Drug Policy

Nick Gillespie: What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like?

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In December 2006, reason's Nick Gillespie spoke on a plenary session at the annual conference of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). The panel's topic was "What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like," and Gillespie focused not just on that topic but on how drug prohibition functions as what he calls a "structuring event" in American life, forcing all sorts of activity—from education and athletics, from law enforcement to foreign policy—to pay hypocritical and misdirected lip service to a Just Say No mentality.

"The drug war screws with everything that it touches, and it touches everything," says Gillespie. Snippets from his talk:

What I want to do is try to create a post-prohibitionist mind-set, where we are no longer merely reacting to prohibition and trying to get rid of it, because in a way we become twinned with it….

When we talk about the Tour de France, we talk about drugs. When we talk about Major League Baseball, we talk about who's using them. Plan Colombia and a good chunk of our foreign policy is all about drugs. Hundreds of thousands of people are in jail because of drug policy. All of you [students] probably went through some form of bogus drug education program, all for no good reason. The real dead-end of this is…[found] in men's rooms in America. When you go and take a piss, there is a pretty good chance that the urinal cake holder, the thing that deodorizes it…says 'Say No To Drugs' on it….

The quick version of my sensible drug policy, of a post-prohibitionist policy, is that it would be smarter to regulate all drugs, including prescription drugs, somewhat like we do with alcohol….

Like drug warriors…we will need to stop imbuing inanimate objects with supernatural powers.

The drug war is over, if we want it—to paraphrase a famous anti-Vietnam war slogan. The end of the war starts up here, in our heads, and then proceeds out to the actual America. The starting point for a sensible drug policy, a true post-prohibitionist mind-set that does not participate in any way with prohibitionist thinking, would be take seriously the credo of the Whole Earth Catalog…"We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it." Ironically, the first step to becoming gods may be to recognize that drugs are only one means among many for changing who we are, how we live, and what we will become.

Approximately 17 minutes; click on the image below to watch.

SSDP's 10th annual conference will take place in Washington, D.C., from November 21-23 and will feature, among many other speakers, reason's Radley Balko.

Go here for more information.

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  1. The video is stopping around the two minute mark. Anyone else having this problem?

  2. The video is stopping around the two minute mark. Anyone else having this problem?

    No, but I was having other video stuttering/stopping issues earlier this week.

    Reinstalled Flash, updated DirectX drivers (which I ultimately suspect was the real problem due to other symptoms), and problem was solved. You might want to give it a try.

  3. I was going to say that a sensible drug policy would look an awful lot like NO drug policy.

    But perhaps that’s misleading. To the extent that drugs can diminish responsible human action, a responsibilitarian policy would turn to ways to put responsibility back into the social equation, where drugs are involved.

    The only way to do this, I think, is the way Gillespie suggests: move beyond thinking in terms of prohibition. How that would work, I’ll leave to others. But the key concept in drugs, hormesis, must be recognized always.

    I have to do the responsible thing and get back to work.

    (I’ll look at the video when I have time.)

  4. I would definitely adhere to NO drug policy. Though I agree that it is unreachable. When humans are involved, a certain amount of corruption is inevitable.

  5. Sensible drug policy?

    Free market.
    If the seller chooses to label his product(ingredients,dosage,weight etc.) then one should consider intentional mislabeling to be fraud.

  6. We are NEVER going to have a sensible drug policy. There are just too many busy-bodies to allow it.

  7. Sensible policy?

    Let anyone use whatever they want. Hold any of them responsible for what they do while on whatever they take. Hold sellers accountable in product liability like we do any seller of goods.

  8. Trying to stop the drug war by saying some variation of ‘drugs are good, mmmkay,’ rather than with a cost-benefit benefit analysis is a political non-starter.

    Just sayin’

    As an analogy, the plurality American public was interested in getting out of Vietnam not because Communism was good, but because people felt it was no longer worth the cost in blood and treasure. (Similarly, that same plurality wishes to leave Iraq not because the anti-govt/anti-social forces are good, but because they feel it ain’t worth the effort anymore.)

