Letter
April 20, 2016

Time to regulate and educate

If drugs cause addiction, ceasing drug use would cure addiction. It doesn’t. Members of Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous are clean and sober. What’s causing their addiction, the drugs they don’t use? There would be a dose dependent relationship between use and addiction. There isn’t. An alcoholic can’t have one drink, but the vast majority can consume regularly. All populations within a region (i.e. native populations of America and Australia) would have identical addiction rates as the population at large. They don’t. Alcohol was ubiquitous before, during, and after the “alcohol epidemic” at the beginning of the 20th century. Alcohol could not have been the cause.

The Prohibitionist fiction that drugs cause drug problems is unsupported by the data. The vast majority use potentially dangerous drugs (pharmaceuticals and alcohol) responsibly and without negative consequence. A small percentage cannot. Drugs do not cause that adverse reaction.

As Dr. Carl Hart observes, and as any critical thinker must conclude, drug use is normal human functioning. Normal function does not cause dysfunction. Kidneys don’t cause diabetes. Marriage doesn’t cause divorce. Sex doesn’t cause infidelity. Eating doesn’t cause obesity. Science (guns, bombs, planes) doesn’t cause war. And religion doesn’t cause religious war.

The desire to use drugs is a normal, irrepressible human need which, contrary to Prohibitionists’ unsubstantiated claims, cannot be thwarted by marketplace forces or violent coercion (Prohibition), hence the balloon effect of all interdiction efforts. Drugs will be ubiquitous, legal or not, because we cannot live without them. Nor have we ever.

It’s time to accept who we are, teach people how to use drugs safely, provide healthcare for those who cannot, and regulate this inevitable marketplace rather than relegating it to terrorists while subsidizing them with astronomical prohibition profits unheard of in any legal market.

Wayne Reiss

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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