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NeoNotes — Drug War

Most of the problems caused by illegal drugs come from the drugs being illegal in the first place. Portion control and purity are two of the obvious ones. If you don't know what the drugs have been cut with, you've no way of knowing what is a regular dose or what the side effects may be.

Something very similar happened during Prohibition. But when alcohol was legal again, things very quickly settled down. A beer had about the same kick as a shot of whiskey. And the reputable brewers and distillers had incentive to make sure that their products didn't kill or maim their customers.

A black market eliminates that incentive. Then, it's just about pushing as much product as possible, regardless of product safety or the long term effects.

And that means that many of the middlemen have no incentive for the long term either.

Okay, let's talk about the big elephant in the room.


By nearly any measure, alcohol has destroyed or damaged more lives by a couple of orders of magnitude than all the illegal drugs combined.

We trust people to be moderate in their alcohol use until they show otherwise.

Yet we also know that alcohol increases domestic abuse. We also know that alcohol DUI accounts huge amounts of property damage and injury and death. And we know that alcohol leads to unprotected and unwise sex for co-eds at college parties.

We trust people to be moderate in their alcohol use until they show otherwise.

Why alcohol and not a host of others?

I agree, we don't know what would happen.

But we also don't know exactly what is happening now. As Jacob Sullum writes in Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, we don't see the "average" drug user because the average drug user doesn't want to be associated with the extreme cases. The casual user won't stand out.

If we don't know what's happening now, then we can't tell what would happen.

I suspect that some would have addiction issues, just as people do now with tobacco and food. But I suspect that most if they used at all, would do it in moderation.

How much of the "drug culture" was because of the black markets in drugs? If something that costs pennies to grow/manufacture can be sold for hundreds/thousands of dollars because there is no legal market, why should legitimate sellers touch the stuff? Especially with the violence? class="ghoster">

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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