A. Barton Hinkle on Ending the Drug War and Helping Its Casualties


When it comes to alcohol, most people don't overindulge. Some do. Some of those develop a drinking problem. And when someone with a drinking problem needs help, we provide it. So why not try the same approach with other drugs—starting with marijuana? After all: If prohibition reduced drug consumption, then the U.S. could have declared victory long ago. From 2002 to 2009, national drug-control funding rose 39 percent. Drug arrests exceeded 1 million a year—roughly half of those for pot, of which 9 in 10 busts were for simple possession. Yet the rate of illicit drug use rose—from 8.3 percent to 8.7 percent. Some victory. Maybe, writes A. Barton Hinkle, it's time to stop fighting the war, and start fixing the wounded.