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The Drug War, Just Say No to it.

Give peace a chance. Forget the war on drugs | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
The fact is that many complex problems do have simple answers. What politicians mean when they say “there are no simple answers” is that the simple answers are not the same as easy ones. The easy answer to almost any political problem is to highlight its complexity, plead for patience, appoint a policy czar and set up a Royal Commission. The simple answer is often to do something bold and previously unthinkable. In other words, to cut the Gordian knot instead of trying to untie it.....
...there is a common thread linking the British Army’s failure to bring order to large parts of Afghanistan controlled by the Taleban and the British police’s failure to bring order to large parts of our inner cities controlled by gangs of gun-toting youths. That common thread is drugs....
what if, instead of looking for the root causes of crime and social breakdown, we consider what might have changed in recent years to encourage more teenagers to carry weapons? The answer then becomes much simpler. As in Helmand, many inner-city estates have created an alternative social order where the economics of the hugely profitable drug trade are far more attractive than any other choice.

And just as in Helmand, the efforts to suppress drug-use and trading have distracted the police and the courts from the infinitely more important tasks of preventing violence and keeping control of the streets. For example, tougher sentences for carrying knives or guns are pointless when the law already imposes even longer prison terms — up to life for large quantities — on people who carry drugs, which many of the teenage gangs habitually do. Similarly, zero-tolerance policing, which could certainly help to get weapons off the streets in the right conditions, is of little use if prisons are so overcrowded with drug offenders that there is no room for violent criminals carrying knives and even guns.

All these observations point to a simple conclusion: simple, though not easy. The global war against drugs is in contradiction to the war against violent crime at home and the war against terrorism internationally. Legalising, or at least decriminalising, drugs would, not on its own, end terrorism or gang violence — and it is no substitute for long-term measures to promote development abroad or improve education at home. But a ceasefire in the war against drugs would at least give peace a chance — not only in Afghanistan, but also in the streets of Britain.

And the chances of any of Gordon's ministers recognising that? As likely as Cherie Blair retiring to a nunnery.

Comments

Yet another complaint without a solution being discussed. Ceasefire? As in... the kind of thing that is happening now, just without pretending to contain the mayhem by jailing people?

No fairy with a magic wand is going to show up to sort this mess out, and what a mess it truly is.

For starters, there are legions of social workers who are employed to 'rescue addicts'. Most of this rescue revolves around solving the problems created by prohibition, medically there is very little to rescue, provided the drugs that are consumed are properly produced and portioned. Over 10000 people were treated for 'Cannabis addiction' last year, that's a lot of snake oil bringing in easy money for nothing. Taking it away will produce much unhappiness and disharmony amongst the experts ;)

Next you have an army of prison officers, probation officers etc who all have a sudden business drop of at least 80% of their current throughput, that's a lot of people out of work who need retraining, but those (and the cops who are in the same boat) are the smallest problems we have.

Suppose you can convince a number of reputable businesses to supply the drugs in the quantity and quality that is needed, you will need to protect those businesses against the various mafias that have just lost theirs, and who will be looking for a replacement 'easy money gig'.

The same can be said of the entire current drug marketing structure, and you're talking about a cottage industry with more outlets and distributors than most other businesses. All those people will be on the look-out for another way to get rich quick once the current wheeze is removed.

Saying you want drugs legalised is one thing, and a sensible one at that, but I need to hear a little more about how this is going to work out.

The current situation where we have one of the biggest businesses in the country unregulated (and bloody dangerous because of it) is in effect a 'ceasefire' anyway, the courts are only dealing with a tiny percentage of the people who are involved in drugs.

You can't solve that with just a wish, and the people who argue the case for legislation need to start thinking about how to tackle it, because a solution to the follow-up problems is almost a more powerful argument for the case than the actual cause.

Most people are not religious about drugs(most actually don't care as long as they don't have to either take or finance them), but they want something that works better than the current mess, and a plaster in form of a 'ceasefire' is certainly NOT what is needed.

None of that "lock 'em up" stuff does any good without capital punishment as a means to free up more prison space. I don't want drugs legalized, it want the sellers shot or hanged. That is a "working" solution - make more room in the graveyards.

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