    And besides, just like there are some people who should not drink, there are some people who should not use drugs. What is impossible, of course, is to determine a priori who is who.

  9. What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like?

    A geek in a cool leather jacket.

  10. REGULATORS!!! MOUNT UP!

    It was a clear black night, a clear white moon
    Nicky G was on the streets, trying to consume…

  11. Sensible government policy is an oxymoron. Any time you throw ‘political feasibility’ into any policy debate, it’s over.

  12. Any sensible policy should legalize production and distribution rather than just consumption. If production is not legalized than the drug war will not end.

  13. Sensible government policy is an oxymoron. Any time you throw ‘political feasibility’ into any policy debate, it’s over.

    Not so. Consider how sensible food policy is compared to drug policy. The most the political interests have achieved there is to get price supports of various kinds. Extremely few foods are subject to drug-like controls. One could easily imagine a world in which many foods are subject to drug-like controls, but that hasn’t happened, so clearly controls aren’t inevitable and an absence of them is politically feasible.

  14. RG,

    Wait till the next 4+ years for food controls.
    You will think we are now in food Libertopia.
    IIRC, didn’t the FDA under Clinton try to ban the consumption of raw shellfish?

  15. Seems like we’re seeing some movement lately. A couple cities have moved toward decrim.

    If Obama wins, supposedly the federal raids on clinics will end (unless we get thrown under the bus like public campaign financing). That will create more and more pressure for outright legalization, as a doctor’s scrip is generally fairly easy to get (and why shouldn’t it be? they hand out prozac like candy) and the more exposure people have the more the realize it’s just like having a beer or a cigarette.

    Looking forward to the day I can legally get a little high before taking the Corvette out on the road with the top down.

  16. Any sensible policy should legalize production and distribution rather than just consumption.

    /agree, but one step at a time…

  17. AFAIK the shellfish requirement ended up being a posted sign with scary words if they want to sell oysters. In most cases, the scary words don’t apply, but in a few it’s the truth, so I don’t think it’s THAT bad…

  18. Legalize marijuana and see what happens. Nothing else yet, but so many people smoke pot, I never have, but so many people do, and I don’t care, as long as I am allowed to personally say no.

    No more “don’t knock it before you try it.” You can have it. I like soda, hamburgers, and trolling random articles sometimes 😉

  19. I don’t care, as long as I am allowed to personally say no.

    I think you’re fairly safe on that end. Nobody I know of is advocating forcing people at gunpoint to toke up.

    Though I admit the image is compelling in an absurd way.

  20. I want my drugs unregulated and untaxed…. might as well keep them on the black market. Shit, I wish I could buy more things on the black market.

  21. What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like?

    Clearly, it would be wearing a black leather jacket.

  22. What’s with Gillespie and that leather jacket? His whole look went out of style in the 50’s. What next, powdered wigs?

    Anyway, we do have the most punitive, awful drug policy out of all first world countries. But when did we ban hard rock/metal?

  23. Rushing away.

    In the light
    of a new song
    I like the
    perception of
    a sweet sensibility,
    the height of
    the season and
    a burning desire.

    Francesco Sinibaldi

  24. But when did we ban hard rock/metal?

    Never, to my knowledge, as a nation. However, individual communities did perennially throw up some absurd public morals regulations banning things like rock music just to keep people on their toes.

    IIRC, they never lasted long.

  25. OT but if you are into pop “culture” you might find this funny.

    http://www.drunkenstepfather.com/cms/u.php?u=25612

  26. “take seriously the credo of the Whole Earth Catalog…’We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it.'”

    Wait, isn’t this the sort of attitude which drug-law reformers impute to prohibitionists?

  27. Legalize marijuana and see what happens.

    It’s practically legal in a lot of places, especially if you’re white and rich. In my experience, You have to fuck up spectacularly to get a cop to bust you for pot possession. They’ll normally just confiscate it and send you on your way.

    Of course, it’s pretty outrageous that a cop is allowed to steal your bud. Fucking pigs.

  28. Gillespie kicks ass.

  29. It’s practically legal in a lot of places, especially if you’re white and rich.

    Warty, are you rich and white?

