Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
I've only been able to follow this conversation in spots, and I don't have much time,  so please forgive me if I misunderstand or if I have missed something.

The arguments for legalization of hard drugs drugs seem to be:

  1. People have a right to have some fun in their lives.  Alcohol and cigarettes are legal, so why not "hard" drugs.

  2. Hard drugs are not necessarily all that damaging to health in themselves

  3. many of the harmful effects are a consequence of them being illegal and uncontrolled - e.g. dirty needles, contaminated product, uncontrolled dosages, uneducated users

  4. Addiction is as much a socially learned behaviour as it is a physiological disorder, if not more so

  5. OK some people may get addicted, have violent reactions etc. but that is a problem that should be handled medically

  6.  Criminalisation creates a huge class of unjustly convicted criminals

  7.  The costs of drug related crime to society are huge and could be much reduced by legalisation

  8. Criminalisation serves the interests of corrupt elites and security organisations

  9. Prohibition has been shown not to work in relation to Alcohol

  10.  Things couldn't be much worse than they currently are

anything else I should add?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 03:58:44 PM EST
You might add that the estimated social cost of alcohol in France is 1.2% - 1,4% of GDP.

Source: WHO Europe, Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance) and the Institute of Alcohol Studies.

....Something to think about in terms of priorities.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting stat - but how does it help make the argument for legalisation of hard drugs - - does it not say the reverse - even legal drugs cost a fortune in social costs, and so decriminalising hard drugs may not reduce social costs?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Social costs include police enforcement, hospitalization, emergency services, and days off work. Legalization would remove the first cost, reduce the second and third(quality control of product), but probably not affect the fourth.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If drug use becomes a lot more widespread as a result of decriminalisation, would that not offset some of the benefits?  We give out clean needles now anyway.  It doesn't require decriminalisation to mitigate some of the harmful effects of criminalization.  How can we model the effect of decriminalisation on usage volumes?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhere in there should be that the illegality of drugs funds criminal organizations. Some of this crime is simply crime due to the illegality of the product sold, but some of it is linked to organized crime of larger scope. Such a reliable, profitable enterprise providing constant monetary support can certainly not make it easier to combat these undesirable organizations.

Thanks for your little summaries of comment threads, btw. I find them quite useful.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:10:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the compliment - I wasn't aware I did this habitually, but I am a simple person and sometimes I have to reduce your complex/lenghty arguments to terms that I can understand.

so your point is

11) The presence of a drug related  and funded criminal sub-culture can provide the basis for larger criminal and dysfunctional tendencies/organisations in society (e.g. Mafia?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:37:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in my view, is that decriminalizing drugs would instantly cut crime by 90% or so - both by eliminating drug trafficking and by completely eliminating the need for petty criminality by addicts to pay for another dose.

Imagine that.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you ever heard of jail workers unions, police unions, police departments, jail owners (thanks privatisation)...

Don't mention that argument... (in the US at least.)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:31:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is certainly some sociology out there on the "amplification of deviance" which argues that the presence of a large security industry dependent on the continuance of crime creates a situation where at least some crimes are created just to keep the industry expanding and "profitable".  Parliaments create a lot more new laws than they annul, legal precedents/rulings are creating new "offenses" all the time,  enforcement procedures can have the effect of turning innocent bystanders or minor offenders into more serious ones, Jails are "universities of crime" where prisoners are socialised into a criminal subculture etc. etc.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 04:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany: We Demand: Heroin To Be Provided By The State

Horst Kruse, Police chief Bielefeld: "Traditional drug policy has failed. I believe, heroin provided by the state will initiate a change. Like it is in Zurich. Where drug addicts do not have to spend their time with chasing after drugs. Acquisitive criminality and offences form 20% of the all criminal offences which could then be curbed as well as social and health depravation. The problem of addiction would, of course, remain the same, but this is not to be solved by police efforts anyway."

Hans Dieter Klosa, police chief Hannover: "Since I started my work as police chief in Hannover, I voted for giving heroin to long term drug addicts. Traditional drug policy has lead us into a dead-end street. What we have to combat most nowadays is acquisitive criminality. But we cannot just accept that this forms such a large percentage of all criminal offences. Today, 60% of all robberies are committed by drug addicts - and that is only because of the wrong policy."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 06:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's worth noting that if you criminalise the activity of taking a drug you directly change the actual experience.  (Think: alcohol in Saudi Arabia.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 05:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series