (1)

Livius (318358) | about a month ago | (#47488641)

The use of drugs is not exactly confined in its impact to the immediate use, which is the theory behind why it was a crime in the first place. But the other bad effects can be made illegal separately. A lot of them already are, in the form of some variation of practising pharmacy without a licence. And if a huge pharmaceutical company creates a drug that has virtually no value other than to create addictions (and deducts all the research and marketing expenses on its taxes), then someone should be going to jail.

You can still say drugs are bad, which they are in many cases, but 'bad' does not necessarily mean something the criminal justice system should address. On top of which, a lot of the time it comes down to tastes in substance abuse. Alcohol is bad for all the same reasons, and compared to some drugs is worse.

Re:Use of drugs (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a month ago | (#47488893)

The use of drugs is not exactly confined in its impact to the immediate use, which is the theory behind why it was a crime in the first place.

No, the theory behind the first drug laws in the United States was that chinese immigrants smoked opium, so the consumption of opium via smoking was prohibited while oral consumption (the white peoples consumption method) remained legal. A racist law written by racist people to harm a racial group.

Drug laws continue to be completely racist, even though the excuses for the laws no longer are. When it wasn't racism against the chinese-americans, it was racism against the african-americans...

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (4, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month ago | (#47488643)

When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.

- John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932

free the innocent starving diaper addicts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488647)

intentional neglect making it look like just being born offends some ill eagle somewhere? wake up http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wake+up+world & smell the atrocities http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather WHO knew?

Fine, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488665)

If we're going to de-criminalize the use of substances that ruin people's health (and I would include tobacco in this as well) then we should deny medical coverage to users for all conditions related to their effects. Society should not have to pay for the poor lifestyle choices of others...

Re:Fine, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488743)

Right, because down that road comes denying medical coverage to anybody into "extreme" sports, not adhering to the government-approved diet, people not getting enough exercise, people in dangerous jobs, etc..

I'm sure we can find some way to deny your medical coverage for some unhealthy act you're guilty of.

Legalize Meth and Heroine! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488679)

What could possibly go wrong?

Meth is already legal in the USA (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47488811)

Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is a prescription drug in the same schedule as Adderall and Ritalin.

This wont fly in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488681)

one reason $$$

The police have too much $$$ tied up or dependent on this war (Grants for equipment, programs)
The suppliers of the police would loose too much business (someone has to sell the police all their military grade weapons and equipment)
The firms hired to incarcerate the guilty (if there's a lot fewer people in jail, these guys would go out of business). Of course with drug charges also come other petty crimes they would still be in jail for, but on fewer charges.

While I totally agree with the WHO, I don't think it will work here for the above mentioned reasons. Not to mention the fact that since the United States does not have an industrial base anymore (being reliant on foreign countries for just about everything) these people, if not in jail, would have no jobs. this is the real crime, I think that if the US started domestically producing most of its own goods, the drug problem would decline on its own as these people could have productive lives if they so chose.

There is no magic bullet (2)

Calavar (1587721) | about a month ago | (#47488697)

Ending prohibition didn't kill the mob. They just switched from bootlegging to trafficking narcotics, and they reached the height of their power in the 50s and 60s, long after the prohibition ended. In the same way, while legalizing marijuana might reduce crime here in the US, cartels in Mexico are Too Big to Fail [nytimes.com] . They won't pack up their things and head home quietly if marijuana is legalized; they'll just start peddling something new.

As for legalizing highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin, I don't see how decriminalizing them good possibly be a good idea. The addiction rate for these drugs is 2.5 to 3 times that of alcohol. Heroin, etc. are dangerous and they weren't just banned because of moralizers.

Re:There is no magic bullet (3, Insightful)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488873)

Heroin, etc. are dangerous and they weren't just banned because of moralizers.

The 'land of the free and the home of the brave' would not violate people's fundamental liberties for safety. These things are banned because of freedom-hating scumbags who despise the thought of living in a truly free country, and yet pretend that that is their goal. But we have the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, constitution-free zones, free speech zones, protest permits, DUI checkpoints, mass warrantless surveillance, unrestricted border searches, and a number of other policiies or agencies that violate the constitution and people's fundamental rights (thanks to people like you), so of course we've never been 'the land of the free.'