  30. A Pittsburg Steelers WR was pulled over for a ‘minor’traffic violation and arrested for having a few blunts in his car.I guess being black and rich doesn’t work.

  31. A sensible drug policy would be no policy at all… no policy, no regulation, not even like alcohol, no accurate labeling, nothing. Nothing.

    The one and only direction for the first step toward a sensible drug policy is an amendment to the Constitution that expressly protects our right to put whatever we choose into our bodies.
    Everyone with an ounce of sense needs to grasp it that, if the First Amendment protects our right to put whatever ideas we choose to put into our minds, which it was intended to do, then the Second Amendment SHOULD HAVE BEEN to protect our right to put what we choose into our bodies.
    Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adam’s buddy, the woman who first thought of a Bill of Rights, just had an understandable oversight that took about a century for “hackers” to find.

  32. Boston’s 5:24pm link is to a porn site.

    *Sigh.

  33. If Obama wins, supposedly the federal raids on clinics will end

    Ha ha ha! Ha! Hee hee! Oooooweee, that’s a good one!

  34. Ha ha ha! Ha! Hee hee! Oooooweee, that’s a good one!

    Your derision is reasonable, given the lengthy list of betrayals on drug policy from politicians left and right alike.

    However, *this* politician has yet to screw anyone on the issue. Let him do so, then mock him. (Or let him shock you by not doing it.)

  35. Let anyone use whatever they want. Hold any of them responsible for what they do while on whatever they take. Hold sellers accountable in product liability like we do any seller of goods.

    Like cigarettes and trans-fats… oh wait..

  36. Elemenope,

    Obama and his campaign already backed off the “ending Federal medical marijuana raids” statement so unless he changes position yet again he already screwed everyone on the issue.

  37. Obama and his campaign already backed off the “ending Federal medical marijuana raids” statement so unless he changes position yet again he already screwed everyone on the issue.

    I googled for it and found many references to him saying he would end the raids (May of this year), but could not find one of him repudiating that position.

    Might you have a linky?

  38. Not handy, and I’m busy but here is a clue. His last statement on the matter was qualified by “if medical marijuana is FDA approved”. There is NO chance of that happening ever. I’ve ragged on Sullum repeatedly for not acknowledging Obama’s abandonment of his prior position.

  39. His last statement on the matter was qualified by “if medical marijuana is FDA approved”. There is NO chance of that happening ever.

    I imagine the truth of that prediction depends greatly on:

    1. Who runs the FDA
    2. What the interests are of the person who appointed them

    I’ll freely admit that putting Biden, of all people, on the ticket was not an encouraging sign…but at least I’m pretty sure he isn’t there *for* his drug-policy views.

  40. I imagine the truth of that prediction depends greatly on:

    1. Who runs the FDA
    2. What the interests are of the person who appointed them

    Bureaucracies are a greater impediment to “change” and liberty than elected governments in the USA.

    The Justice Department makes the decision.
    There is a near unstoppable inertia in federal (and other) bureaucracies that is not affected by who the appointed leader is.Out of the Justice Department this is a push for more power,more restriction of liberty and less rights for citizens.That is why there is a steady erosion of liberty no matter who is elected.Specific events accelerate this. Oklahoma City and the 1990s anti-abortion violence under clinton, 9/11 under Bush.

    In regard to the FDA I couldn’t imagine the institutional bureacracy shifting in such a manner as to approve marijuana or any natural plant as “safe and effective”. If they have approved a whole plant as a drug in the past 50+ years I would be shocked.

  41. uh not really a porn sight. its a picture of two celebrities reading Harry Browne. I thought it was funny. YMMV

  42. but i should have mentioned the nature of the site, so you are right about that.

  43. After about 25 comments, the munchkins are always up to their crowns in a quicksand of irrelevant details… end of discussion.
    Such is the nature of humanity.

    Could I go through a black hole and become silicon-based?
    (Come to think of it, maybe quicksand is the black hole for munchkins. Naah.)

  44. Elemenope, are his lips moving? Then he’s lying. It’s what politicians do. The more sincere they seem, the greater the odds that they are actively lying.

