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Jay
Bork! Bork! Bork!
+2,006|4530|London, England
Never let anybody tell you Americans like to get drunk. That is not accurate. The truth is that Americans like to get not just a little giddy, not just mildly intoxicated, but draaauuuwwwwwnk. Loud, slobbery, try-to-sit-down-and-miss-the-couch drunk.

So reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says one in six Americans go on a binge at least once a month. This is 2 percentage points higher than the CDC found the last time. Even so, the new figure is probably a "substantial underestimate," says the head of the CDC's alcohol program, Robert Brewer (!), because people tend to under-report their own misbehavior. (No word on whether the study is weighted to account for those poor sots so hung over they couldn't even pick up the phone.)

Most binge drinkers don't go on a tear just once a month, though — they do it more than four times a month, which probably means every weekend. And most binge drinkers have eight or more drinks per session. Not surprisingly, such intemperance inflicts tremendous social costs: More than $224 billion — $746 per person — per year. That, friends, is even more than the annual cost of smoking.

This is interesting in its own right — but it gets more interesting when you note three other things.

First, the CDC attributes 72 percent of the social cost of heavy drinking to lost workplace productivity. Only 11 percent of the cost comes from alcohol-incurred medical expenses. (Law enforcement and vehicular-crash expenses make up the bulk of the rest.)

Second, many of the arguments for government intervention in Americans' personal lives today rest on similar considerations. The campaign against obesity, for instance, is driven in no small measure by estimates of its aggregate economic toll: Roughly $150 billion a year, according to the CDC. As with boozing, many of the costs are imputed: The CDC counts not only medical expenses directly related to obesity, but also "the value of income lost from decreased productivity, restricted activity, absenteeism, and bed days," as well as "the value of future income lost by premature death."

Similarly, the war on illegal drugs is heavily driven by imputed social costs. The Office of National Drug Control Policy says illegal drug use costs society $181 billion annually. But: "Over two-thirds (71.3 percent) of the costs of drug abuse are attributed to lost productivity." It also notes that $39 billion of that lost productivity results from incarceration, so this "is not a cost of drug abuse but, rather, the costs of current [drug-control] policies."

Actual health costs from drug abuse? Less than 9 percent of the total. The reason you can't buy narcotics over the counter, then, seems to have just as much to do with other people's desire that you maximize your economic output as with their concern for your continued well-being by itself. Put another way, a big chunk of the concern about drug abuse arises not from altruistic paternalism (it's for your own good) but from selfish paternalism (it's for everyone else's).

The third interesting thing is that even though the rationale for both forms of prohibition is essentially the same, and even though the costs of alcohol abuse are higher than those of drug abuse (true, the gap might shrink if drugs were decriminalized), America no longer forbids drinking. We tried that, for 13 years, and it didn't work. It was, in fact, a disaster.

So the country switched from paternalism to altruism, in the genuine sense. We allow people to pursue their own good as they define it — not as someone else defines it for them. Society lets people drink as much as they want, so long as they don't endanger others. Even if that means some of them don't always come out of the chute at 110 miles an hour on Monday morning.

And it works. 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 it's time to stop fighting the war, and start fixing the wounded.
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/rtd- … r-1615895/

I don't do drugs, and I doubt I would do them if they were made legal tomorrow, but I happen to agree with this guy very strongly on the issue. The only people benefiting from the war on drugs are the drug cartels that get to keep their prices high and avoid competition from American growers. Stupid.
"Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don't you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough."
-Frederick Bastiat
Spearhead
Gulf coast redneck hippy
+731|5861|Tampa Bay Florida
Good OP.

Of course, we are forgetting the giant elephant in the room.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Jim_Crow

The "War on Drugs", presented later by the media as the authorities' response to the crack cocaine crisis in black ghettos, was officially announced by the government of Ronald Reagan in 1982. Crack cocaine emerged in inner city neighborhoods beginning in 1985/1986 and the problem was highly publicized by the Reagan administration in order to generate support for the drug war.[6] The extraordinarily successful media campaign made the enormous expansion of the law enforcement anti-crack activities possible. The intensity of the government assault caused many in the black community to believe in conspiracy theories and speculate about genocidal government plans to destroy the black people in the USA. In 1998 the CIA admitted that the faction supported by the US in its covert war in Nicaragua was involved in smuggling illegal drugs into the USA. Efforts to uncover those activities were blocked.[7][8]

