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Staff Box

Who Won the Drug War?

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // February 3,2012 -

What do you think has been the biggest effect of the War on Drugs?

Scott Renshaw: Drugs won.

Derek Carlisle: I have no idea about all that; I go to the pharmacy like the rest of Utah.

Bryan Bale: In 1971, President Nixon set an unfortunate precedent for the use of phrases that begin with “War On.”

John Paul Brophy: There are three major effects: 1. an unprecedented increase in the prison population; 2. widespread disrespect for the law and law-enforcement personnel; and 3. a disproportionate ratio of minorities in prison.

Margaux Lodge: Heightened awareness, a slight decrease in availability, but other than that, not much. Until larger-scale issues such as border and port security are tackled, there will always be a large problem with drugs that are primarily grown out of the country.

Eric S. Peterson: The creation of an incarceration nation is probably most troubling. Politicians get easy points with voters by passing laws that punish minor drug offenders with more severe sentences, while at the same time not giving two shits about funding drug treatment and treating addiction like the disease that it is.

Pete Saltas: Seems like more and more states are jumping on the medicinal mary jane bandwagon. The “war” itself definitely gets a failing grade for a whole litany of various other reasons.

Bryan Mannos: I’d say it’s driven drug prices up, but for the life of me, I do not understand why an eighth of weed still costs the same as it did 20 years ago …

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Posted // February 4,2012 at 11:24

In addition to the many societal costs of prohibition, it has a long history of driving the spread of harder or more dangerous drugs.

* Poppies to morphine to heroine to krokodil

* Coca to cocaine to crack

* Ephedra to ephredrine to speed to methamphetamine

* Marijuana to skunk to dangerous synthetic concoctions such as 'spice' or 'bath salts'

* Mushrooms to ecstasy to 2CB/designers

At every step the reasons for the rise in popularity of the new form of the drug are one or more of the following: 

* It may easier to smuggle.

* It may be more addictive, thus compelling the buyer to return more frequently. 

* It may be cheaper to produce therefore yielding more profit. 

* Like a game of "whack a mole" a shutdown of producers in one area will mean business opportunities for another set of producers with a similar product.

Prohibition's distortion of the immutable laws of 'supply and demand' subsidizes organized crime, foreign terrorists, corrupt cops & politicians and feeds the prejudices of self-appointed culture warriors. So called Tough-On-Drugs politicians have happily built careers on confusing drug prohibition's horrendous collateral damage with the substances that they claim to be fighting, while the big losers in this battle are everybody else, especially taxpayers. 

How come so many of us have been deluded into believing that big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices? 

Imagine if we were to chop down every single tree on the planet as a response to our failure to prevent tree-climbing accidents. That's what our misguided drug policy looks like. Isn't it time we all stood up and told the government we're tired of being beaten and jailed so that pharmaceutical companies can poison and kill us for obscene profits?

Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!