Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A funny thing happens when drugs are legalized: Violence and crime happen a lot less

Don't have time to watch the whole thing? Here's a quick breakdown.

"Let's be real: Legal or not, people do drugs." And what the video says is true. 33% of adults have taken an illegal drug.

20% of people 16 to 24 years old have admitted taking drugs in the last year. That's 1 in 5.

So how can we safely regulate drugs? (Since keeping everything illegal hasn't accomplished much except imprisoning a lot of people...)

All governments together have spent several trillion dollars on the international war on drugs in the last 20 years. What has it accomplished? Black-market violence, public health crises, massive imprisonment of people...if this were an actual war, guess who would be on the losing side? Yep...the people. As in taxpayers and citizens. Us.

But there are bright spots.

Portugal decriminalized small amounts of drugs for personal use. The result? Fewer drug crimes and fewer people dying.

In the United States, 20 states have decriminalized marijuana, and many more will over the next five years.

Those states and the states that have fully legalized it have seen increased tax revenue from crops and regulation of the industry. And it's generating millions of dollars for those who work and invest in the production and distribution of it. Capitalism much?

Switzerland in the 1990s had one of the highest rates of HIV infection in Europe when it came up with the brilliant idea of giving out heroin prescriptions in community- based treatment programs. It worked. 

Heroin use went down, and new HIV infections declined by 87%. Yes, 87%. That's pretty huge.

A lot of countries have been a little afraid of trying new approaches. At the time, the United Nations wrongly accused Switzerland of encouraging criminals by attempting this experiment, which of course is not the case, given the data.

We should hold up the countries that are doing it right (or are starting to...right, USA?) as shining examples of how to deal with drug use by citizens.

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