Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clarifications To Those Who Question Drug Legalization

Questions to Legalization Proponents (Along with some intelligent answers)

Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine wrote a 1995 article which discussed the DEA's 1994 Official Citizens Debating Manual against legalization. In this article, he summarized several key questions which legalization advocates are often asked by prohibitionists, generally in a rhetorical context -These represent important clarifications that would need to be made in the event of drug legalization, yet most prohibitionists who rhetorically present us with these questions do so because they don't expect us to have any clear answer; they are intended to serve as a means of pointing out the "naiivety" and "simplicity" of the movement for legalization. I however, have summarized practical answers to each of these questions, and believe most any well educated individual could readily answer these questions as well. For those who have not given much thought to the feasability of a widescale drug legalization, these clarifications may serve as a guide.

"Should all drugs be legalized?"

Ideally, the controlled substances act of 1970 will be repealed, along with all similar legislation leading up to it starting with the 1914 harrison act.

"Will they be limited only to people over eighteen?"

Recreational drugs would be regulated just like tobacco or alcohol, and ideally restricted to 21 and over (possibly 18 and over). Valid ID would be required upon purchase.

"Who will sell drugs? The Government? Private companies?"

Drugs such as opium, coca leaf, and their derivatives would most likely be marketed just like tobacco, coffee, or alcohol, and may even be marketed by tobacco or alcohol companies. They may additionally be marketed as components of certain novelty food or beverage items. These might include tea (such as opium or coca teas), candy and gum (most candy or chocolate products contain caffeine), which would be regulated/restricted just as the pure drugs themselves. Many of the currently illicit drugs which have additional value medicinally, aside from being sold as recreational products, may also be marketed by pharmaceutical firms for prescription or over the counter use.

"Who is liable for damages caused by drug use and the activities of those taking drugs?"

Those who consume drugs in a way which harms or significantly risks harm to others will be personally liable for their behavior, and may be held criminally liable as well; such as in the case of public nuisance or intoxication, intoxicated and disorderly conduct, underage possession or consumption, or visibly impaired driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Likewise, those who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs shall obviously be held responsible for their behavior, which should be judged by its own merit - i.e. judge criminals by their actions, nothing else.

"How will a black market for cheaper drugs be controlled?"

Black markets for alcohol and tobacco have not been a significant problem, nor are such operations significantly common. However, illicit sales may be dealt with the same as the illicit sales of other such drugs. Preferably, these operations would be dealt with through fines or civil action rather than prosecution and imprisonment; the exception being those operations which engage in sale to underage consumers.

"How will absenteeism and loss of productivity be addressed?"

Drug induced stupor or incompetency by workers shall be dealt with by the employers, or by law enforcement and the courts if applicable - for instance, one whose heavy cocaine use has impaired his performance at work may face administrative action by his employer, while a school bus driver who operates the bus while impaired will face sanctions by his employer, in addition to possible prosecution if he drives while impaired.

"Will legal drugs require prescriptions?"

This will depend not on the particular drug, but more on its particular formulation, or the individual purpose of each product. Drugs which are deemed to be useful in medicine may be available in various forms; as medically formulated products obtained by prescription, as over the counter therapeutic products, and as casual recreational products, with a product's specific formulation determining the product's availability. Highly concentrated or Injectable forms may likely be reserved for medicinal use, while less concentrated oral forms and other such items may be obtained without a prescription as either medications or recreational drugs. Certain drugs which may have limited medicinal value would obviously be sold primarily as recreational substances, and may or may not be available in prescription or over the counter medication form. With prescription use products, physicians would prescribe these drugs just as they do currently; however due to the availability of non prescription narcotics and stimulants, many of those who do not require extreme dosages or injectable forms may conveniently treat themselves with these over the counter formulations, just as is done with tylenol or aspirin (which are available in higher dose by prescription as well). For example, in the case of a patient with a noncancer chronic pain condition, a Physician would obviously have the ability to either write a prescription for 100ug/hour Duragesic patches or Buprenex injections, or simply reccomend the use of non prescription analgesics including morphine or oxycodone tablets, or perhaps marijuana in some cases.

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