A better way to fight the drug war?

More on the Canadian drug policy debate. Wow!

Since nearly all the violence associated with the drug trade stems from turf wars between syndicates and gangs over who may make or sell drugs in which neighbourhoods, too little of this new money would appear to be earmarked to help police. All of it probably would not be enough to counter the well-armed, highly organized criminal networks that control much of our nation’s drug trade. And since the hundreds of millions already spent by Canadian governments has done little to stem user demand for drugs, the 65% aimed at individuals may well be wasted.

Rather than declare that there are “no safe drugs,” as Health Minister Tony Clement is expected to do when the anti-drug campaign is launched, the government should consider accepting that — for good or bad — drug use is a personal choice. As such, there is little it can do to prevent it. But given that it is a personal choice, society has little obligation to pay for the consequences of misuse. Legalize most drugs, but also declare no welfare for addicts. Let private charities supply relief and health care for those who abuse drugs. That would at least compel some users to confront the economic costs of their choices and might — might — discourage more Canadians from taking drugs than any preachy government advertising campaign or assault on casual drug use.

The does a great job illustrating that we’re not operating from the same set of facts. Emerson summed it up well:

“Most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.”