You Can Sometimes Reduce Drug Use, if You Kill Enough People

Four British nationals have been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking. The four are accused of trying to smuggle 11lb of cocaine from Thailand to Indonesia. These British nationals are far from the only foreigners sentenced to death for drug charges in Indonesia, as of September 2011 foreigners made up four fifths of those sentenced to death for drug offenses. Such draconian punishments were intended to reduce drug use in Indonesia, where use of hard drugs has either increased or remained the same. While in some countries harsh drug laws do reduce drug use, they are hardly societies worthy of admiration.

APAIC reviewed drug use in Indonesia and found the following; between 2006 and 2010 the use of meth, barbiturates, heroin, and cannabis resin increased, while the use of ecstasy and cocaine remained about the same. APAIC also found that domestic production of meth and ecstasy is on the rise. Evidently the death penalty and decades long prison sentences are not deterring drug users or drug dealers.

While Indonesia’s punishments are harsh, they are not the worst. Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act requires that anyone caught with more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine, 250 grams of meth, or 500 grams of cannabis receive the death penalty. Singapore has executed hundreds of people under these laws, including many foreign nationals. In contrast to Indonesia, Singapore has actually seen a decrease in drug use. Newt Gingrich is on record saying that he supports a Singapore-style solution to America’s drug problems, a commitment embodied by a bill he introduced in 1996 requiring that drug smugglers received the death penalty. One of Singapore’s former high commissioners to the Court of St. James’s defended his country’s policy in a guest post for The Guardian, arguing that the policy has “saved thousands from addiction”.

Indonesia and Singapore show us that draconian drug laws provide no guarantee that drug use will decrease. While Gingrich might sing the praises of a society where drug offenders receive the death penalty, homosexuals are banned from entry, and chewing gum, oral sex, porn, and bungee jumping are illegal, he is thankfully in a minority. If Gingrich and other prohibitionists would like to see sensible drug policy in practice Portugal might be a better place to look than the Pacific rim. Believe it or not, there are policies that deal with drug users effectively that do not involve killing or imprisoning even more of them.   

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  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but if you're not against something, then you're for it!

    If you don't want to kill heroin dealers then you want little kids to be shooting up!

    False dichotomies FTW!

  • Barry Obama||

    Death for drugs? My evolution on this subject is nearly complete... I decree the left elite and politically well connected forever exempt from such violence, but that goes without saying.

  • Paul.||

    Biden 2016!

  • ||

    "Deal with drug users"? Seriously, dude?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Newt is on record as being for all possible positions at least once. So I wouldn't hold this particular one against him.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Let's stop talking about Gingrich like he matters.

  • sarcasmic||

    +100

  • Tim||

    Fuckin A!

  • The Truth||

    Bitch if you want, but places like Singapore and Indonesia don't have much of a drug problem, do they?

    Economic losses (from lost productivity and increased healthcare costs) alone mean that it is in the interest of society for the government to restrict dangerous narcotics.

  • The Truth||

    *Much of a drug problem compared to the US

  • Barry Obama||

    That's correct 'The Truth'. So I'm sure you will also support me in my "Search Every Home" program. It's a stimulus and jobs program where we send a group of highly armed and expertly trained LEO's over to your place of residence and search through your belongings for contraband. We expect drug use and other crimes can be cut by as much as 90%! And I'm glad I have the support of boot lickers such as yourself!

  • T||

    I fail to see how lost productivity is any of society's business. That's between you and your employer.

  • Loki||

    Oh, but don't you realize that the good of the collective is all that matters? E.J. Dionne says so, so it must be true.

  • T||

    I guess my individual goal to get high diminishes the America that is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • R C Dean||

    Truthy, if you want to get all consequentialist on us, you need to show that locking up drug users, creating a black market, etc. don't result in more lost productivity, healthcare costs, and crime than legalization.

  • Loki||

    APAIC reviewed drug use in Indonesia and found the following; between 2006 and 2010 the use of meth, barbiturates, heroin, and cannabis resin increased, while the use of ecstasy and cocaine remained about the same.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I'm pretty sure that death impacts a worker's productivity more than drug use, but I'm not an expert or anything.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Oh fuck, he's back

  • Zeb||

    Oh no, not this again.

    And if we just shot everyone who looks like they might use drugs, we really could put a dent in the drug problem.

    The fact is that nothing can possibly justify killing or locking up someone for selling a drug to a willing buyer. Nothing. You could solve all kinds of "problems" if you completely disregard individual rights.

  • rtb61||

    Indonesia has a drug problem, the city state of Singapore has to execute people regularly (often the preferred solution for everything where population growth has to be strictly limited).
    The driver for the death penalty, was tah dah, the US who politically forced death penalty on Asian countries because they couldn't get away with it in the US ie they export the drugs from those countries to the US. The death penalty is largely used for foreign drug tourists.
    So in Asia terrorists get prison terms and foriegn nationals who smuggle drugs get executed, well done, US State Department.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Economic losses (from lost productivity and increased healthcare costs) alone mean that it is in the interest of society for the government to restrict dangerous narcotics.

