Ending the Drug War

The evidence is clear: the best way to a healthier society is to focus on health. This includes our approach to addiction. The American Psychiatric Association states that addiction is a brain disease that can be treated. Portugal, among other countries, has shown us that is true. In terms of practical steps we need to take, at the bare minimum, we first need to decriminalize and legalize marijuana nation-wide and fully pardon everyone who has been convicted of a non-violent drug crime.

Beyond that, we need to create space to listen to the families who have been devastated by those unjust convictions. One version of this platform could potentially come through the government accountability platform I’m building, though all creative solutions are welcome. We have to begin the process of helping those families become whole, and that requires that we listen to them.

The next step from there is to create robust, free rehabilitation and treatment services for anyone and everyone who would like it or needs it. This needs to happen alongside the decriminalization of all illicit drugs.

The last piece of the puzzle is to have the government sell hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. By combining this with on-location access to the aforementioned rehabilitation and social services, we can ensure that addicts can safely obtain and use hard drugs without shame or punishment. This is necessary to maximize the number of addicts who can and will voluntarily seek help — remember, this is a health crisis. If this is difficult for you to envision, try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The goal is to reduce harmful drug use. This is how we achieve that goal. Additionally, a side effect of the government directly selling hard drugs would be the economic destruction of black market drug cartels in America.

All together, the government would reduce spending on incarceration and fighting drug cartels while increasing revenue through taxed sales of drugs and an increase in economic productivity from having a freer and healthier populace. Even without taxing the drugs, which there are arguments for, this approach is a solution to a variety of problems that pays for itself. These systems and structures won't appear overnight, but we have all the knowledge we need to begin this shift.

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