Drug Policy Signs


Addiction scholar and Reason contributor Stanton Peele (whom you might have seen in last month's John Stossel special, Help Me! I Can't Help Myself) offers an interesting take on "the best and the worst signs of how things are going in addiction treatment, addiction theory, and alcohol and drug policy." Among the positive developments, he counts public acceptance of medical marijuana, a consensus about the health benefits of moderate drinking, and the growing recognition that "drug prevention" programs don't work. His bad signs include the (literal) drug war in Latin America, the continued dominance of the disease model, and the popularity of forced "treatment" even among critics of the war on drugs.

Stanton also sees over-the-top anti-pot propaganda as a reason to be discouraged. But these messages–especially the widely ridiculed, soon-to-be-abandoned TV spots linking drug users to terrorism–could be taken as a sign of the government's desperation to maintain the specious moral distinction between legal and illegal drugs.