Illegal Drugs

If we had a good philosophy about taking risks that we could apply consistently, how would it apply to illegal drugs? Drugs are no different to any other risk taking activity. They are not special. Taking drugs is the same as any other risk that you may face in your life.

Is eating unhealthy food that tastes good a more moral thing to do than take drugs? Why? I don’t think it is. It’s doing something that’s bad for you because you enjoy it. What about taking drugs vs going sky diving? Exactly the same in my opinion. Is marijuana or heroin worse than alcohol? Just because alcohol has been made legal because our politicians enjoy drinking it, does not mean we should be prejudice against those that choose other recreational drugs. What gives us the right to force our ideas onto them?

The problems associated with illegal drugs manifest from them being made illegal. The problems are not inherent with the particular drug. Consuming illegal drugs is no different to any other risky yet enjoyable activity. Everything has risks. Everything is addictive.

Banning drugs and pushing them underground makes them dangerous. Rather than getting a measured dose of exactly what you asked for prepared in a professional commercial lab, you play roulette with something of unknown composition and quality manufactured in a backyard lab. Rather than getting a drug that has been engineered to minimize harm you get whatever comes out of the bathtub. You are not educated on the risks. You are not educated on how to minimize the risks. Power and wealth is handed to criminals and drug cartels which allows organized crime to prosper and more people to suffer. Law enforcement resources are squandered. This effect is not unique to drugs. Drugs are not special in this regard. Ban anything and you’d get the same result. Ban cars and they would no longer be manufactured under strict safety and quality standards. Airbags and ABS wouldn’t exist because that technology is beyond what’s capable when manufacturing a car in a backyard. Wheels would fall of because they haven’t been designed correctly or tested under strict quality control. Training to safely operate the car would not exist without government endorsement. Education on risks and how to mitigate them would similarly not exist. Revenue raising through fines, licenses and registration would not exist. Building and maintaining of safe roads would not occur.

Not only does banning drugs increase the risk and kill people, but it’s inconsistent with other laws. People are treated differently depending on what their preferred risk taking activity is. Alcohol, caffeine, driving a car, sky diving and swimming at the beach are legal but why are certain drugs illegal? Because politicians and “family” associations enjoy the legal drugs, driving a car and swimming at the beach but don’t enjoy illegal drugs? Is that a good way to decide law?

Actually drugs are no different to any other risk taking activity. Whether it be driving a car, eating unhealthy food or playing a physical contact sport. Safety is garnered through education, training, risk assessment processes, safe systems of operation, quality control and safety in design. All these methods of staying safe are lost when an activity is made illegal. Drugs are not special. Risks associated with drugs can be controlled with the same techniques used to control any risk. It is the law that make drugs dangerous.

I’m not expecting Australia to make drugs legal. Not now anyway. It’s too big a step. I’d like to see our nation and its people consider and discuss such an arrangement and develop a philosophy on how to determine the laws on drugs.

See also Smoking Philosophy page

Disclaimer: Drugs are bad. Don’t take drugs.

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