    I am pretty sure obesity also leads to lost productivity and increased healthcare costs as well. So you are cool if we execute fatties?

  • The Truth||

    Obesity is different in that you need food to survive. Who knows what knocked somebody's metabolism out of whack? But you can go your whole life without ever touching psychoactive drugs.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    You based your argument on the loss of productivity and increased healthcare costs. So if obesity causes these, they should be put to death, yes?

    You can also go your entire life doing psychoactive drugs without diminishing your productivity.

  • The Truth||

    Obesity is a disease and not a choice like using drugs.

    Besides I'm talking about executing dealers, not so much users. These people peddle poison.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Ah, so you want to execute corn farmers. That's cool.

  • R C Dean||

    And not just the corn farmers, either. Why not execute anyone making or selling alcohol or cigarettes? Their lost productivity/healthcare costs are probably greater than illegal drugs, after all.

  • Loki||

    While we're at it, lets just make being unemployed a crime punishable by death as well. Think of all the productivity gains.

  • fried wylie||

    And not just the corn farmers, either.

    Better include any politicians who voted for corn subsidies.

  • ||

    I know a lot more of my colleagues take cig breaks than heroine breaks, and a lot more often, too, so they should be gunned down immediately for their lost productivity.

  • Zeb||

    If they'd just let them smoke at their desks, it wouldn't be a problem.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Obesity is a disease and not a choice like using drugs.

    I disagree, obesity is as much a choice as using drugs (there are medical reasons for obesity, but the vast majority is over-eating).

  • T||

    So does Walgreens. Dose determines toxicity.

  • Loki||

    Obesity is a disease and not a choice

    Bullshit. Fatties can choose to put the fork down and go get some exercise anytime they want. If they instead decide they'd rather sit in front of the TV stuffing their fat faces then that's a CHOICE. One that that they're free to make, I might add.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    If obesity were just a choice, bariatic treatment would be a lot easier.

    The average American is increasing the amount of exercise they're doing, becoming more aware of what they're eating, and they're still becoming obese.

    It's not lack of effort; it's the hordes of uninformed idiots who try to tell them calorie restriction and exercise are an effective long-term weight loss strategy, when the medical evidence shows that they're little more than a quack cure.

  • fried wylie||

    and they're still becoming obese

    I thought recent data showed that the "obesity epidemic" was leveling off.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Americans have had high rates of obesity for at least 80 years. I think most of the "obesity epidemic" (Note to the NY Times: OBESITY ISN'T COMMUNICABLE) was demographic changes and changing the official definition.

    You'll notice that despite doing everything right, at least according to our beneficent protectors, obesity isn't going down. Whatever the reason for the change, it isn't due to better diet compliance or increased fitness.

  • fried wylie||

    Claims begging for thorough citation.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    If I'm not too late... Gary Taubes covers this stuff in the first part of his Why We Get Fat lecture.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTUspjZG-wc

  • mad libertarian guy||

    so what you're saying is that this "disease" is something brand new that is only affecting humans now? Why is this "disease" just now becoming a problem?

    Bull. Shit.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    so what you're saying is that this "disease" is something brand new that is only affecting humans now?

    I'm not sure how you got that from what I said. Obesity goes back at least as far as the Venus of Willendorf.

    I'm not really big on the obesity epidemic, which I think is mostly hyperventilation on the part of media idiots who want an excuse to meddle in other peoples' lifestyles. I prefer to look at it on the individual level, and that's where you see that the currently prescribed treatment obviously isn't working. You can beat gravity for a while, but the long term prognosis is lousy and getting worse rather than better for the average person.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    But why do you want to kill doctors?

  • Broseph of Invention||

    What counts as food? You could go your whole life never touching 99% of all foods and be fine, many of which can be proved to increase obesity. In fact, things like chocolate are a double whammy, in that they're chemically addictive AND contain a lot of calories.

    And if obesity is a disease, it's one caused by life choices, just like drugs. Is alcoholism a disease? You're looking at an action (drug use) in one case and a result (obesity) in another; you need to compare two similar things to make a point.

  • The Truth||

    Though taxes on sugar and an end to agro subsidies aren't a bad idea.

  • kinnath||

    May you be run over on your way out to your car this afternoon.

  • perlhaqr||

    I'm still rooting for stomach cancer.

  • Zeb||

    Economic losses (from lost productivity and increased healthcare costs) alone mean that it is in the interest of society for the government to restrict dangerous narcotics.

    I think that the appropriate response to that is "Fuck off,slaver. Society doesn't own my potential productivity."

  • ||

    If you killed everyone, drug use would be 0.

  • The Truth||

    A few summary executions for dealers and I guarantee you people would stop using pot in this country. The risk wouldn't be worth it. At the very least dealers would stop dealing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Except that everywhere that has been tried it hasn't worked.

    But it would be different if the right people were in charge, right?

  • The Truth||

    Wroks in Singapore. Works in Saudi Arabia. Works pretty well in China.

  • sarcasmic||

    reduce != stop

  • ||

    I know from personal experience that people still do drugs in Singapore and China.

