Aug 3, 2005

jack shafer, one of my favorite journalists to read lately, has another brilliant little story, this time about newsweek's overhyping of meth madness as the nation's amphetamine epidemic. of course, fewer and fewer people are actually taking meth nowadays, but shafer shows just how the so-called "drug warriors" can make the solution worse than the original societal ailment.

Drug-war measures often do more harm to individuals and society than the original "evil" substance the warriors attempted to stamp out. In the mid-1960s, just before the government declared war on amphetamines, the average user swallowed his pills, which were of medicinal purity and potency. Snorting and smoking stimulants was almost unheard of, and very few users injected intravenously.

Today, 40 years later, snorting, smoking, and injecting methamphetamines of unpredictable potency and dubious purity has become the norm—with all the dreadful health consequences. If the current scene illustrates how the government is winning the war on drugs, I'd hate to see what losing looks like.

while i don't consider myself a libertarian, i do know that the drug war and prohibition and laws against prositution and the abortion ban and similar laws have been nothing but counterproductive. instead of trying to ban away things we don't like, we have a duty to try to mitigate the damage that those problems cause. safe drugs are still better than dangerous drugs and safe prostitution is still better than dangerous prostiution.

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