LEAP member and active drug policy reformer James P. Gray (a Superior Court Judge and author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of War On Drugs), has an interesting OpEd.
He’s trying to put together a list of common goals that prohibitionists and reformers should have to show that prohibition is not the solution to achieving these goals. I think they’re pretty good, although I might quibble about the wording here and there (my comments are italicized in brackets).
So, with the understanding that we are all on the same side of this issue, namely we all want to reduce drug abuse and all of the harm and misery that accompanies it, I have made a list of the top 10 goals that I think we are trying to accomplish in this area, in order of importance. See if you agree. They are:
- Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children; [Ah, but it does depend on how you define “children” and “exposure of drugs.” Also, I would think that part of it would be reducing exposure of children to illicit business.]
- Stop or materially reduce the violence that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs, especially to police officers and innocent by-standers;
- Stop or materially reduce the corruption of public officials, individual people and companies, and especially children that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs;
- Stop or materially reduce crime both by people trying to get money to purchase drugs and by those under the influence of drugs;
- Stop or materially reduce the flow of drugs into our country; [ I would add the word “illicit” because we always need to legally import drugs]
- Reduce health risks to people who use drugs;
- Maintain and reaffirm our civil liberties;
- Reduce the number of people we must put into our jails and prisons; [perhaps expand that to include all those caught within the prison industry, including those on probation/parole.]
- Stop or materially reduce the flow of guns out of our country and into countries south of our border; [I think this is a separate, and distracting issue.]
- Increase respect for our laws and institutions.
You might want to replace one of these goals with another, or readjust the order, but I anticipate that most people would basically agree with those top 10 goals. Please give it some thought.
Definitely worth thinking about.