Five Ways the Drug War Hurts Kids

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Common_Man_Jason's picture


"These drugs in an illegal environment are more accessible to our kids," says Franklin, who serves as Executive Director Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, "because we leave complete control, regulation, and standards up to the criminals."'s Ted Balaker sat down with Franklin to discuss how battling drug dealers in Baltimore turned him against the war on drugs and why ending prohibition would improve safety for children, as well as the rest of us.


meljomur's picture
I have mixed feelings about

I have mixed feelings about drug legalization.

On the one hand, I agree that drugs such as marijuana are possibly no more harmful than alcohol.  On the other, I don't think cocaine and heroin should be legal.  I know it takes the criminality out of it, however the jury is out on if it makes it better or worse for people...

Darn Mel, there you go

Darn Mel, there you go again.  Just when I think I have you figured out, you go and make a rational, well thought out statement.

I am not an expert on drug reactions, but it does seem that alcohol should not be allowed if some of the other lesser drugs are not allowed.  But, the heavy hitting drugs that turn parents into turnip heads are obviously destructive to the children.

BadLiberal's picture
The issue to my mind isn't

The issue to my mind isn't whether drugs or drug use is good or bad, or the degree of harm resulting from the use of specific substances. And I'm generally sympathetic to the libertarian argument that one should be free to use drugs, even demonstrably harmful drugs, if one chooses, provided one doesn't harm others.

The real issue here is, assuming that you want to reduce drug use, is legal prohibition the correct response? Does it work? And what's the collateral damage?

I think the evidence is clear that drug addiction is better treated as a medical issue rather than a legal one.

DRC's picture
BL, I am totally with you on

BL, I am totally with you on the medical v. legal approach.  Mel, the evidence is that the dangerous drugs are used less where they are decriminalized.  I like the clinic distribution model because users tend to develop a therapeutic relationship in the exchange, leading to dealing with the addiction over time.

The way to change the culture of abuse is to have a culture of responsible use.  Our alcohol problem is that we have a culture of binge drinking and our laws reinforce the pathologies instead of helping socialize the consumption of alcohol for those who choose to drink.

Several decades back, I was able to host a Friday afternoon Facultyfest where wine, beer, soft drinks and good snacks provided an alternative to the local bar.  Students could attend and talk with faculty in an adult setting where the point was social rather than drinking.  Legal threats make that impossible today, so college students are socialized by the over 21's who buy the booze without any adult supervision or presence.

The "binge" mentality goes to the consumption of drugs in the pursuit of the higher high.   Hard drugs are about sensational experience as opposed to a sensual pleasure.  The pathological pursuit of extreme feeling is about something very different from a "good time."  To change the culture, we need to end the taboo and accept the relative value of sobriety instead of making it a phony ideal.  The human brain has evolved with drugs from the start.  Sobriety may be the unnatural state.

Avoid the idea that marijuana will be a tax solution to the economy.  It won't, and good public policy is far more important than screwing around with the commercialization of pot.  Just let it be grown and the price will be next to nothing.  No crime and no excuses.  Take care of your business stoned or not.  If it gets in the way, don't do it.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
I think all drugs should be

I think all drugs should be legal to use. I do think the more dangerous ones should be legal only through a licensed doctor. But in the end, it's up to me what I put in my body or not. The only thing we need is protection form lying advertisers who tell us something is safe when it isn't.