Thursday, August 8, 2013

Humanity and decency require new drug policies

Here's Ethan Nadelman of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization I contribute to almost every year.

Funny, though, while I knew DPA favored legalization of Marijuana, I assumed, unlike the sea of Marijuana-only legalization organizations, they favored legalization of all drugs.

In fact, Nadelmann is even a bit qualified about his support for marijuana.  He does not want to see it become like the tobacco cigarette market.

And wrt other drugs, the DPA doesn't have an official policy, but it wouldn't be a full libertarian style legalization.*  They mainly push for harm reduction strategies, such as needle exchange, in a step by step process of reducing all harms from drug prohibition (by far the major source of harms) and the drugs themselves.  (*He seems to say other drugs should not be freely sold, but possession should not be a crime.)

My own idea of the only decent policy is legalization of marijuana as with alcohol, restricted by age particularly.  (I would prefer to see blue laws repealed and alcohol available pretty much all day, so I didn't mention hours.  And restrictions on location can be suburbanizing...)

And then for other currently illegal drugs, I believe all drugs without exception should be available with a presecription from a state licensed medical doctor.  So more "schedule 1."

Overthrowing the deeply intrenched status quo, especially the prison industrial complex, and DA's, is difficult to contemplate.

Anyway, Nadelmann says a lot of other things I had thought of decades ago, with nobody else talking about them ever, and it's so wonderful to hear someone else confirming those ideas.

One idea is the spirituality of a once a year carefully planned psychedelic trip, to clear out mental sediment.  Not that I've been able to do this.  But the arc of my life does suggest that at least one door opening is useful--perhaps essential.

Another is that prohibition of all drugs including marijuana is what can create a "gateway" effect, as illegal dealers may carry more than one.  If marijuana is legal, but not the others, there is no gateway.

He says you can't have an effective 12 step program if falling off the wagon has legal consequences.  I've always said you can't have drug treatment if the drug is illegal, few will ever seek treatment because of possible consequences.

He mentions nalaxone, as a good idea, I will have to check that out.  He believes it should be liberally available.

He says the latest research shows decriminalization has no effect on use (it doesn't go up over all groups in society) but vast effect on the harm caused on people and society.

Here is my post to Facebook

I agree with and support Ethan Nadelmann and the Drug Policy Alliance.  Their policy on drugs other than marijuana is to emphasize decrim, and make people think about what the ultimate laws should be (though they oppose full libertarian style legalization of all drugs, they don't mind others talking about it in the interest of dialog).  I more specifically say that all drugs should be available with prescription from any state licensed medical doctor.  I would abolish Schedule One, the drugs that cannot be prescribed for any reason.  And marijuana should be at least as legal as alcohol, but with personal production and noncommercial sales less restricted (so the corporations don't take over).

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