Ending Criminal Prohibition as theWay to Control Our Drug Problem

The prohibition of drugs has been a complete failure.  This policy of limiting freedom to keep drugs in check has not gotten us any closer to controlling drugs.  Matter of fact prohibition is the opposite of control because it abdicates the responsibility for controlling drugs and lays it at the feet of the law enforcement community.   We should allow freedom to chart our policies. Allow people the freedom to use if they want and have a robust rehabilitation program for when they are ready to quit. Something similar to Portugal whose policies for dealing with drug abuse are more advanced than any other nation and respect the dignity of all involved with this issue.

Prohibition started with the Harrison Act in 1914. This was in response not to a huge problem with drug users but as a response to the thousands of Chinese railroad workers coming into the country who used opium as their drug of choice. It was also used in the 20’s to crack down on the Black community over cocaine. Cut to the 30s and the prohibition of pot was started in California to harass Mexicans and push them back across the border so they won’t take American jobs. Mexicans used marijuana and Anglos used alcohol. After alcohol prohibition ended marijuana suddenly assumed all the negative consequences of alcohol and marijuana prohibition became national.  This was used to crack down on anti-war protesters in the 70s and continues to this day to be used as an excuse for the police to harass the citizens.   The eighties saw an increase in the use of crack cocaine and the crackdown, as history shows, landed on the African American community.  Not the White suburbs but in the inner cities.   Now in the 2000s we are cracking down on prescription drug use and, here in Kentucky, have made it almost impossible for even legitimate users to get the medicine they need.  The result, a heroin epidemic!

Not one of our drug laws were put in place because of drug use but rather to keep some segment of the population in check.  With the exception of marijuana law reform at the State level, there actually has been no movement to reform our drug laws to reflect the science of medicine and not the science of repression we are using now to treat addiction.

Let us end this wasteful and ineffective policy and craft a drug policy based on science and facts instead of prejudice and fear of our fellow citizens!  Let us begin by ending marijuana prohibition as a start.  The results of state legalization have shown that none of the predicted harms of marijuana legalization touted by those supporting prohibition have surfaced nor will they.  Let us start there and go forward and create a drug policy that works, is fair and relies on science and logic to attain its goals.

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