  45. Unaffordable prescriptions and long prison sentences. No?

  46. Elemenope, are his lips moving? Then he’s lying. It’s what politicians do. The more sincere they seem, the greater the odds that they are actively lying.

    Uh huh.

    So…how do you figure out who to vote for? Do you vote at all?

  47. Ele:

    Stoners are paranoid and annoying though, sometimes.

    If you say you don’t smoke pot, they lecture to you and assume you are against them doing it.

    Either you love Bob Marley and Dave Matthews Band, or you’re the feds. 😛

    That’s what I noticed with a couple of guys I lived with. I had to inform them both I thought it should be legal but I had no desire to try it. Took one of them a while

  48. Biden overstates his crime bills etc. He just likes to “out rudy rudy” for no reason.

  49. A sensible drug policy would look like this:

  50. Stoners are paranoid and annoying though, sometimes.

    So are drunks, cokeheads, and pillheads, but they’re far less likely to violate my fourth amendment rights than any drug warrior I’ve ever met.

    -jcr

  51. 1. Who runs the FDA

    The Government.

    2. What the interests are of the person who appointed them

    The Government’s.

    Well, that was easy. Next topic?

  52. Uh huh.

    So…how do you figure out who to vote for? Do you vote at all?

    I have to agree with the OP, lmnop. The default position one should always take when the government is talking to us is: They’re lying.

    That way, when they tell the truth on occasion, we can be pleasantly surprised.

    Oh, and speaking for myself, I no longer vote.

    Because. They’re. Lying.

  53. He just likes to “out rudy rudy” for no reason.

    Oh there’s a reason, Jesse, there’s a reason.

  54. So are drunks,

    Never met a paranoid drunk.

  55. Never met a paranoid drunk.

    Dude, I used to hear cops knocking at the door. And you know what I mean. It wasn’t the Bud Lite or the cheap red.

  56. I am with the legalize all and let the free market sort it out. Don’t force employers to allow employees to be on anything the employee likes at work, etc.

    OT: So, how about that Sen. Biden on Orlando television last night, eh? Seems he was at a loss for the words of others in his first real interview of the campaign.

  57. If you say you don’t smoke pot, they lecture to you and assume you are against them doing it.

    Yep, I have run into a lot of that. Two of the most extreme cases were both around the same time a couple of years ago, two people I knew well but did not know each other. Both were endlessly trying to get me to read about how weed was “better” for me that cigarettes, constantly wanting me to “try it” so I would not have such a negitave attitude towards it, etc.

    How the hell is “go ahead and do what you want” a “negative attitude”?

  58. Stop the madness. Legalization now for growing , using what we please. Stop the legal discrimination against us who smoke a little pot, unless your just scared we can do your jobs better.

  59. Of course if you are going to regulate drugs, you will have to enforce the regulations. Currently, we regulate prescption drugs and still have all kinds of nonsense involving the use of pain killers; doctors going to jail for proscribing “too much” to cronically ill patients and so forth. I think Gillespie is being very disengenous when he claims we can just regulate drugs and get out of our problem. Ok, so we regulate heroin. What does that mean? Presumably it means that only certain people can get it. Then we have to make sure only certain people get it and then we end up throwing people in jail when the wrong people get it and we are right back where we started.

    The middle ground between prohibition and no regulation is very messy. I don’t think anyone right now really has a good grasp on what post prohibition would look like. Therefore, rather than pushing for pie in the sky universal legalization, the better first step would be to get the Federal Government out of the drug prohibition business. Leave it up to the states to experiment with drug legalization as they see fit. Go ahead and ban the importation of drugs and let the CBP and ICE concentrait on that and then let the states form their own drug policies. Some states, like California and Alaska would probably legalize marijuana. As states began to realize it is a hell of a lot cheaper to just legalize the stuff rather than prohibition, more and more states would legalize. Some wouldn’t but more than you think would. More importantly, it would start a gradual drawing back of the drug war. We didn’t get here overnight. It is foolish to think that we will get back overnight.

  60. bob,

    What exactly are you meaning by that “just scared we can do your jobs better” bit? Hope it is not some veild call for the government to prevent employers from controlling their workplaces.

