That’s the conclusion that reader Thomas approaches in his comprehensive case for “decriminalizing or legalizing all drugs”:
Not only has the global War On Drugs been an exorbitant waste of money, it has fueled the rise of mass incarceration, broken families and communities, and the rise of murderous drug cartels. Furthermore, has it curbed drug consumption in the United States or abroad? No.
If drugs are legalized or remain illegal, the fact of the matter is, people will continue to do them. I think that the focus must be more on harm reduction and rehabilitation. We hear about the “last stop” for most addicts—overdose and death. What doesn’t get much of the attention is the multitude of other problems associated with drug use, such as the spread of HIV and hepatitis infections, as well as the hospitalizations and surgeries (paid for by taxpayers) due to abscesses from sharing dirty needles. Addicts clog up emergency rooms because they’re looking for a fix, looking to get off the street, or they’re suffering from an infection. The healthcare system is not equipped to treat these patients, so they’re patched up and shipped back to the streets without any treatment for their underlying problem with addiction.