Saturday, 28 March 2009

Incentives matter: drugs file

SIR – As a veteran of the war on drugs, with some 1,000 arrests under my belt, I have witnessed the utter futility of prohibition. There is no historic evidence that prohibition reduces drug use. Just about anyone who is going to do drugs uses them, regardless of their legal status. In fact, it is the notion of a “forbidden fruit” and prohibition-created profits that entice both young users and dealers. Youths report in federal surveys that it is easier for them to buy illegal drugs than beer or cigarettes.

Polls show that very few Americans would try heroin or cocaine if it were legalised tomorrow. There is no dam of potential drug users being held back by prohibition. Ending it would remove the violence in the same way that repealing the prohibition on alcohol did. This would be a pure win-win situation for everyone but drug dealers and terrorists.

Jack Cole
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Medford, Massachusetts
Letters to the Editor, The Economist in response to an article on how to deal with the drugs.

(HT: The Inquiring Mind)

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