The War On Drugs: Why Isn’t It Being Fought?
Archie Batra makes the case for the war on drugs. Archie Batra February 8, 2018
The UK is, whether we like it or not, a nation of drug users. We lead Europe in the abuse of cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, and come at the top of the table for use of amphetamines and cannabis, despite all of these substances being illegal. The cost of this is immense, be it the taxes that we have to pay to hold back the tide of drug use, social damage to the communities that have to deal with drug-related crime, or the emotional damage to those who lose friends and loved ones to substance abuse.
Drug use in the UK is clearly a problem, and so the question facing policy makers today is how to solve our epidemic. Rather worryingly, total decriminalisation of drugs is often touted as the route to our salvation. The drug legalisation lobby claim that this would solve all of our troubles, for if we only legalised drugs we could control and regulate them for the betterment of society, reduce crime, reduce drug use, and probably raise taxes from the legal sale of drugs. Besides, the incredibly oppressive and punitive “war” on innocent drug users has failed to curb drug use and its damaging effects, and so surely decriminalisation is the only solution to Britain’s drug problem?
If only this were the case. Firstly, we have plenty of examples that demonstrate that the legalisation of drugs does nothing to reduce drug use. Lifetime drug use in Portugal, Europe’s oft touted drug utopia, has risen substantially since they decriminalised drugs, as has their homicide rate. Colorado, too, one of the first US states to legalise marijuana, has seen drug overdoses increase dramatically in all of its counties, and it remains the only state with problems with heavy consumption of the four major intoxicants (marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, and opioids). I’m also not convinced that crime would reduce following any decriminalisation of drugs; both cigarettes and alcohol are legal in the UK, and yet the Government spends a lot of time and resources combatting the criminals that smuggle illicit cigarettes into the country, or manufacture and distribute illicit types of alcohol. Again, Colorado is instructive: they still have illegal sellers that attract their customers by supply ing their drugs under the legal (and taxed) price. If we were to decriminalise drugs, they would not disappear from the streets of the UK, and nor would crime reduce – we would simply be left with an even bigger problem than before For More WarOnDrugs??