    You know, if you can do a job better then it is not a problem. There will be an employer who will compensate you better for your increased productivity.

  61. John,

    I think Gillespie is being very disengenous when he claims we can just regulate drugs and get out of our problem.

    I really don’t believe that Nick is being disengenous at all. I believe that it is his true position and he thinks that it is workable. He just happens to disagree with you a bit and me a lot on a solution to this violation of adult personal choice.

  62. If Obama wins, supposedly the federal raids on clinics will end — Ha ha ha! Ha! Hee hee! Oooooweee, that’s a good one!

    Well, I have to defend Obama here: at least he’s made the promise. That’s more than McCain has done.

    I really don’t believe that Nick is being disengenous at all. I believe that it is his true position and he thinks that it is workable.

    It’s weird that people argue this isn’t workable. I can only assume it comes of watching too many of those Reefer Madness movies in public school indoctrination daycamp.

    Were we better or worse off under alcohol Prohibition? All the same arguments apply.

  63. We have examples of “post-prohibition” w.r.t. various other objects & activities. One example is given by the states that went from strict control policies on concealed weapon carriage to “shall issue”. Another example is professional boxing, which was widely prohibited but later legalized with state commissions regulating it. We have examples of a few controlled substances that have been decontrolled — loperamide (Imodium) comes to mind. There’s also the example of gold coins & bullion. It always takes its own course.

  64. Robert Goodman | October 26, 2008, 11:57am | #

    It’s nice to see an occasional optimist.

  65. You know, if you can do a job better then it is not a problem. There will be an employer who will compensate you better for your increased productivity.
    This is not the case, as long as there are drug tests that discriminate against those who use marijuana a week ago.All who use it must find jobs where the employer does not drug screen, or lie and refrain sometimes weeks just to pass a piss test, that does not reflect on character,or work ethics.

  66. Thanks Nick..wonderful talk!
    Advocates of harm reduction (as I understand it) hold that individuals will continue to use subtsances no matter what (and have every right to) and asks how they can do so in the safest way possible (in an often extremely hostile pro-drug war society). Moreover, every human culture has included drug consumption and every single attempt at drug prohibition has failed.

    Nick correctly points out that there is “a basic human impulse to alter your conciousness.” At every harm reduction training I have ever attended, I have heard the instructors voice the same exact idea.
    I don’t necessarily see any conflict between the philosophy of harm reduction and what Nick is advocating in his talk here (Please clarify if I am mistaken – I am learning). As I understand harm reduction, it is all about what goals the individual wants to pursue. The individual is ultimately the true “expert” on his or her life – while the “clinican” can be a positive support along the way (Any decent therapist – I would hope – would embrace this philosophical approach).

    Is it perhaps more of a question of what key ideas should be emphasized in our dialogues with others on this subject?

    I think that some clinicians emphasize way too much the supposed destructive influence of substance use. In my opinion, the typical clinical labels that I keep hearing from trained professionals (many of whom believe in legalization of all substances) are: 1. Addiction. 3. Clean/Sober. 4. Disease.
    I feel that we need to discard all of the labels thus mentioned (and many others). They are destructive – and only serve to back the claims of prohibitionists that all illicit substances are “bad.” I think that when speaking to others on this subject it is absolutely crucial to note that most use of subtances (regardless of their “legal” status in our society) results in no harm whatsoever.

  67. I tried to listen to the talk, but even after turning its built-in volume all the way up, and turning my laptop’s volume all the way up, I can’t hear it well enough to understand him over the ambient noise in my house. Any .mp3 on the same laptop can be turned up to ear-splitting levels.

    Why is it that online content is so often artificially quiet?

  68. All I thought during the video was “leather jacket.”

  69. “Stop the legal discrimination against us who smoke a little pot, unless your just scared we can do your jobs better.”

    Great point! I was a great / productive employee for 15 years with the same company. I was never drug tested for any reason. The company I worked for went out of business a couple years ago and it has been very tough finding a job which does not drug test.

    I am willing to match my skills, abilities, work record and ethics against anyone else, but I have a hard time seeing how my off time non violent, voluntary and private behavior has any effect what-so-ever on my on the job performance, or my life in general.

