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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5111/the-egregiously-destructive-war-on-drugs/

The Egregiously Destructive War on Drugs

May 30, 2006 by

Compared to the adverse effects of their illegalization, writes Gennady Stolyarov, the harm of drugs themselves is small indeed. Drug-taking is extremely unhealthy for the persons engaging in it, but not for anybody who abstains from it. The “War on Drugs,” by contrast, harms everybody subject to a government that undertakes it. There are moral problems with drug-taking, but the ethical problems with the War on Drugs far exceed them. FULL ARTICLE

{ 54 comments }

Yves Grassioulet June 2, 2006 at 7:29 am

“I have no sympathy for drug addicts”“Drug does harm, not only those who take them, but also the whole family and community environment around the drug-taker”Blabla, blabla…Work does harm too! Taking drugs is basically one of the most convenient way to escape from reality. We don’t give a shit whether it’s good or bad. The world is a harsh one. Few take drugs to get relieved from the pain, others are work/sport/sex-alcoholic, others even take drugs because it’s part of their work culture! So beware of any kind of ideology or judgment proposed around theses parts, you might find yourself being brainwashed!

The less the more one day, the more the more the other day. Well, life!

DaveT June 7, 2006 at 2:36 pm

The author’s ignorance of the social consequences of drug abuse and ignorance of the possibility that mind altering drugs could be used responsibly (recreationally or otherwise) seriously damage his credibility. This is unfortunate because the other arguments (which have been made before) are very sound.

There *are* social consequences to drug abuse that go beyond the abuser, but a great many of them are made worse by prohibition not better. Inflated prices require the addict to commit crimes to support their habit for example. If drugs were legal, they would be relatively affordable (ask yourself when was the last time you heard of someone being mugged for cigarettes). A person with a family has an incentive to get help with their addiction, but if the addiction is illegal it is not so easy to do that. Prohibition might keep a few extra people from ever touching a drug, but studies suggest that it has little effect on abuse rates (abuse being categorically different from simple use).

As for the other problem, throwing medical uses for cannabis aside, the usefulness of mind altering drugs are well documented. The range of people who have used mind altering drugs to increase their creativity for some useful endeavor is endless. It’s not just musicians, but also engineers and scientists. “Recreational” drugs aren’t just about recreation (although they can certainly be used for that too). The trap is if a person believes that the drug makes them better in every way when in reality it improves some natural abilities at the expense of others (until the effects wear off). If used carefully by the right people, drugs could directly lead to great discoveries (creative breakthroughs) in any number of sciences. That may be hard to imagine for a person so biased against the idea that mind altering drugs might be useful to society, but it doesn’t change the truth of the statement.

Paul Edwards June 7, 2006 at 4:15 pm

“If used carefully by the right people, drugs could directly lead to great discoveries (creative breakthroughs) in any number of sciences.”

Now if Gennady hadn’t expressed his own views on the negative nature of mind-altering drug use, would I have learned that it can enhance a user’s creativity? Probably not.

Everybody’s got an opinion on something. Should we really demand that the authors refrain from the expression of their opinions just because they don’t have a direct bearing on their arguments they are making in ethics or economics? Gentlemen, relax. (And pass me the joint.)

DaveT June 8, 2006 at 2:02 pm

No, I agree. He should express his own view point. However, I’ll certainly take advantage of this comment section to inform him (and anyone else) of mine.

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