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News War on drugs failing, research suggests

  1. Oct 1, 2013 #1
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/01/world/war-on-drugs-failing/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

    Can anyone find the original study article? [edit: linked on post 3]
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2013 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    Hardly a surprise. The surprise will be if anything is done about it.
     
  4. Oct 1, 2013 #3

    Pythagorean

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    Here's the article:
    http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/9/e003077.abstract?sid=0454e683-f092-4ab4-bd5c-c531558e96fa
     
  5. Oct 1, 2013 #4

    Office_Shredder

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    From a health and safety perspective, is purer drugs actually a bad thing? My limited impression has been that a reasonable amount of the danger of taking drugs is that they mix the actual drug with random other crap to save money, and that random other crap can be dangerous as well.
     
  6. Oct 1, 2013 #5

    Ryan_m_b

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    That's pretty much the biggest danger of many drugs. Things like ecstasy, cannabis and other soft drugs aren't very harmful by themselves, or at least are way less harmful than the legal drugs we already have.
     
  7. Oct 1, 2013 #6

    chemisttree

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    I cannot believe this comment has been allowed to stand! You guys need to moderate your comments.
     
  8. Oct 2, 2013 #7
    I don't think there is a single country where ecstasy is in "soft drugs" category, and don't believe that something that causes such violent rush of serotonin in your brain can be harmless. But I absolutely agree that increase in purity should be counted as +.
     
  9. Oct 2, 2013 #8
    Failing for whom? Most of us, to be sure, but those private prisons filled with extremely low-wage workers surely benefit someone!
     
  10. Oct 2, 2013 #9

    phinds

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    What is it about the truth that needs moderation? Do you think cigarettes and alcohol are harmless? Do you think they are not drugs?
     
  11. Oct 2, 2013 #10

    Borek

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    Makes me think about side effects of impurities in krokodil. To quote wikipedia:

    On another forum we have an interesting discussion about possible impurities behind these effects.

    As much as I dislike the idea of drugs being available on the streets, if they are there, I prefer them to be pure.
     
  12. Oct 2, 2013 #11

    Office_Shredder

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  13. Oct 2, 2013 #12

    D H

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    "The global war on drugs is failing" -- I disagree with that. The problem is the word "is".

    The global war on drugs failed a long time ago. The war on drugs has succeeded, but what it has successfully accomplished is not anywhere close to the intended result. It has succeeded in that it has fostered the creation of extremely powerful, extremely wealthy, and utterly ruthless multinational criminal organizations. The mob organizations helped along by the US experiment with prohibiting alcohol pale in comparison to these new drug rings. It has succeeded in creating a vast number of criminals. The US is a prison state thanks to the war on drugs.

    I am not saying that mind-altering drugs are harmless. They are not harmless. There is a cost to society in the very use of these drugs. There is, however, an even greater cost in criminalizing the use, sale, and production of these drugs. The cost to society of the war on drugs is extremely high, and because it has not worked, the benefits are rather low.
     
  14. Oct 2, 2013 #13

    phinds

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    Yep. That seems to be the way we do things in the USA. Sheer ignorance and/or willful stupidity.
     
  15. Oct 2, 2013 #14

    Pythagorean

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    "Danbury wasn't a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a Bachelor of marijuana, came out with a Doctorate of cocaine."
     
  16. Oct 2, 2013 #15
    I don't think that the death rate is a good measure of the danger of a drug. Long-term effects on the brain should also be accounted for. Regular use of cannabis and MDMA have consequences on the brain: Long-term effects of cannabis, long-term effects of MDMA. I support decriminalizing drug use though, but not decriminalizing drug selling. In Portugal every drug consumption is decriminalized (selling is criminalized though, and the sentences are heavy for selling hard drugs) since 1999 and there hasn't been any problems with it.
    Regular use of alcohol and tobacco also have negative long-term effects as we all know, so those drugs should at least be equally classified as cannabis is.
     
  17. Oct 2, 2013 #16

    Astronuc

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    No endorsement expressed or implied.

    It's best not to ingest illegal drugs or controlled substances without prescription and appropriate medical supervision.
     
  18. Oct 2, 2013 #17

    lisab

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    I would not say they aren't harmful. Ecstasy has been linked to suicide -

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152632/

    Personal note: I'm unfortunately familiar with this issue because a family member -- who absolutely loved ecstasy and did it often -- committed suicide.
     
  19. Nov 12, 2013 #18
    Excellent! Perhaps something will finally be done about it.

    Just as the prohibition was entirely unsuccessful in its endeavor, so will our generation's crusade be unsuccessful. People should be free to ingest whatever herbs or chemicals they want, so long as they do so without putting others at risk.

    Yes -- drugs have harmful effects at times and CAN put other people at risk. This is why there are laws that make driving drunk illegal. The same could be instituted to make the world a safer place, if drugs were legal.