Re:There is no magic bullet (3, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a month ago | (#47488925)

As for legalizing highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin, I don't see how decriminalizing them [could] possibly be a good idea.

As someone else pointed out: as counter-intuitive as it might be, the data is in since Portugal ran the experiment [time.com] .

Drugs were not always illegal in the US (3, Insightful)

cphilo (768807) | about a month ago | (#47488703)

Here is a recipe from my great-grandma's cookbook. Cough Syrup Syrup of squills four ounces, syrup of tolu four ounces, tincture of bloodroot one and one-half ounces, camphorated tincture of opium four ounces. Mix. Dose for an adult, one teaspoon repeated every two to four hours. She used to be able to go to the pharmacist and get tincture of opium.

Legalize drugs (2)

ryanw (131814) | about a month ago | (#47488713)

I was initially hesitant with the legalization of pot in California and the other states. But what's fascinating is that now people get their weed from controlled environments instead some back alley with a drug dealer pushing lots of other stuff as well.

I could be 1000% wrong as I have no data to back this up, but it made me think the streets have been safer in California since the legalization of pot. Anyone have any data to back that idea up? Any stats of declining use of other more serious drugs? Maybe it hasn't been enough time yet?

Re:Legalize drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488883)

I was initially hesitant with the legalization of pot in California and the other states.

All you seem to care about is safety. In reality, all drugs should be legalized in the name of freedom.

Re:Legalize drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488927)

I was initially hesitant with the legalization of pot in California and the other states.

It is not legal in California. Sure, there are more than a few doctors who hand out recs so long as no harm would be done, rather than whether there is medical need like the law says, but there are still many who get denied. Then there are those who are too dumb or lazy to even get a rec... there is still a HUGE illegal pot market in California. I do suspect though that a much larger portion of it is grown domestically, and is even purchased upstream semi-legally. A lot of low-life addicts tend to just have their friends with recs buy extra for them instead of going to gangsters to get it. There are no doubt growers who sell to both legal dispenseries and gangsters, at least reducing dependancy on the ultra-violent mexican gangs. So yes there is a reduction in crime, but there would be even more reduction if it was completely legal.

It Has Not Failed (0)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month ago | (#47488731)

It is true that the war on drugs is not getting as good a result as it could get. The same error was made in prohibition. Going after the user with the full power of law rather than going after dealers is the real answer. If we make it clear that a life long set of penalties will be applied on the very first, tiny violation the use of dope will fall to almost zero. For example a life long ban on the operation of any type of motorized vehicle might be applied on the first offense. An ongoing parole fee could be stacked on as well. The idea being that designing the system so that a one time user would live a life with very low wages would send a powerful message. No inheritance or other way out of low wage existence would be allowed. When people see friends and family members forced to live a very restricted life due to a drug conviction the message stays in stark view at all times. Society has seen a trend of hiding punishments rather than making punishments visible. For example we have teens that leave school during the school day without permission. A semester of wearing a pink, jail like uniform to school as well as duties such as picking up litter or shoveling snow off school sidewalks with their friends looking on would break up that nonsense quickly. The same is true of executions. Instead of hiding executions the effect upon the public will only work if those executions are very much in public view.

Re:It Has Not Failed (1)

mattsday (909414) | about a month ago | (#47488841)

I hope this isn't what you actually believe, as it sounds like an authoritarian nightmare to me! What would happen in your little imagined scenario is that the powers of control would inevitably extend to all undesirable* behaviour and would one-day collapse under its own weight or civil war -- after millions suffered.

* Undesirable being defined by the same nutcases who put this law in to place and could include being homosexual, jewish or having drugs planted on them

Back in the real world, I firmly believe punishment should fit the crime. In the case of taking drugs I can't think why it's a crime and why we would seek punishment! Someone at home getting high doesn't even deserve a trivial fine, let alone having their life ruined.

The only time I see it coming in to play is when mixed with other activties. High controlling machinery or a vechicle? Harsher sentencing. High looking after kids? Child neglect, harsher sentencing. Vandalism or assault... you get the idea.

There will be a negative impact to society where people get hooked on drugs and drop in productivity, but we already have problems with alcoholism, gambling, etc...

Re:It Has Not Failed (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a month ago | (#47488881)

Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.

