Fighting an Unwinnable ‘War’

by on 30 April, 2014

Kerrod Gream On Tuesday, Tony Abbott made a public statement in relation to the war on drugs saying “We are ensuring that the war on drugs is fought as fiercely as we humanly can. It’s not a war we will ever finally win. The war on drugs is a war you can lose – you may not ever win it, but you’ve always got to fight it.” But didn’t think to question as to why we have to fight this war on drugs.

The war on drugs claims many victims, through abuse and overuse, as well as locking people up for non-violent crimes. Prohibition causes more problems than the reason behind the prohibition. We should be asking why we’re stopping people making decisions for themselves, is it to protect them from themselves? If it’s the latter then we have to ask how locking them up and ruining any future career prospects for non-violent crimes helps the individuals.

Police ‘saving’ people from themselves

The other issues this causes is the stigma that is associated with drug use. This causes problems with medical treatments, especially when doctors and nurses need to work out treatment options for someone presenting themselves at hospitals for other aliments. The fear that they’re going to be prosecuted if they acknowledge that they’ve taken so called illicit substances can have dramatic effects if they are given something that interacts dangerously with what they’ve taken.

The benefits of marijuana are ignored for no other reason than a ‘social conscience”

There are many other negative effects from the war on drugs, and probably the largest is the restriction of marijuana and hemp crops. Marijuana has potential to help with many health problems that other medications can’t help, or don’t help as effectively. The US government previously acknowledged this with their Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program which provided a number of people with marijuana for medical purposes, with Irvin Rosenfeld being the most notable surviving patient on the program whom is a successful stockbroker and smokes 10-12 joints a day after being provided with 300 joints every 25 days from the US Federal Government to help alleviate his pain. Medical Marijuana has many uses, the major ones being to act as a pain reliever, as it’s safer and less addictive than the more commonly used opioid pain relievers; as an anti-nausea aid, primarily for patients undergoing chemotherapy; as well as evidence that it helps reduce seizures, with a strain called Charlotte’s Web being developed with lower THC levels specifically to help treat children that suffer from seizure activity without giving the ‘high’ associated with cannabis. There is also research suggesting that it may have potential as a preventative measure against cancer.

Medical Marijuana research is hampered by government overreach.

The main argument against approving marijuana for personal use is that it can cause mental health problems or that it is a gateway drug to ‘hard’ drugs. These points don’t have substantial evidence behind them. Yes, marijuana does have the potential to trigger mental health problems in those that have potential to develop them due to genetic vulnerability. This can be mitigated through education of the drug, which means people are aware of their family history with the drug, as well as their own susceptibility to have a mental health episode. It also cannot be considered a gateway drug simply due to the fact it’s the most readily available illicit drug. People who are likely to move onto hard time drug use generally will start off with marijuana due to its easy access.

If we want to ensure safety, it sure isn’t to ban substances. Banning of them encourages production of stronger strains as people are charged by amount, not strength. This creates a perverse incentive to create stronger strains of drugs to increase their ability to induce a high, while reducing potential prison time due to carrying large amounts of illegal drugs. But prohibition also pushes up costs, due to the risk of being caught so makes profits more easily obtainable and forces addicts to turn to other crimes to feed their habits.

There is also no incentive for safety in the drug trade as users have no reason to ensure their product is safe as there is no way to mediate without the use of violence. Legalisation would ensure safer dosing, as well as quality assurance to not cut it with other harmful substances.

The drug war is protection of the drug cartels’ profits, and removes the social responsibility of individuals to look after each other and makes it acceptable for people to be locked up for choosing what to put into their bodies. If we look at examples of legalisation you can see reductions in crime as well as usage, with Portugal being the major example. Drugs don’t necessarily ruin lives, but locking people up for using drugs certainly does.

One thought on “Fighting an Unwinnable ‘War’

  1. Drugs ruin lives and destroy families, so do guns, alcohol tobacco and car crashes, should we have laws that ban these things. Individuals should be able to decide for themselves what is good for them, if you believe in a God, then he created humans with brains that respond to these chemicals an innate sense of right and wrong and the ability to decide for ourselves. Clearly if he exists, then he must have intended for us to make use of them (or are drugs one of God’s mistakes? Who are you to judge God?) and we have, morphine treats people who are in immense pain, methamphetamines treat ADHD and narcolepsy and MDMA has shown great promise at treating anxiety disorders and PTSD.

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