Drug users need treatment, not incarceration.
By Jack E. Lohman
Doing drugs is a bad thing. May even kill you if the dealers don’t get you first. But fear not, our government has stepped in to save you from yourself.
We as a nation must stop digging this hole. I’ve never taken drugs, and I think it’s a waste in life. But we non-users are mismanaging this “war.”
People are dying because of our wrongheaded policies. Most are the bad guys, but many bystanders and policemen are killed as well. How many must die before we stop it?
I’m not sure we should legalize drugs, but we should at least decriminalize usage. We should continue locking up the pushers, but it would be far less expensive to treat addicts than to put them in prison.
Let’s look at the two extremes before deciding this. Think wildly for a moment. Unconventionally. What would happen if the government offered totally free drugs to users? We could take bids from Mexico and Afghanistan and get the cheapest price, then give them away or sell them at cost to people who are stupid enough to trash their life. We’d take 100% of the profit out of illegal drug sales so there’d be no more profits to fight over.
Okay, maybe they wouldn’t be free, but at least sold at cost with all of the profit taken out. You get the point.
In any case there’d be strings, like first attending an educational and rehab seminar. Then they can head to the nearest pharmacy with a permit, sign a release, and go home and get zonked. Or get zonked and then go home, as they are doing today.
Importantly, they wouldn’t have to rob or murder someone to get money for drugs. If usage went down, crime would go down. There’d be no more profits in pushing, so pushers would not hang out at schools offering free drugs to get our kids hooked. And with no more drug wars, Mexico could go back to being Mexico. What’s not to like about that?
Source: The Economist
See also: The Netherlands
Other countries have legalized drugs and have lowered crime rates. A recent report shows that state prison rates have quadrupled since 1982 and it costs $3.42 a day on average to supervise an offender on probation, compared to $78.95 a day to house them in prison. Only private prison contractors could love today’s system, and of course, so do the politicians they support.
But there I go again, putting pragmatism ahead of ideology. These factors all add up to the highest incarceration rate in the world, but some things we are better off not being first at.
Let’s appoint a non-partisan panel to study the issue. What have these other countries experienced? Would killings go up or down? What can we do better?
For one, the offenders released to society today are at such a severe disadvantage in the job market that they’ll likely end up back in prison soon. We must start educating them! They’re locked up, for crying out loud. We can get their attention. Let’s start training them so when they get out they can compete in the marketplace.
Give them an incentive, a credit of less time to serve, for example. Jobs in training will be created, though jobs will be taken when they become useful citizens. But then again, they will add to the economy. Which is better?
This is the kind of change this nation could use.
Three-strikes and mandatory sentencing are foolish and have overcrowded our prisons. Leave the decision to the judge.
See this excellent 8 minute video HERE
- The Employee Free Choice Act is neither free nor fair, but it sure is a feel-good name.
- If 50% + 1 employees sign a card supporting a union, that presumes an honest vote and automatically installs the union. Or throws the company into immediate arbitration.
- But if just 1% of those signatures were coerced by fellow workers, or 1% changed their mind and would otherwise vote against a union, such a vote would fail. The unions are not dummies, they know this.
- Not only is this unfair, it may indeed further erode American jobs. Be careful of what you ask for.
- Better, if just 40% sign a card in support, a vote of all employees should be held. Coercion can come from the company too.
- It’s outrageous when CEOs of public companies are getting $10M pay packages and yet criticize the pay of workers. Congress (you know, the jokers taking the campaign contributions) should mandate shareholder approval of executive pay.
- Fair is fair.
Quote: “It is time to replace our failed war on drugs with a strict system of legal regulation, to make the world a safer, healthier place, especially for our children. We must take the trade away from organised criminals and hand it to the control of doctors and pharmacists.”