    But as the current system stands the government is literally ensuring the existence of drug cartels, as making something illegal which is in high demand only makes it extremely profitable to be the supplier.

    We ought to focus on education and voluntary direction rather than brute force through the hand of the state.
     
  20. Nov 12, 2013 #19

    Pythagorean

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    It depends on the drug. Some drugs are, themselves, lethal, so purity is a health issue (like moonshine making you blind). Some drugs, like alcohol, cause people to engage in more risky behavior, so they are a safety problem. Other drugs have dirty manufacturing processes so that more pure means less byproduct, such as happened often with drugs like MPPP (the impurity, MPTP, is known to cause a variant of parkinson's disease.)
     
  21. Nov 12, 2013 #20

    phinds

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    Well said.
     
  22. Nov 13, 2013 #21

    russ_watters

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    "Unsuccessful" (failed) is poorly defined in this thread/the article. Do you think drug use would go up or down if it were made legal? Did alcohol use go up or down with prohibition and its repeal?
    So does that mean you would eliminate the FDA, getting rid of all food and pharmaceutical drug regulation?
    Could be? You don't think such laws already exist?
     
  23. Nov 13, 2013 #22

    Pythagorean

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    The effect on the substance use alone is not really where the issue lies though. Rather, it's the way in which we force markets into the black, enable tax evasion, the mixing of hard crime with "soft" crime, treat addicts as criminals instead of patients, etc.

    By stigmatizing drug use (which is exactly what language like "war" does), we push all drug participants into the arms of the "enemy", increasing their rank and increasing our prison populations.

    Personally, I think drugs are a health issue, not a military issue.
     
  24. Nov 13, 2013 #23

    russ_watters

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    Well, that's another issue with this thread/article: the term "war on drugs" is mostly just used by legalization proponents and doesn't have any real meaning. It isn't a particular policy initiative. Basically, it doesn't exist. It is used because it is easy (but lazy) to argue against a negatively connotated catchphrase.

    This discussion and even much of the article are mostly just meaningless activist slogans that don't reflect a specific reality or logic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  25. Nov 13, 2013 #24
    Does it matter whether or not drug use goes up or down? I'm interested in why you would say drug use should be illegal in the first place. I can't think of anything, really...You mentioned the FDA, and that's fine and good. They do the important job of making sure that distributers don't give out bad food and medicines. But it's not illegal for me as a private citizen to consume rancid beef. It may be bad for me, but it's not illegal.

    If the point is to minimize the negative impact on society, then surely breaking up a large portion of the cartels supported by this prohibition, as well as the abolition of the idea that drug users are all criminals, will serve to better society. How many people out there do you think are really itching to get addicted to heroin or cocaine, but don't because "it's illegal"? Alcohol use also became safer with the end of it's prohibition.

    The very concept, to me, is insane. "Drugs ruin your lives and the lives of those around you. So, if we catch you doing them, we'll throw you in jail and fine the heck out of you, pushing you into a subculture of even more drugs and violence...for your own good". Think about that, people are being arrested and jailed for using! Not only producing or distributing. And the number of drug users (of any kind, really) has shown absolutely no indication of trending downward.

    Maybe the article isn't totally persuasive, but the fact remains that we've been spending millions and millions (more like billions?) of dollars per year since the early seventies busting small time guys and ruining the lives of countless users (as if they weren't in a bad way with their drug use, now you throw arrests and prison on top?). I'm not sure how we would safely legalize (or decriminalize) drugs, but I know that what we've been doing isn't working.

    It exists whether the government added a "war on drugs" specific bill or not. It exists because drug prohibition enforcement become a major focus in law enforcement, drug prohibition and our efforts in other countries to halt the trade cost tax payers billions of dollars, as do the prison costs of putting and keeping tens/hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders behind bars.

    It may be a catchphrase, but that doesn't mean it doesn't address something important.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  26. Nov 13, 2013 #25

    russ_watters

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    This thread has been annoying me since I first saw it, but I was on vacation and didn't get a chance to respond before it faded. Now that it is back...

    The basic problems are:
    1. There is no "war on drugs". There is just a wide collection of anti-drug law enforcement.

    2. Failure is poorly/improperly defined. It seems to be drug use up = failure. But if we're talking about repealing drug laws, then a proper comparison would be to compare the two: if legalizing drugs makes use go up more, then anti-drug laws were making a positive impact.

    3. "Focus on prevention" is another meaningless catchphrase. They are not mutually exclusive and indeed prevention has no teeth unless coupled with enforcement. Opening up treatment centers does no good if no one chooses to go.

    4. As I indicated before, the "let people put whatever they want into their bodies" is a very deep rabbit hole. Ironically, it is some of the same people using that argument who then violate it with food and drug restrictions. And while we're at it, we should then apply the same freedom of choice to product safety regulation. If you want pot to be in a unique regulatory black hole, so be it, but legalization proponents should at least be aware of/open about just how deep a black hole and stark a contradiction such positions are.
     
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