Refining opinions: Legalising Drugs, Part II

As promised in the comments to part I, here’s the next argument FOR legalising drugs.

DQ kinda mentioned it – there are “dangerous” drugs. Let’s begin with that, shall we?

First off, you’re mostly wrong. Drugs per se usually aren’t that dangerous. Let’s take heroin – it makes you addicted pretty quick but pure heroin isn’t that dangerous. You get somewhat impotent and you get haemorrhoids, if I recall correctly. That’s about it – get your required shot and you’re good to go, ready to partake in civilised society like any other productive member.

This usually goes even farther – there’s plenty of BS indoctrination in public schools as to the dangers of drugs. Cocaine, for example, probably just isn’t physically addictive (even though it might be slightly – they’re “not quite sure”), and even if it is a little – the major, major factor is purely psychological. Now, I don’t think I even need to get started on weed…

This indoctrination is rather counter-productive, too. You put all these horrible ideas into childrens’ brains and then they hit the real world and see that you exaggerated, grossly misrepresented and just plain lied to them. How serious do you think they’re gonna take you on those areas where you actually told the truth?

Anyway, the argument I’m trying to get to: drugs aren’t that dangerous. I currently lack the inclination and the time to go check out wikipedia for links to historical examples of how drugs were quite widely used without any kind of too terrible effects. It isn’t really necessary, either. The criminalisation of drugs is much more important.

It makes sure that the quality of drugs actually deteriorates – the drug gets stretched and additional substances are added. Substances that are actually dangerous. Now, if you’re gonna go the anarchist/minarchist route and call it a question of liability or the more classically liberal route and say the government ought to regulate it – either option is obviously much better.

There is really very little reasons I can come up with as to why established drugs companies (you know, those good old bluechips) would want to offer worse quality than what’s being offered right now. You really don’t hear about stretched coffee or fucked up bananas that often. If there’s a safe and legal way to import, say, cocaine from Columbia – that’d be a pretty awesome business. You can slash prices, increase quality (and thereby safety) and make quite the profit doing all of that.

That’s part one of the argument – drugs really aren’t that dangerous to start with (and propaganda to the contrary is rather counter-productive) and if they were legalised, they’d logically be even less dangerous. I’m sure the marketing whiz-kids would come up with plenty of ways to price-discriminate against different buyers of cocaine but all of them would ensure far purer, far safer drugs than we see now.

Part two of the argument runs quite contrary to part one. Even IF drugs were that dangerous – wouldn’t you want them out in the open? Wouldn’t you want to either know what you’re dealing with and, again, handle it through either liability and the courts or government regulation of the market to ensure proper standards?

I think this makes it quite clear that there’s little point in keeping drugs illegal from a safety point of view.

Coming up next: why legalising drugs would decrease crime by quite a bit.

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2 Responses to “Refining opinions: Legalising Drugs, Part II”

  1. danielquenton Says:

    To the subject of drugs: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/steven_levitt_analyzes_crack_economics.html 😉

    Now, I don’t give a crap about how dangerous drugs are. If a drug would kill you instantly, I’d be fine with it, you know it – it’s your choice.
    What I really dislike about drugs is the fact, that most of them are addictive. And it is not like you say, that you take a shot and be done with it until you feel the desire to get a shot again. Not only does their tolerance increase drastically (wikipedia) so they have to consume more and more heroin to achieve the desired effect. And you can actually feel the effects of not having taken a shot after 6-8 hours (wikipedia again), and this sounds drastic to me, nothing like free will at all.
    It is quite similar (according to wikipedia) with cocaine, but it is less addictive (and mainly only physiological) and the increase of tolerance is slower.

    But yes, I guess it would be better to have them in the open. I just dislike their addictiveness. But in the end I think it comes to one simple question:
    Do drug addicts, which can no longer choose for themselves to stop using the drug of their choice deserver a 2nd chance, and how do we know they want it?
    As I think of it, this case is actually quite similar to euthanasia on people, that can’t state for themselves they want it, e.g. if your granddad was in a coma, no longer able to live without support, and your dad would decide to stop the machines, should that be allowed?

  2. Lennart Regebro Says:

    “Drugs per se usually aren’t that dangerous. Let’s take heroin – it makes you addicted pretty quick but pure heroin isn’t that dangerous. You get somewhat impotent and you get haemorrhoids, if I recall correctly. That’s about it – get your required shot and you’re good to go, ready to partake in civilised society like any other productive member.”

    This is an interesting definition of “dangerous”, that only deals with bodily effects excluding the brain. Can you explain why you chose this definition? To me it’s a bit like saying that getting shot in the head isn’t that dangerous, because the body only suffers a small wound in the skull. 🙂


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