Re:It Has Not Failed (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47488891)

We don't need to make our nation any more unfree, and we don't need schools to become any more like awful prisons. Vanish, authoritarian scumbag.

Re:It Has Not Failed (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month ago | (#47489019)

So what exactly is the tax rate on Christians in your part of Iraq, "Jim"?

Conservatives have been making the case... (0)

Nova Express (100383) | about a month ago | (#47488745)

...to end drug prohibition since at least 1996 [thirteen.org] , on both practical and 10th Amendment grounds. Statists love the "War on Drugs" because it gives them more ways to control people.

Meanwhile, President Obama, the first president who openly admitted to using illegal drugs [go.com] , has cracked down harder on medical marijuana [rollingstone.com] and other uses of "choom" far harder than Bush ever did.

Re:Conservatives have been making the case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488931)

Clinton admitted to using drugs. But he didn't inhale, so that made it okay.

Better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488773)

Decriminalize all drugs and when a ton of marijuana is seized at the border send it to a lab to confirm it is safe (good quality, safe for consumption) then sell to the public in a controlled manner. Most drugs could be handled this way. The war on drugs will quickly end when it is funded with drugs.

There is at least one substantial benefit (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a month ago | (#47488843)

"...while providing no substantial benefit."

I'm going to be pedantic and call BS on this one. If they hadn't been so bold and instead said "while in almost all cases failing to provide enough benefits to justify the cost" I wouldn't be making this reply.

Why am I upset about their hyperbole? Because it cuts into their credibility.

What's the specific counter-example I can provide? Read on..,.

In some societies, criminalization leads to social stigmatization even if the laws are not enforced or only lightly enforced, a stigmatization that would be absent or less strong otherwise. You see this in some parts of the United States, where the existence of little-enforced laws such as laws against littering, talking on the cell phone while driving, etc. reinforce and amplify the existing social stigma against such activities to the point that it's the stigma of being seen doing "the wrong thing," not the fear of getting a ticket or getting arrested, that drives people to follow the social norm.

Even if the enforcement of drug laws doesn't lead to reduced usage in and of itself, the stigmatization can.

Reducing the use of harmful drugs can benefit society in many ways, including fewer early deaths and fewer health problems.

The key though is that whether stigmatization by itself will lead to less drug use or not will vary from society to society and even sub-culture to sub-culture. A sub-culture which is known for being defiant of the larger society may in fact see doing things that are stigmatized by the larger society as a way to rebel. The 1960s young-adult/youth counterculture sub-culture in the United States is one example where a "main culture" stigmatizing an activity may lead to more, not less, overall use.

Now, does the existence of drug laws result in an enhanced stigma that leads to overall reduced drug use worldwide? I don't know. Is there someplace on this planet where drug laws are creating or reinforcing a stigma where the social stigma (not necessarily the fear of being caught by the police) is driving lower drug use? Almost certainly.

What's the bottom line?

* Don't summarily throw out drug laws worldwide.
* Do encourage every country and locality to ask itself to examine the totality of effects of its drug laws both within its own borders and on the rest of the world, and make an educated, informed decision about whether to change the drug laws to achieve the desired goals (which I assume are nominally a safer and healthier society, but which I sadly acknowledge may include things like keeping trading partners happy, keeping a dictator's friends flush with cash, and other factors that are irrelevant to the nominal purpose of drug laws), and if so, how.

NO AGEISM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488851)

I DO NOT appreciate Soulskill's ageist humor. Stop shitting on elderly people. Don't promote ageism.

And this article IS NOT News For Nerds at all!

There's plenty of pro-drug websites that carry nothing but pro-drug news, carefully avoiding all medical and scientific research that clearly shows the dangers of drug use. Soulskill should feel free to post at those sites. It DOES NOT belong on Slashdot.

The problem is addiction, not the use of drugs (4, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month ago | (#47488919)

You can be addicted just as easily to legal drugs as to any substance on the federal schedule. You can be addicted to behaviors like gambling and eating. This problem needs to be addressed medically.

One problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47488945)

But then what excuse will we have to put all the poor black people into for profit run prison systems and turn them back in to slave labor?

What do you mean, "no substantial benefit"? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month ago | (#47488957)

You think civil forfeiture and revenues from private prisons are of no substantial benefit to US law enforcement's cash flow? -- sincerely yours, your unfriendly neigborhood cop.
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