Over 40 years of “war on drugs”… What changed?

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‘Will anything sensible be done?’ asked Gore Vidal about the drug war, 40 years ago. So far, there’s no sign.

Last week Tom Chivers posted a blog in which he observed that Portugal has recorded a fifty per cent drop in “problem drug users”, since they decriminalised all drugs. Will our government take note and act accordingly? Don’t be silly.

In 1970 – half a lifetime ago – Gore Vidal wrote in The New York Times: “It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect – good and bad – the drug will have on the taker.”

It was unlikely, he suggested, that “any reasonably sane person will become a drug addict if he knows in advance what addiction is going to be like”.

Of course, as he admitted, not everyone is reasonably sane. Some who took drugs would indeed become addicts, just as some drinkers succumb to alcoholism. Yet, despite the dire warnings – and lies – of our medical establishment, most people who drink alcohol manage their lives well enough, and neither kill themselves with booze nor find their way to Alcoholics Anonymous. Same, again despite dire warnings, with drug users. One of the two surviving Beatles announced the other day that he had given up smoking cannabis. It’s a long time since the Sixties and Sir Paul is still going strong.

In maintaining our drug laws, the Government is in cahoots with the dealers. As Vidal put it forty years back: “Both the Bureau of Narcotics and the Mafia want strong laws against the sale and use of drugs because if drugs are sold at cost there would be no money in it for anyone. If there was no money for the Mafia, there would be no friendly playground pushers, and addicts would not commit crimes to pay for the next fix. If there was no money in it, the Bureau of Narcotics would wither away, something they are not about to do without a struggle.” Vidal asked “will anything sensible be done?” , and gave the answer, “of course not”.

That’s still the answer here, and so the alliance between the politicians, the police, and the drug dealers still holds firm. Who benefits? Silly question. We all know the answer.

A disclaimer is perhaps necessary. I have no experience of cocaine or heroin, and I have smoked perhaps a dozen joints in my life, so long ago that I can’t even remember whether I inhaled or, like President Clinton, refrained from doing so. Even my drinking days are far behind me. So it’s as a disinterested spectator of the ludicrous “War on Drugs” that I suggest it’s about time the Government stopped encouraging crime and followed the advice Gore Vidal offered a couple of years before David Cameron went to prep school.

Source:: telegraph.co.uk

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