Meth as a byproduct of prohibition

Good article from Radley Balko: Meth isn’t an argument for drug prohibition. It demonstrates prohibition’s failure.

Meth is often the example prohibitionists pull out when someone points to an example like Portugal. “So you’d legalize meth, too?” But as the Economist piece suggests, meth is a product of prohibition (in this case alcohol, but also restrictions on amphetamines more generally), not an argument in favor it. We have a meth problem because we have drug prohibition. Without it, meth wouldn’t go away, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is today. […]

But let’s get back to that Economist article, and what could work — loosening the restrictions on intoxicants instead of tightening them. Here’s what I suggested in that post from last year, which I think the data suggest is even more clear now than it was then:

Here’s one idea that makes too much sense for anyone to seriously consider: Legalize amphetamines for adults. Divert some of the money currently spent on enforcement toward the treatment of addicts. Save the rest. Watch the black markets dry up, and with them the itinerant crime, toxicity and smuggling. Cold and allergy sufferers get relief. Cops can concentrate on other crimes. Pharmacists can go back to being health-care workers, instead of deputized drug cops.

Everybody wins, save of course for those who can’t bear the prospect of letting adults make their own choices about what they put into their bodies.

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