Sunday, 11 March 2007

"Demonising drugs does more harm than good"

"Demonising drugs does more harm than good," says ... well, says who?

Blair Anderson and the Mild Greens?

David Slack?


Nandor Tanczos?


The correct answer is (drum roll please) ... The Herald, reporting a British study with that telling conclusion -- one with which all those named above would, I'm sure, agree. "Drug laws are driven by "moral panic" says the study, "which concludes that most drugs have been wrongly "demonised."

Don't like that conclusion? Then take issue with the facts of the two year study, commissioned by the UK Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, who conclude that "whether we like it or not, drugs are and will remain a fact of life."

True enough -- if no government, however officious, can even keep drugs out of its prisons, then it's clear enough that drugs aren't just going to disappear by passing laws about it, no more than alcohol did when laws were passed prohibiting that. Realism, then, demands facing up to the many harmful consequences of prohibition, which this study concludes are more harmful than many of the drugs themselves.
"The use of illegal drugs is by no means always harmful any more than alcohol use is always harmful," Professor Anthony King of Essex University, the commission chairman told Britain's Daily Telegraph.Professor King added: "The evidence suggests that a majority of people who use drugs are able to use them without harming themselves or others... The harmless use of illegal drugs is thus possible, indeed common."
Which all makes the Libertarianz transitional policy on drugs look increasingly sensible: that is, legalisation of all drugs objectively shown to be less harmful that alcohol.

Any objections? Any reasonable objections?

UPDATE: The good chaps at Pacific Empire, who no more 'do drugs' than I do, argue compellingly that Graham Burton's post-release crime rampage was another harmful consequence of prohibition:
He was doing exactly what the cops do legally, just with more brutality. Taxation, confiscation and so on: just enforcing the laws. It does sound like the police turned a blind eye to him until his final rampage. A compelling argument for legalization is that it would remove a major source of violent crime - competition between drug dealers, who have no legal remedy against assault or theft, and can only retaliate in the same way, risking escalation.
RELATED POSTS ON: Victimless Crimes, Libertarianz


  1. Off topic but don't miss seeing this AGW doco on Google video that was on BBC a few days back.It puts the sceptics side and rocks!

    See it,download and recommend it while its still up...

  2. Hitting kids - ok
    Drugs- ok
    Gangsta culture - not ok?!!!

    You have a dichotomy here.

    I challenge any parent - or social worker who has dealt with 'at risk' youth to say drugs are good and should be legal.

    In fact the Auckland Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a luncheon and talk by Celia Lashlie about it - by pure chance...

  3. Anonymous, I accept your challenge.

    Drugs are good and should be legal.

    Like any technology, mood alteration is neither good nor bad intrinsically. It depends on how you use the technology. "It’s not the drugs, it’s how we’re taking them."

  4. michael fasher11 Mar 2007, 16:23:00

    Its a technological and developmental problem,the way to deal with the problems of current drugs is to utilise the best neuroscience and technology to develop better ones.
    An analogy can be made with early aviation,most of the technocal developments that matured the aeroplane as a viable technology occured between 1908 and 1912 after the wright brothers went to Paris and every man aqnd his dog thought "I can do that".Over 30000 desings were tried and the ones whose pilots survived became the modern aeroplane,through a pretty ruthless process of natural selection process.
    Most of the great aviators of the 20th century were children during this time period which had a great insperational effect and now aviation is the safest form of travel.
    Christianity is a huge driving force behind the moral histeria pumped out by morons since the womans temperance movement managed to get cocain prohibited in 1914.
    Once christianity is signifacanty deminished in New Zealand in the future then the inane hiterics about drugs will diminish.

  5. Ok Richard - let me check with the ACOC and maybe you can tell business leaders how narcotic drugs and hitting kids benefits society. I somehow doubt they will be interested.

    Lashlie constantly talks about the need for heroes in the lives of our youth. As an admirer of Rand I am sure you can relate to that sentiment. The real answer to youth suicide,offending and imprisonment lies in good men stepping up to the plate and presenting themselves as positive influences to youth -- whether you have children or not.

    Our challenge is to put heroes into the lives of young people - people who will provide them with positive rites of passage - not potentially fatal ones such as drugs and alcohol.

    You may say you only talk of adults - but we all know drug abuse starts at about 14 years of age - as it did with Burton - without the influence of violence provoking drugs an articulate, intelligent fellow. No one wakes up in the morning and says "Hey, I think I'll be a drug addict".

    Many intelligent men in the Libertarian group could do so much to help our dissaffected youth - but they choose to ignore the facts and push their pro-drug barrow instead.

  6. Anonymous, what's your point?

    Do you think that it's your business what I choose to do in my free time?

    Do you think that banning drugs will stop drug abuse starting at about 14 years of age?

    Do you think that prohibitionists like Jim Anderton, Peter Dunne and Jacqui Dean are "heroes in the lives of our youth"?

    What facts are the ones you allege I choose to ignore?

    Hey, I often wake up in the morning and think I'll be a drug addict - it's a lifestyle choice.

  7. "The real answer to youth suicide,offending and imprisonment lies in good men stepping up to the plate and presenting themselves as positive influences to youth"

    Yeah, right. That'd be the same men who daren't risk having anything to do with other people's kids because of the very real risk of accusations of paedophilia etc by rabid feminazis?
    It'll be a cold day in hell before I risk my reputation and my liberty, before I "step up to the plate" and become involved with other people's kids.
    The "real answer" to youth suicide and offending and imprisonment is for parents to take responsibility for their kids--and for the law to support them in that.

  8. Anon (Ruth) said...
    Many intelligent men in the Libertarian group could do so much to help OUR disaffected youth.

    Who's OUR or WE Ruth ?

  9. Saw numerous people (professional, non welfare abusing, taxpaying, average people) using mind altering substnaces of the legal and illegal kind on the weekend.

    Didn't hurt anyone, didn't steal anything.. why should they be criminalised for what they are putting into their own bodies again?

    And please don't give me the "won't someone please think of the children " bullshit again.

    One does not have to be a drug addict to use substances. Out of all the people I know who use various substances, not a single one who uses illicits has a problem.

    Though I know loads of people who have problems with legal substances.

    Make of that what you will.

    With all these arguments of drug abuse starting at young ages - you seem to ignore the fact, that these drugs are already illegal, and its still happening. Do you honestly think treating these 14 year olds as criminals, throwing them in with car theives and rapists is really going to help them?

    I think not..

  10. I want to live in a society that protects kids from drugs, a society that doesn't let dealers prey on the vunerable and weak. Societies too soft on dealers. They ruin people's lives and society has to pick up the pieces, yet dealers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars. I administer the lethal injection to them myself with no remorse.

  11. Anonymous Ruth said ...
    I want to live in a society that protects kids from drugs, a society that doesn't let dealers prey on the vunerable and weak.

    Ruth, dealers exist because of the ban. Lift the ban and the dealers simply disappear.

  12. "I administer the lethal injection to them myself with no remorse."

    What sort of disgusting excuse for a human being are you?

    You'd MURDER someone who has provided someone else a product consensually.

    Almost Noone is preyed upon in the drug industry. It is all consensual, those that are preyed on are only exploited because they ahve no legal protections under prohibition.

    Your purtainical bullshit only continues this cycle.

    (end rant)

  13. Ironic, isn't it, that the only commenter here to have accused another commenter of advocating genocide is the only person here to have actually expressed a wish to kill people.

  14. AnonyRuth,

    I work for a major investment bank at the heart of Canary Wharf, London, and I can tell you that rivers of cocaine run through London's financial heartland. I don't do drugs myself, but you'd have to be blind not to see it.

    These are sophisticated middle-class people, some earning eye-wateringly high salaries, and they do it by choice. This demand isn't going to go away.

    So what are you going to do? Keep it illegal and all you get are teenage gang members shooting each other on council estates. These gangs feed on the illicit drug trade and actively recruit young boys so as to minimize liability. That's what your drug laws have bought you.

  15. 'Methamphetamine is an Evil Drug' - Pope Anderton the turd.

    An commentary on the past few days of drug policy h t t p ://


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