    I have a MS in Environmental Evaluation and I have a solid work ethic and record and I’m sick and tired of being considered a criminal and rejected out of hand by prospective employers because I responsibly use cannabis.

    I consciously avoid all job offers which say “drug testing required”, but even some adds don’t mention it and it isn’t until you are filling out the application and it comes up as an, “oh, by the way..” moment.

    Drug testing is the biggest problem in the legalization picture and that will only be solved when we are declared “owners” of our bodies and the chemical reactions within and no company can use your own bodily fluids against you when making a hiring decision, accident testing is OK if it can show actual impairment.

  70. Scott,

    The “harm reduction” strategy, while preferable on humanitarian grounds, is in no way libertarian.The legalization of drugs is a property rights issue.It isn’t about being more “permissive” on some illegal drugs as a matter of social policy.Those countries where you can buy most pharmaceutical drugs w/o a prescription have a more “libertarian” drug policy than the IS would with our same system + legal marijuana.

  71. “the US would”

  72. I am willing to match my skills, abilities, work record and ethics against anyone else, but I have a hard time seeing how my off time non violent, voluntary and private behavior has any effect what-so-ever on my on the job performance, or my life in general.

    The drugs I take most definitely have a positive influence on my job performance.

  73. zig zag man,

    Employers should have the “right” to drug test and discriminate in hiring based on the results.It may not be in there economic interest to do so but that is their decision.
    I can understand avoiding companies with a random testing policy but how hard is it to pass a pre-employment test.Quit for a month.

  74. Great talk, Nick.

    I’ve followed reason from the beginning, 40 years ago. It’s quite clear that Reason, while remaining true to it’s founding principles, has evolved. For example, I can’t quite imagine Robert Poole giving your talk…

  75. Consider a “million man march” on DC, composed of acknowledged drug users–responsible, white, middle-class, professionals, college-students–with the theme, “Arrest us all or end the drug war”.

    There’s civil disobedience for you.

  76. “Employers should have the “right” to drug test and discriminate in hiring based on the results.It may not be in there economic interest to do so but that is their decision.”

    Sure they should have the right, but they are getting impetus from the government prohibitionist cheeleaders who have a financial stake in drug testing. Dupont and Johhny Pee Walters both held / hold positions of influence in the government which directly benefits from drug testing mandates, both of them are involved in piss testing companies.

    It would be really interesting to see how popular drug testing would be if the war on some drugs did not exist. How many people really think that responsible cannabis use is a problem in the workplace? I would suspect less than the government would like you to think.

    I use cannabis recreationally and medicinally, even though in my state my PTSD is not treatable with cannabis. I have quit in the past, but I choose not to now and I do not think that I should be denied / discrimated by a government policy rather than a personal one made by each company owner.

  77. So…how do you figure out who to vote for? Do you vote at all?

    What I do is to look at their actual <gasp> record. The vast majority of Dems and Reps fail in this regard. This is why so many Libs are leery of Barr, he has a record that isn’t that clean.

    p.s. Regarding Obama’s “promise” to stop federal drug raids. So what? Both Obama and McCain have promised to pound you in the ass, and Obama “promise” not to pull on your ears while doing it won’t make your sphincter any less painful. Libertarians voting for Obama because he mumbled something about stopping federal raids is like a victim voting for rapist number two because he uses a condom.

  78. I’ll say it again: Obama qualifies his support of respecting State medical marijuana laws by requiring it be FDA approved.Ain’t gonna happen folks.


  79. Elemenope | 12:29pm | wrote:
    It’s nice to see an occasional optimist.

    They probably don’t smoke tobacco..

    Free the weed(s), ban the Shrub(TM).
    Another point where one can separate Reagan from Goldwater Rs.

  80. The company I worked for went out of business a couple years ago and it has been very tough finding a job which does not drug test.

    I am a contractor/consultant, and my company does not drug test. Last week the discovered a client who said they needed us to do drug tests. This is the first we have ever been asked this, and we have numerous military and financial center clients. So I was asked if I would take a job were I was required to pee in a bottle.

