Ending the war on drugs in a System of Toleration, Counseling, and Control

The book is written for the general reader as well as for professionals interested in drug policy including policy makers, politicians, public intellectuals and researchers. It details how we can bring about a fundamental change in our failed and inhumane national drug policy: our “war on drugs”.

The widespread use of most of the psychoactive drugs for non-medical purposes is not consonant with the interests of a rational society, and this view is reflected in the system proposed.  However, drug use prohibition has clearly been a mistake and a better system is needed to defeat the traffickers and dealers so accessible to our teenagers.  Such a new system tolerates responsible drug use by adults and, at the same time, maintains measures designed to prevent drug availability to minors.

The book describes the harms and costs of the failed war on drugs. The system proposed is  a scalable state by state system, which can be started with pilot programs in selected counties. Once the program is proven at small scale, e.g., as the crooks leave the county for greener pastures, the state can expand it.

Qualified adults are allowed to join a confidential program that allows them to purchase drugs and paraphernalia manufactured and dispensed under FDA regulations,  at below street prices. Purchase is through a tightly controlled remote ordering/delivery system, preventing access by minors. To qualify, users commit to regular contact with counselor/monitors, or “coaches”.  The coaches maintain contact with the users to promote responsible use, to keep them informed of current information and risks, and to serve as helpful confidants when someone says: “I’m ready to think about rehab.”

The book shows how this system will

  • Increase users’ willingness and ability to seek abstinence over time and at a pace commensurate with their individual circumstances and conditions;
  • Employ market forces to destroy the business of the pervasive drug dealers and violent traffickers;
  • End the accessibility to drugs of teens and preteens;
  • Improve health and safety in our communities; and
  • Release tax dollars (criminal justice costs) for better purposes, including education and addiction treatment.

Most users will eventually quit on their own without treatment. Many more will, given the chance, seek treatment in support groups and professional rehab centers. Tolerating a controlled use in the system proposed will foster recovery through all the various methods more effectively than the disruptive and dispiriting criminal punishment system. The myriad details necessary to make such a plan work properly and its benefits are detailed in this book.

Kill the Drug Trade is available at hundreds of outlets including:

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  1. You say “The use of of some psychoactive drugs for non-medical purposes is reckless, dangerous and contrary to the interests of a rational society.”
    I beg to differ. Throughout history people have enjoyed intoxicants. Like many others back in the 60’s I smoked marijuana and found it to be pleasurable and rewarding. Alcohol tends to make people stupid and belligerent or morose; marijuana tends sharpen sensory perception, calm the spirit, and to enhance empathy.
    After a few years I quit (quite easily) because I felt that it was distracting me from other things that I wanted to be doing.
    The problem with marijuana is not its effect on the mind, but rather the marketing system created by its illegality. Requiring pot smokers to meet regularly in order to cure their nasty habit reinforces the “dope-fiend” misconception.

    Cocaine and methedrine are a whole other story – far from benign.

    • Ahmal makes an excellent point. He, like many of my friends back in the 60’s and 70’s enjoyed relaxing with marijuana, rather than alcohol, as it had less of an effect upon mood,personality and sensory perception, provided of course it was used in moderation. A problem today is that marijuana comes with much higher levels of the intoxicating molecule THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) than ever before, some with levels at or above 15% which is considered by many to make it the equivalent of a hard drug. Ahmal also points out that it was easy for him to quit the distraction of using a drug which supports the findings of studies that most people mature out of drugs without any treatment at all. This is true for the so-called hard drugs as well.

  2. The old canard, “today’s” (take your choice: 80s, 90s, 2000s etc) “marijuana is __ percent stronger than it was in the 60s” (fill in the blank with a plausible but alarming percent), “and so is more dangerous than before.” is just that: an old canard.

    Even if the above canard were gospel true (and it isn’t, really), it would mean that people smoke less to achieve a similar effect. I can remember — back in the 1970s — that the buds in a bag of Mexican could be (once seeds removed) as potent as anything today. The stems, seeds and “shake” were another story, of course – not to mention the rocks, sticks, roots and cocoons that sometimes got accidentally tossed into the brick-making machine. And hash, used for thousands of years, is the same potency as ever.

    So I’d be just as wary of accepting such claims (‘today’s pot is X% stronger and more dangerous, now a hard drug’ etc.) from government at face value, as I would be of other self-serving prohibitionist/government alarmist proclamations on the evils of pot. To say that government/prohibitionists cherry-pick bad things to say about pot, even, understates the situation. They’ve (government prohibitionists) whole departments, like NIDA, dedicated to funding research: if and only if the goal of having bad things to say about pot is fulfilled. NIDA is dedicated to the doublethink proposition that all use of pot is “Drug Abuse.” Such is the received wisdom on the badness of supposed increasing pot potency.

    The problems which come from prohibition, don’t come from people being too skeptical of government, and not accepting enough of government claims. It is not that government is basically a benevolent entity which occasionally needs nudging. Government is a rapacious, lying beast. Government rarely makes a proclamation which is true: if something (illegal pot potency over time in the USA, say) were true, why should government need to convince me of it?

    “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

    My mistakes come not from mistrusting governments. Rather, my mistakes come from being fooled by government lies.

    • O.B. makes a good point. To call marijuana “dangerous” is much like calling a straight pin dangerous. In the hands of a careless person it poses risk of harm. Most of us know how to handle a straight pin. Only a very small percentage of us are experienced cannabis users. Danger in responsible use of cannabis lies only in ignorance of its properties and effects. I like the Orwell quote about political speech. It is one of the reasons why we get the politics of various policy issues so wrong so often, as we have in the war on drugs.

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