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Crime Politics Science

World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use 474

Posted by Soulskill
from the WHO-already-dismissed-by-old-people-as-being-a-bunch-of-potheads dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We've known for a while: the War on Drugs isn't working. Scientists, journalists, economists, and politicians have all argued against continuing the expensive and ineffective fight. Now, the World Health Organization has said flat out that nations should work to decriminalize the use of drugs. The recommendations came as part of a report released this month focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV. "The WHO's unambiguous recommendation is clearly grounded in concerns for public health and human rights. Whilst the call is made in the context of the policy response to HIV specifically, it clearly has broader ramifications, specifically including drug use other than injecting. In the report, the WHO says: 'Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. ...Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs." The bottom line is that the criminalization of drug use comes with substantial costs, while providing no substantial benefit.
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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

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  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @08:56AM (#47488465) Homepage
    It might cause a few deaths but it also sustains the multi billion dollar prison industry and employs well over 1 million people in the US alone, and that it just counting the lawfully employed.

    The government profits from illegal drugs even more than drug cartels do.
  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:27AM (#47488619) Homepage
    Relevant quote: "I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before." - John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:29AM (#47488639)

    Unfortunately, these are not facts, but pure fantasy. First, outlawing drugs does not reduce their usage. The alcohol prohibition indicates that the converse is true. Hence this prohibition increases harm. Second, the harm done is massively increased by outlawing drugs. Most drugs are actually relatively cheap to produce in medical-grade quality, with clear instructions and standardized quality, yet the dangerous low-quality stuff on the market fetches premium prices that then go to criminal enterprises. This situation is purely crated by illegality. Finally, people that are in prison for no good reason are unproductive and cost money as well.

    The whole thing is nothing but a massively misanthropic effort by religious and other authoritarians to prevent people from deciding about their own lives and to punish those that have other ideas as heavily as possible. It has zero intention to reduce negative effects and zero effect in that direction. It does increase negative effects massively though.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @09:29AM (#47488643) Homepage

    When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.

    - John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932

  • by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:07AM (#47488815)

    No ads, no public displays of drug use, no public drug use, not even in designated public venues, and no brown paper bag bullshit either.

    Well, if you don't want to do any of that or pay attention to it, then feel free not to. However, just because you don't like it doesn't mean it should be banned.

  • Re:Use of drugs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:23AM (#47488893)

    The use of drugs is not exactly confined in its impact to the immediate use, which is the theory behind why it was a crime in the first place.

    No, the theory behind the first drug laws in the United States was that chinese immigrants smoked opium, so the consumption of opium via smoking was prohibited while oral consumption (the white peoples consumption method) remained legal. A racist law written by racist people to harm a racial group.

    Drug laws continue to be completely racist, even though the excuses for the laws no longer are. When it wasn't racism against the chinese-americans, it was racism against the african-americans...

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday July 19, 2014 @11:04AM (#47489093) Homepage

    This is a great debate between Glenn Greenwald and GWB's drug czar and in it, reference to Portugal and studies related to that are made. From there, you can do your own searching:

    http://vimeo.com/32110912 [vimeo.com]

  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2014 @11:07AM (#47489109)

    I have a 20's Sears catalog with heroin for sale fucking made by Bayer.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Informative)

    by HiThere (15173) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Saturday July 19, 2014 @05:53PM (#47491035)

    I've never been sure about the truth of that argument. OTOH, it seems to be true about cocaine addiction. Many cocaine addicts start out quite wealthy, and some continue to be so, but many appeat not to. OTOH, some start out as already failures. Many never seem to get violent, but certainly some do.

    Still, if cocaine were cheap enough, perhaps people would kill themselves before they begain harming others. And banning it causes so many additional problems that I think legalizing it is the lesser evil. But it should certainly be illegal to advertise it.

    One drug that I think probably *should* be illegal is PCP. OTOH, I doubt that having it illegal is a big problem. Few people appear to be attracted to it. The reason that I think it probably should be illegal is that reports are that it causes people to become excessively violent without warning. (I.e., I don' t think it should be illegal to protect the users against themselves, but rather to protect bystanders.)

    All that said, even if drugs were legalized that wouldn't solve the problem, it would merely mean that the main suffers would be the people who were addicts, not everyone else. Even then, if there were purity requirements, i.e. protection against contaminants, then the drugs would probably be not only cheaper, but less harmful. However it's definitely important to realize that "less harmful" doesn't mean "harmless". If you want to understand what removing legalization would result in, I recommend that you read "Diary of a Drug Fiend" by Aliestar Crowley. This is apparently a pretty accurate reportage by someone who was quite intelligent, if a bit unconventional ("Wickedest man in the World" -- John Bull).

  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr.CRC (2330444) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @11:55PM (#47492389)

    You are brainwashed with completely false propaganda.

    You can live a normal lifetime addicted to pure heroin, even if injected, if using sterile needles and proper procedures, and suffer practically no adverse health effects. You can even hold a job. Just not one involving safety-critical activities like operating heavy machinery.

    The same cannot be said about tobacco. It is far more harmful than heroin.

    Even meth isn't so bad. If it were legal, more people would consume it orally and get educated about how to maintain their nutrition and avoid destructive binges and loss of sleep. They would become workaholics and help the economy. Over-doing it with meth for a long period of time IS harmful, but I'm certain that if it were legal, the harm would drop dramatically compared to what we have now with impure garbage consumed by people who are forced into a criminal lifestyle to get it, which is the reason for much of the harm. It is fully possible also to be a meth addict, yet manage it so that it isn't harmful to the point of severely shortening one's life or damaging to one's mental health.

    Meth and cocaine addiction are actually self-limiting for most people. I went berzerk with coke for a few years, then one day decided that I would never touch the crap again because I never wanted to feel that depressed again during the come down. And that was the end of it. The same thing happened with meth. Ultimately, I decided to never take ANY rec. drugs again, including alcohol. They just aren't the answer for me anymore, and have remained out of my life for 26 years.

    The hardest thing to quit though, was smoking. Fortunately I did quit, because that would probably have killed me with cancer. Same cannot be said about heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, or any other banned drug.

    Alcohol can give you cirrhosis, and cause life threatening seizures upon withdrawal.

    It's totally f*ing surreal, that the truly most harmful drugs: alcohol and tobacco, are the only ones that are legal! What a hell-hole of nonsensical contradictions we have created.

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