Why ban some drugs?

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

Re "The New Problem Drugs: Meth," published Nov. 25: So prohibition doesn't work. What else is new?

Why do governments prohibit certain drugs? Is it to protect users from harm?

No, that can't be the reason because users suffer more (adulterated drugs and jail time) when a drug is banned as compared to when it is legally available. My wife and I became well acquainted with this aspect of government policy when we lost our 19-year-old son to street heroin in 1993. The harm argument is moot in any event because two of our more dangerous drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are legal.

Is it to reduce the crime associated with illegal drugs?

No, that can't be the reason because banning a drug always gives rise to more crime (drug cartels, petty crimes by users as prohibition makes drug prices much higher, violent disputes between dealers) than when the drug is legally available.

Is it a bid to distract attention away from more important issues by conducting a brutal, Hitler-like pogrom to ruin the lives of the innocent few who ingest or sell certain drugs?


Alan Randell

Victoria, B.C.

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