Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, April 04, 2016

The War On [some people who use some] Drugs

It's hard to believe we're still pissing into the wind on this particular subject. I remember sitting in the science library at Brandeis when I was a graduate student reading policy analysis in Science (the journal of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science) showing that most of the harm caused by illicit drugs was caused by,well, their illicitness. Now we have some 20 years later yet another authoritative finding that criminalization of drug use severely harms public health. Quoth:

"The goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production, and trafficking of illicit drugs is the basis of many of our national drug laws, but these policies are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded," says commissioner Chris Beyrer, an epidemiology professor at the Bloomberg School. "The global war on drugs has harmed public health, human rights, and development. It's time for us to rethink our approach to global drug policies, and put scientific evidence and public health at the heart of drug policy discussions."
Oh right, we should base public policy on science. As if.

What is probably most enraging is that the politicians in the U.S. who want to continue to lock up hundreds of thousands of non-violent (mostly non-white) people just for using or selling small quantities of "drugs" -- which does not include alcohol or tobacco -- are the same ones who claim they are all about small government, individual liberty and personal responsibility.  Well, they aren't. They're liars and hypocrites.

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