Prompted by “Leading Example: Drug Laws in Portugal”: http://psypressuk.com/2015/01/21/leading-example-drug-laws-in-portugal/
I confess that I forgot about Portugal’s decriminalization of all drugs back in 2001, but that remains a good thing.
The “nail in the coffin” point against ‘certain drug’ prohibitionists is the fact that no disaster has ever occurred from weakening drug laws (which means by necessity, in fact, that prohibition does not work at all — if it did, such disaster would be imminent upon such weakening, and I would not have forgotten about Portugal’s controversial judicial move making constant global news due to that proclaimed disaster). One need not overreach to wisely then conclude that taxpayer funding (to the tune of tens of billions of dollars annually) for Certain Drug Prohibition is effectively theft (i.e. a real crime).
What resonates in the prompting post is…
“…drug users are not criminals, but sick.”
Drug users are not sick, but drug abusers (as with any abusers) are sick. Swapping the words use and abuse (user and abuser) to ‘certain drug’ prohibitionists’ convenience is (at least arguably) the reason why the war on some drugs still exists.
Drugs are tools. They can be used to heal (e.g. traditional pharmaceuticals). They can be used to amplify energy (e.g. caffeine). They can be used to increase pleasure and/or relaxation (e.g. alcohol). They can be used for the sake of achieving individual balance (necessary for stability, so survival). Notice that I kept my examples to legally consumed drugs, but any drug qualifies. We already know morphine (basically equally addictive as heroin and meth) is constantly used as a pain relieving tool in hospitals, but heroin (meth, etc.) as a euphoriant may also help achieve the balance necessary for stability in people experiencing horribly destabilizing events (e.g. those causing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) — that only sounds ridiculous due to the demonization of such euphoriants (successfully stigmatized by the horrors of heroin/meth abuse), not the sense forming that conclusion. Abusing a euphoriant becomes realized upon causing imbalance in the recipient of that drug (e.g. someone dealing with average depression for whom a euphoriant is overkill). That imbalance, if not properly addressed, logically leads to a recklessly compensating back-and-forth towards the euphoriant and consequently horrible withdrawal symptoms (all pleasure is paid for in full, scientifically speaking) until some form of stress becomes deadly (e.g. overdose).
For civility, everyone must understand that it all comes down to balance and imbalance (the latter being what sickness is literally all about, and causing literally all abuses, logically speaking).
Literally as with anything in life (including all tools), drugs can be (and sometimes are) abused. The notion that people in power should decide which abuses matter by law — inevitably a blatant disregard for the unalienable right to liberty that is supposed to be respected to prevent law abuse (the worst form of abuse due to its mainly broad scope of destruction), as clearly revealed in our nation’s founding document — is nothing shy of outrageously demonstrably destructive (as proven in part by the need for any severely violent revolutionary backlash throughout history).
The fact is defining risk is effectively defining liberty. There is no way a civilized society can defeat law abuse (again, logically the worst form of abuse, so logically the primary form of abuse worthy of public addressing), if risk is defined by the people in power in the form of liberty-infringing law.
This is a seriously tricky issue (so too often publicly dismissed, and people such as yours truly irrationally condemned as insane), in part because mainstream society has been strongly persuaded (by the people in power benefiting by legislatively defining unacceptable risk) to warmly embrace that risk definition. There are mountainous numbers of regulations verifying the existence of that warm embrace (while actual enhancement of civility remains at least questionable basically due to favoritism negating the intended ethical reach of such regulations). However, the overwhelming amount of suffering in the form of persecution against relatively powerless minorities (that are right by any ethical angle, because no harm is objectively happening by them — e.g. racial minorities, LGBT minorities, certain drug users, etc.) demands serious social focus and immediate remedy, and the war on some drugs (i.e. the highly destructive prohibition highlighting the still prevailing pre-American conservatism spanning the political spectrum, despite the progressive definition of liberty set over two centuries ago) epitomizes that need.
Drug laws (all of them) need to go away now, based upon sanity (no possible exception). Anyone consuming a drug without directly infringing upon another person’s rights is legitimately a drug user (not a criminal, nor sick). Drug consumption is not a basis for immunity from actually rights-infringing laws. If you consume too much alcohol and kill someone, for prime example, you are guilty by law and should receive society’s best remedy against future hostility on your part, but there’s the powerful rub.
The essence of America’s judicial problems stems from the fact that an unalienable right to liberty protects anyone’s activities up to the point of actual rights infringement (i.e. you can do whatever you want by an uncorrupted rule-of-American-law, as long as you do not actually hurt someone else — law should never apply until harm has been done). Protecting the public starts with protecting that right, not the subjective defining of socially acceptable risk that inevitably leads to a behemoth (and inconsistent, so highly discredited) rule-of-law — and all of the devastating societal damage from law abuse that inevitably comes with that terrible judicial “slippery slope”. In other words, society overwhelmingly remains convinced that judicially defining risk is civilized, and demands protective laws in an attempt to prevent harm from occurring, and the negative consequences of those laws are essentially ignored (a form of collateral damage never sufficiently reported by the mainstream media).
Obviously the real enemy of us all is stupidity itself, and no law has ever isolated and conquered that enemy (e.g. stupidity still clearly exists on both sides of any rule-of-law) — but effective education logically can (and sometimes has) defeated that most important enemy against society.
Effective education is the only proper remedy for stupidity. Allowing the subjective definition of harm and risk (always empowering the dominant people with the ability to persuade the dominating public) is as stupid as it gets.