The War on Drugs has had a devastating impact on the African American communities, on a scale entirely out of proportion with the actual dimensions of criminal activity taking place within these communities. In less than three decades the US prison population exploded from 300,000 to more than two million (majority of the conviction increase for drug violations),[9] resulting in the world's highest incarceration rate, exceeding the rates of a number of regimes strongly criticized by the US government as highly repressive. It is eight times the incarceration rate in Germany, a comparatively developed large democracy.[10] The USA is unparalleled in the world in concentrating its penal activities on its racial/ethnic minorities. In the capital city of Washington, D.C. three out of four young African American males are expected to serve time in prison.[11] While studies show Americans of different races using illegal drugs quantitatively on a similar scale,[12] in some states black men have been admitted to prisons on drug charges at the rate twenty to fifty times that of white men.[13] The high proportion of African American men with criminal record of some sort (as many as 80% in major cities) are marginalized and a part of the growing permanent undercaste.
Hurricane2k9
Pendulous Sweaty Balls
+1,538|4873|College Park, MD
Yeah, alcohol is probably the most dangerous legal drug in the US. I have yet to hear of a mom and her kids getting t-boned by someone smoking a cig. Or any story about a poor wife getting beaten because hubby smoked one too many joints.
https://static.bf2s.com/files/user/36793/marylandsig.jpg
Jaekus
I'm the matchstick that you'll never lose
+957|4350|Sydney
The only display of violence or aggression I've seen from anyone stoned is that directed towards a pizza or bag of doritos
Hurricane2k9
Pendulous Sweaty Balls
+1,538|4873|College Park, MD
One time I wanted to steal my roommate's tortilla chips and cheese sauce because I was high as a kite, and he knew it, and he wasn't offering them to me. But I just didn't feel like it lol. I ended up making fucking oatmeal
https://static.bf2s.com/files/user/36793/marylandsig.jpg
eleven bravo
Member
+1,399|4431|foggy bottom
legalize it
Tu Stultus Es
eleven bravo
Member
+1,399|4431|foggy bottom

Hurricane2k9 wrote:

Yeah, alcohol is probably the most dangerous legal drug in the US. I have yet to hear of a mom and her kids getting t-boned by someone smoking a cig. Or any story about a poor wife getting beaten because hubby smoked one too many joints.
ill beat you up
Tu Stultus Es
Jaekus
I'm the matchstick that you'll never lose
+957|4350|Sydney

eleven bravo wrote:

legalize it
Cypress Hill will advertise it
eleven bravo
Member
+1,399|4431|foggy bottom
Tu Stultus Es
eleven bravo
Member
+1,399|4431|foggy bottom

Last edited by eleven bravo (2012-01-17 20:21:40)

Tu Stultus Es
-CARNIFEX-[LOC]
Da Blooze
+111|5825

Jay wrote:

I don't do drugs, and I doubt I would do them if they were made legal tomorrow, but I happen to agree with this guy very strongly on the issue. The only people benefiting from the war on drugs are the drug cartels that get to keep their prices high and avoid competition from American growers. Stupid.
(If you drink you're doing a drug...)

There is a sound logic in what the author is saying, and he's far from the first to say it. The costs of attempted prohibition outweigh the benefits, since there seems to be no benefit for anyone other than the cartels and drug enforcement agencies...

(E: there is the loss of manhours on the job, etc., which this article mentions, but as the author points out, we've managed to cope with alcohol in this respect, so why not other substances?)

Rehab is always going to be cheaper than long-term incarceration, and shouldn't forever tarnish someone's future prospects the way that jail time does.

Even people who are completely against drug use are starting to acknowledge how flawed the "war" is...I think we honestly may be approaching the tipping point on this issue, but if the economy pulls a miraculous recovery then I'm sure many will suddenly feel that the money spent locking up dem addicts is well-spent (praise Jesus)...

Last edited by -CARNIFEX-[LOC] (2012-01-17 21:21:45)

https://static.bf2s.com/files/user/12516/Bitch%20Hunter%20Sig.jpg
13urnzz
Banned
+5,830|5669

Jay wrote:

The only people benefiting from the war on drugs are
the American Judicial and Correctional systems?
eleven bravo
Member
+1,399|4431|foggy bottom
pharm co's?
Tu Stultus Es
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,765|5277|eXtreme to the maX
Not buying this spurious argument.

Men are affected by the rape laws vastly dispoprtionately to women, rich white men are vastly disproportionately affected by insider trading laws, muslims probably feel victimised because they aren't allowed to slaughter goats in the street, should we legalise rape, insider trading and open air butchery so people don't get 'victimised' because of their sex, colour, bank balance or religion?

The 'war on drugs' is used to oppress blacks, do black kids tooling around the hood get busted for mj possession disproportionately to white city traders going to work with a briefcase full of coaine? Of course - is that a drug law problem or a problem of the law enforcement system being slanted against blacks?

Legalising currently illegal drugs would have some negative consequences, or you can believe fairy stories, up to you.

Also, why can't stoners ever come up with an argument which hangs together?