    My response was to first push back at the client and see if they would reconsider, and if not, then to charge them extra for my urine.

  81. the only sensible drug policy is one where I can walk into a drugstore and legally purchase cannabis, morphine, cocaine, and/or any other drug I want cheaply.

  82. SIV: The “harm reduction” strategy, while preferable on humanitarian grounds, is in no way libertarian.” Whoa, (with all due respect) I beg to differ (I would love Nick to clarify his remark on harm reduction as well).
    Your clarification of the property rights issue was very helpful to me. But harm reduction philosophy holds that we have a right to do with our bodies (our most cherished possession) as we choose.

    SIV: “It isn’t about being more “permissive” on some illegal drugs as a matter of social policy.” Actually, that’s not what harm reduction is about. It has nothing to do with a certain level of permissiveness. It has everything to do with respecting the right of the individual to make decisions to improve one’s life (And that might have nothing to do with a person’s actual substance use). I work for a program that embraces the harm reduction philosophy. Many of our clients ask for help with finding employment or better housing. Most of our clients actively use illicit substances. We assist them with what THEY determine to be the main obstacles to a more fulfilling existence.

    SIV: “Those countries where you can buy most pharmaceutical drugs w/o a prescription have a more “libertarian” drug policy than the IS would with our same system + legal marijuana.” I totally agree. Most committed harm reductionist clinicians that I know believe in a complete end to prohibition (not just marijuana legalization). I’m not implying that libertarianism = harm reduction. I am just pointing out that harm reduction philosophy definitely shares the same ideals of libertarianism. The difference is in the details on how social services should be funded. As a libertarian, I strongly believe in the idea of private charities (funded by private donations) – as opposed to government run social services (which are cruel and coercive).

  83. Also, the program I work for does no drug tests of its employees. Many of my colleagues use illicit substances.

  84. Just to clarify, harm reduction advocates hold different views on the issue of social servcie funding. “Harm reduction,” of course, is not an organization..it is more of a holistic philosophy if anything.

  85. My apologies Scott. My understanding of harm reduction was that it is a mix of decriminalization and a replacement of criminal sanction with therapeutic sanction.

    I favor a restoration of property rights in regard to all drugs without regard to any positive or negative social outcomes.

  86. Gail makes some great points. Rarely does one ever hear about proper nutrition and lifestyle. Too often, we hear about industrialized nations that are much healthier. How much of that is health care, or could the fact that we have the worst diets and are arguably the least mobile of these nations cause many or our problems?

    Another post mentions smoking. In one of the more ironic twists, the California grocers decided to strike a few years back because of rates being raised- marginally I might add. One of the strikers was pictured taking a break, and smoking. With all due respect, does a logical person still smoke? Let alone believe they shouldn’t get hammered on rates?

    How will the government address the obese? Smokers? The drinkers and pill poppers? This is a country full of people with nutrition, alcohol, and lack of mobility. That clearly translates to health. And the taxpayer is supposed to pick up the nickel? And we trust the feds to come up with creative and logical solutions to solve these challenges?

    I reread Gail’s post. Damn, I couldn’t imagine feeding a kid 80% of what most American put in their stomachs.

    Oh yea, any means testing for this *universal health care*?

  87. One example is given by the states that went from strict control policies on concealed weapon carriage to “shall issue”.

    Obama and Biden will take care of that.

  88. SIV: “I favor a restoration of property rights in regard to all drugs without regard to any positive or negative social outcomes.” I completely agree with you… I hate the whole decriminalization movement. It is still state coercion – and certainly immoral.

  89. Gotta love ya’ll. I am ready for the million man march.I think the working class work to dam hard, and deserve more freedom from proabition, free health care and education. It benefits everyone.

  90. What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like?

    hmmm…free hooch for everyone?

  91. Decriminalize all drugs for Adults 21 and over.

    Provide ‘draconian’ penalties to adults for negligence in regard to children gaining access to their parents stash.

    Offense 1 = civil fine of $1000 + warning
    Offense 2 = 1 year in jail + social services
    Offense 3 = 3 years in jail + lose your kids

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