Thursday, June 08, 2006

Useful idea in The Economist shock

I got a big surprise last weekend when I read The New Labour Apologist, I meant The Economist. In a rare return to classical liberal thinking , it suggested the decriminalisation of cocaine in the USA, as a way of enabling Columbia to deal better with its drug barons by denying them the monopoly money the current illegal status guarantees them (ie making cocaine illegal in the US forces the price up and hence means more money for those criminal gangs who supply the product).

And why not decriminalise drugs. My concern is that the current criminal status is responsible for increasing crime. Decriminalisation would actually reduce crime. Why? Police and Crown Prosecution friends reliably inform me that 90% of crime is drug related, ie criminals commit crimes to fund their addictions, classically in the UK heroin, in the US its more likely to be crack-cocaine.

Typically addicts commit crimes because of their need for a hit and not an enjoyment of law-breaking per se. Hence they steal, rob etc to fund that hit. Criminalisation increases the price of drugs, as you would expect when you limit competition between suppliers by banning everyone reputable. Hence, junkies have to commit more £ of crime to get their fix from the cartel of supplires. Increasing supply avenues, by decrimalising drugs should increase competition, meaning lower priced drugs and hence meaning less £ of crime are needed for that fix.

It should also mean cleaner, better drugs and most importantly of all, it might remove some of the restrictions and stigma that currently deter junkies from seeking the help they need.


At 5:24 PM, Anonymous james said...

In English?

Anyway, I think I understand what you're getting at.

Essentially, it's a return to pre-1971 methods in dealing with drug-related problems (ie, heroin addiction) which is what it sounds like you're endorsing.

I welcome wholeheartedly any attempt at an independent and sensible drugs policy which isn't driven by the US' agenda within the UN. How much has it cost us so far, and to what degree of success?


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