There are two distinct “drug problems.” First — logically, not in importance — is the damage that drug toxicity, intoxication, and addiction can do to people who consume drugs, and lead them to do to other people. That we might call the “drug problem” proper.
. . . illicit markets sometimes generate violence and disorder, and the higher prices they create stimulate income-producing crime by some drug users. The enforcement effort also generates harm: arrest, incarceration, bribery, gunfights between enforcers and dealers. The problem of the illicit market constitutes the second “drug problem.”
. . . Both no-brainer “solutions” to the drug problem –“a drug-free society” and “ending the drug war” — are equally delusional. The two drug problems are both here to stay. Let’s learn to deal with that fact.
From Foreign Policy: