Monday, 21 August 2006

More drugs, less crime?

New York's crack epidemic of the late eighties undoubtedly contributed to a huge rise in crime figures. Crack, as you will recall, is illegal.

So is heroin. But in recent years for several geo-political reasons increasing amounts of low-cost and very pure heroin has been hitting New York's streets, and as one correspondent to the Spectator points out, this "quasi legalisation" of heroin has been accompanied by ... what do you think: a drop in crime figures.

So what do you think? Could it be that what's being too much overlooked in the link everyone sees between illegal drugs and crime is the 'illegal' rather than the drugs? That's the answer given by the correspondent, who points out: "Heroin is more widely available than at any time in history -- probably more than if it were legal. Addicts simply do not have to commit so much crime to feed their habit."

And that's also the position of the criminal justice profesionals from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) who argue that, "We believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction, as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition."

Just think.

Lindsay Mitchell has the letter on her blog. I recommend a read, and a pondering of the implications.

LINK: A different take on NY crime drop - Lindsay Mitchell
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - website for LEAP

RELATED: Victimless Crimes, Politics-US


  1. When I was living in Colombia, the price for 1 gram of pure Cocaine was USD 5. It was everywhere and it might as well have been free. Hence there was no need to commit crime to feed any habit that someone might have.

    Despite it being widely available, very few Colombians were consuming this drug. Violence from illegal drugs came from other sources such as paramilitary/guerilla/drug cartel groups, who had to resort to violence as the only means to protect their turf or enforce their contracts. (Since they could not apply for legal remedy).

    And the main source of violence and crime was the result of the US (and Colombian) government's execution of the drug war. And as I mentioned on another thread, many of the victims are innocent.

    Remove the profits from the drug trade through legalisation and these violent groups will be competed out of the market and they will take their crime and violence with them.


  2. And here is some more evidence as to the futile nature of the drug war. This article from today's New York Times and reprinted in the IHT.


  3. The success of NZ's methadone programme lies mainly in crime reduction. Again, quasi-legalisation of heroin (through a opiate substitute) lowers crime.
    The methadone programme (administered by your local pharmacy) is so often overlooked as a glaring contradiction in how we generally approach drugs.


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