  • sarcasmic||

    They are more careful about hiding it is all.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Do you feel this sanguine about their homosexuality control laws? You can't deny they seem to work.

  • Loki||

    Newt, is that you? You sly dog, you.

  • Cloudbuster||

    AS the article says, Singapore has executed hundreds. If the goal is to prevent drug-related behaviors and deaths, then killing people to stop drugs seems kind of silly. "We executed hundreds of people to prevent hundreds of people from dying due to drugs!" That makes no sense.

  • R C Dean||

    A few summary executions for dealers

    Lots of dealers have been gunned down by police, so I think we've already tried that. Didn't seem to work.

    Any other ideas?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    True, because we all know executing murderers in this country has stopped murder. At the very least I'm willing to bet it's reduced the murdered by a magical percentage.

  • SugarFree||

    I wonder how much of my taxes DEA troll program eats up.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Wasn't our last The Truth a smarmy leftist troll?

  • BakedPenguin||

    What's the difference? Authoritarian is as authoritarian does.

  • SugarFree||

    Only in that it was a Friedman-bot about China. It's about proving that authoritarianism "works." It's just taking the ultimate anti-libertarian position, not supporting communism per se. Sort of like defending Mussolini because the trains really did run on time. Utilitarianism taken to the stupidth degree.

  • The Truth||

    I am not "Left" or "Right". I draw from both sides.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Communism and fascism. No point in being dogmatic.

  • The Truth||

    The correct term is Authoritarian State Capitalism.

  • Zeb||

    Well, at least you don't pretend otherwise. But you are either evil or stupid. Or just pure troll.

  • Loki||

    He is the Alpha and Omega. The left wing fuckwad and the right wing ass hat. All at the same time.

  • perlhaqr||

    I absolutely agree that you are not right.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Ah, now I remember. Left and right blur together at that end of the Nolan chart.

  • Tim||

    YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

  • fried wylie||

    Only because I don't like getting my hands covered in shit.

  • ant1sthenes||

    No, a Chinese fascist. It can hard to tell the difference between a fascist and leftist sometimes, though.

  • ||

    While Gingrich might sing the praises of a society where drug offenders receive the death penalty, homosexuals are banned from entry, and chewing gum, oral sex, porn, and bungee jumping are illegal, he is thankfully in a minority.

    Not singing the praises of Singapore but as a preteen boy there finding porn on the internet was easy and chewing gum itself was legal, just not the sale of it. You just had to buy some on the way down from Johor Bahru.

    Fines for spitting in public and caning for mild offenses like vandalism can be added to the list. And of course there is the lack of free speech and the use of the rigged court system to suppress political minorities with libel/slander/defamation suits.

  • The Truth||

    Singapore is a model nation for authoritarian state capitalism. And it WORKS.

  • ||

    It only works if your stated goal is brutal efficiency. If the stated goal is freedom, then no, it doesn't. And that's a subjective value judgement.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, what Jim says. If you want to say something works, you need to define what you are trying to accomplish first. I'd rather be in the US than Singapore, so it definitely doesn't work to my standards.

  • Tim||

    Khan Noonien Singh: [angrily] We offered the world ORDER!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708447/quotes

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Why do people put up with that? I can understand developing nations, but are people in Singapore so passive and malleable that stuff like this doesn't bother them? Especially when Hong Kong provides a fairly good contrast to Singapore.

  • ||

    The same party has been in power since the founding of the country. The government runs the papers, the tv stations, the schools and universities, provides most of the housing etc. Basically they are just used to it.

  • ||

    Yeah I spent some time in HK recently (my wife is from there), and it's definately proof that you don't need authoritarianism to make a place "work". Then again, it's not nearly as clean and nice-looking as Singapore, so you know, that's totally worth caning and executing people.

  • Joe R.||

    The unclean parts are the most fun. Great restaurants. And brothels.

  • oncogenesis||

    Why do people put up with that?

    Because freedom is scary.

  • T||

    As an aside, anybody claiming to have (or be) Truth who capitalizes the word is bullshitting you in some fashion. I have never found this rule to be false, but there's always a first time.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    It won't be today.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Everyone knows the truth will always be written in lowercase

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    anybody claiming to have (or be) Truth who capitalizes the word is bullshitting you...

    I agree that the capital T is a tip off that someone is bullshitting you ;-]

    /sarc

  • T||

    Well, yes, but then I've never claimed otherwise. If you believe whatever nonsense I happen to be spouting at the moment, that's a failure on your part, not mine.

  • ||

    That's a very libertarian position to take; kudos.

  • ||

    That's like when my ex used to say how much he hated liars. I guess he was just suffering from severely low self-esteem.

  • Rick O'Shay||

    I thought a capital T stood for trouble, which stood for pool. No?

  • T||

    No, trouble starts with a capital T which rhymes with P which stands for Penultimate.

    No, wait, that's not right, either.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    The DEA must drool at the lips.

  • ChrisO||

    Where does it say that these Britons have been sentenced? All the relevant news articles say they've been arrested but not yet tried. It's true that they do face the death penalty, though.

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