Last edited by Dilbert_X (2012-01-18 00:26:02)

Birds Aren't Real
Spearhead
Gulf coast redneck hippy
+731|5861|Tampa Bay Florida

Dilbert_X wrote:

is that a drug law problem or a problem of the law enforcement system being slanted against blacks?
Yeah, we'll just pass a constitutional amendment to make sure overworked cops aren't assholes... and then we'll send thousands of middle class white kids to jail.  I'm sure that would go over well.
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,765|5277|eXtreme to the maX
Keep sending low-class black kids to jail and leave the drug laws as they are then.

How would Fox produce Cops if cops stopped being assholes?
Birds Aren't Real
Spearhead
Gulf coast redneck hippy
+731|5861|Tampa Bay Florida
Cops will never stop being assholes

-God, book of universal truths, 10:4
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,765|5277|eXtreme to the maX
Many are assholes and sign up solely to have a licence to be an asshole.
Birds Aren't Real
Jay
Bork! Bork! Bork!
+2,006|4530|London, England

-CARNIFEX-[LOC] wrote:

Jay wrote:

I don't do drugs, and I doubt I would do them if they were made legal tomorrow, but I happen to agree with this guy very strongly on the issue. The only people benefiting from the war on drugs are the drug cartels that get to keep their prices high and avoid competition from American growers. Stupid.
(If you drink you're doing a drug...)

There is a sound logic in what the author is saying, and he's far from the first to say it. The costs of attempted prohibition outweigh the benefits, since there seems to be no benefit for anyone other than the cartels and drug enforcement agencies...

(E: there is the loss of manhours on the job, etc., which this article mentions, but as the author points out, we've managed to cope with alcohol in this respect, so why not other substances?)

Rehab is always going to be cheaper than long-term incarceration, and shouldn't forever tarnish someone's future prospects the way that jail time does.

Even people who are completely against drug use are starting to acknowledge how flawed the "war" is...I think we honestly may be approaching the tipping point on this issue, but if the economy pulls a miraculous recovery then I'm sure many will suddenly feel that the money spent locking up dem addicts is well-spent (praise Jesus)...
Usually it's some rich white republican asshole making the argument that he doesn't want a penny of his money spent on rehab... except it happens anyway if the guy ends up in jail, and it ends up costing 10x as much
"Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don't you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough."
-Frederick Bastiat
Turquoise
O Canada
+1,596|5577|North Carolina

Dilbert_X wrote:

Not buying this spurious argument.

Men are affected by the rape laws vastly dispoprtionately to women, rich white men are vastly disproportionately affected by insider trading laws, muslims probably feel victimised because they aren't allowed to slaughter goats in the street, should we legalise rape, insider trading and open air butchery so people don't get 'victimised' because of their sex, colour, bank balance or religion?

The 'war on drugs' is used to oppress blacks, do black kids tooling around the hood get busted for mj possession disproportionately to white city traders going to work with a briefcase full of coaine? Of course - is that a drug law problem or a problem of the law enforcement system being slanted against blacks?

Legalising currently illegal drugs would have some negative consequences, or you can believe fairy stories, up to you.

Also, why can't stoners ever come up with an argument which hangs together?
I'd rather not get involved in other people's personal lives, but I know you have an authoritarian streak when it comes to drugs.
Dilbert_X
The X stands for
+1,765|5277|eXtreme to the maX

Turquoise wrote:

I'd rather not get involved in other people's personal lives, but I know you have an authoritarian streak when it comes to drugs.
I don't care what people do, so long as it doesn't affect me - the status quo is recreational drugs are illegal, to change the status quo you need a better argument than the OP.

But well done attacking the person and not the argument.
Birds Aren't Real
Eagle
Togs8896 is my evil alter ego
+567|5803|New Hampshire, USA
Me after smoking:

https://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQsvtZ0yo0lC4Yio0morhAuqBlNh98DQAe7uRViyulW4X2Ybc8BmIUy5gbc
https://static.bf2s.com/files/user/14407/Sig_Pats.jpg
Turquoise
O Canada
+1,596|5577|North Carolina

Dilbert_X wrote:

Turquoise wrote:

I'd rather not get involved in other people's personal lives, but I know you have an authoritarian streak when it comes to drugs.
I don't care what people do, so long as it doesn't affect me - the status quo is recreational drugs are illegal, to change the status quo you need a better argument than the OP.

But well done attacking the person and not the argument.
The simplest and most pertinent argument is that we waste billions every year on the War on Drugs with no real benefit.

How is that not enough of a good argument?
Spearhead
Gulf coast redneck hippy
+731|5861|Tampa Bay Florida
You can decriminalize something without making it legal.

Is that not Britains policy?
Turquoise
O Canada
+1,596|5577|North Carolina

Spearhead wrote:

You can decriminalize something without making it legal.

Is that not Britains policy?
Basically, all drugs in Portugal are decriminalized.  The U.K. decriminalized certain substances, but they still have a War on Drugs of their own.

Portugal is closer to the ideal, and as a result, drug-related crime is very low.  People don't tend to kill each other as much over drugs when possession of them isn't penalized heavily.

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