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Current Drug Laws, a failure. How to make them better?

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Current Drug Laws, a failure. How to make them better?

Post  dandelionc on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:36 pm

I think about this a lot because I think drug laws land a lot of otherwise normal, fine people into prison. And they're disparately enforced and all which just makes it worse. How do you guys think it could be made better?

I'd like to see alcohol and marijuana legal. Alcohol is a long standing tradition in many cultures and lots of people can use it normally. I have yet to hear of a violent stoner where there's not some other factor involved whether that's mental illness or other drugs.

I think hallucinogens have more of a propensity to go wrong, but they can be beneficial given a good set and setting. I was thinking maybe they should be illegal except in themeparks that could have cool natural areas, flashy party areas, and places people could retreat into to be alone. The entrance fee should cover a good dose of whatever drugs the person wants to do, monitoring for safety, and 24 hour psychological support should it be needed.

I less like the recreational use of the "hard drugs". I think very few people get into meth or heroin without addiction, and it should be illegal, but I don't think throwing addicts into jail with violent people is a good idea. Treatment has an abysmal rate of success. (http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html) I'm not really sure what the answer is; I just don't like the one we've got.

What do you think about current drug policy? How do we make it better?


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Re: Current Drug Laws, a failure. How to make them better?

Post  tomokun on Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:55 am

Well I do think decriminalization could go a long way. The current "war on drugs" is about as effective as a blind basketball player shooting 3-pointers after riding a roller coaster.

At the end of the day, drugs are drugs are drugs. Alcohol isn't really that much different than pot except that its safer and far less addictive. All things being equal, if alcohol and caffeine are legal, along with Tobacco, there's no reason pot shouldn't be legal too. I have a friend that smokes pine pollen and mugwort, and trust me... that shit fucks you up. It ain't illegal either, because... well most folks don't know about. If it ever becomes a thing though... how do you even begin to regulate it? Ban the growing of pine trees and mugwort plants?

No. Our current system isn't just ineffective, its stupid and short-sighted. What we need is to regulate and tax this stuff, so that its very clear when doing these things is NOT ok, because they impair your judgment to the point where you can hurt someone. Make it unattractive even to use these substances and get welfare, focus on education on the harm they can cause, but locking people up for it? It's just not working, and its costing us a LOT of money.

Money that could be used for say, hiring more detectives to stop rapists, murderers, and thieves.

Honestly, I think one of the best things we could do is have a, "Wait till you know better" campaign, where we educate teens on what is happening with their brains, and really crack down on youth substance abuse, without ruining their lives.
http://www.parentmap.com/article/the-wild-wonderful-teenage-brain-hardwired-to-test-parental-patience

Imagine what teaching kids about how they are hard-wired to make bad decisions could do. "Look, your brain is working hard at trying to kill you, it's a stupid evolutionary quirk which is designed to help you learn by encouraging you to take stupid risks. So, the next time you think something is a good idea, remember that, and clear it with me first. That way I can tell you that your brain is trying to kill you."

And when they don't, make the punishment really inconvenient. Get caught drinking underage, now you have to wear a lo jack. It's big, its ugly, and it isn't going to get you laid.

Or, just wait until you're 18 and then do whatever the fuck you want, because by then, you'll know better.

Studies have demonstrated that kids that don't do drugs until after they are 18 DRASTICALLY reduce their chances of becoming an addict, or ever doing the drugs at all. Prevention is the key, and the key to prevention is more often than not, education.

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Re: Current Drug Laws, a failure. How to make them better?

Post  dandelionc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:00 pm

I think if education were going to be the main approach instead of imprisonment it would be important that the education is realistic. Many people in my generation grew up mocking the edumercials that showed an egg and said, "This is your brain." Then they friend the egg. "This is your brain on drugs." It was too nebulous of a warning to be effective. I think it's important to be realistic about what stupid risks people are taking if you're trying to educate them. Alcohol users risk liver damage. Marijuana smokers can do long term damage to their short term memory. People who inject drugs risk staff infections, HIV infection, hepatitis, and amputations of the injected limbs from infected injection sites if it goes really wrong. I like the idea of education, but I think it's important not to make things better or scarier than they really are or you risk your credibility. I think that's a mistake education campaigns have made in the past.

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Re: Current Drug Laws, a failure. How to make them better?

Post  mistermack on Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:23 pm

What to do about drugs is one of the hardest decisions on the planet.
Mainly because it's incredibly hard to predict what effect any change would have.
It's easy to theorise, but what happens in the real world is out of control of theory.

The US decided to prohibit alcohol, but they never imagined that the result would be organised crime on a massive scale, that has never gone away.
But who can say what would happen, if various prohibitions were relaxed, or removed?
It's a real quagmire.

You can try to draw lessons from other countries. But often, the result in one country is completely different in another.

Education has got to be good, but it has to be truthful, not just propeganda.
It needs to be scrupulously honest and truthful, or it will just be ignored, as "big brother, trying to tell us what to do".

If drug laws were relaxed for some drugs, would the dummies take that as an admission that they were safe, even if you stressed that they were not?

That seems to be the case with alcohol. People DO treat it as a safe substance. Even though they see the damage it can cause. I would personally ban all alcohol advertising right now. Who does it benefit? But banning alcohol would be counter-productive, we know that.

So my policy would be to massively increase education, make it honest and true, but be wary about changing the law, without data from trials at home and abroad.
If the case is backed up by evidence, then make careful changes.

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