The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

While we're bitching about incompetent government agencies...

We should probably mention that the DEA has this up at their site:

A word about prohibition: lots of you hear the argument that alcohol prohibition failed---so why are drugs still illegal? Prohibition did work. Alcohol consumption was reduced by almost 60% and incidents of liver cirrhosis and deaths from this disease dropped dramatically (Scientific American, 1996, by David Musto). Today, alcohol consumption is over three times greater than during the Prohibition years. Alcohol use is legal, except for kids under 21, and it causes major problems, especially in drunk driving accidents.


That's right. The DEA is still in favor of the prohibition of ALCOHOL!!! Well, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, this time with no booze.

Radley Balko (hat tip, by the way) links to refutations of their ridiculous claims here and here.

Some people are just scared of fun. And they have guns.

4 Comments:

  • Obviously the DEA sees things from a unique perspective considering their goal of limiting drug use.

    Although there are several good arguments as to why the numbers claiming the success of prohibition are not entirely correct, I highly doubt that prohibition did not have a notable effect on alcohol consumption & problems.

    As for drug policy, outlawing drugs is different than outlawing alcohol, which was widely used, accepted, and considered safe prior to prohibition. The outlawing of meth, heroin & other drugs does send a message that they are dangerous and limits the expansion of those who use them. Also it is easier to limit drugs that are harder to produce domestically (cocaine, heroin) than those anyone can produce(alcohol, meth). So for the most part, outlawing drugs is probably very successful in decreasing use & resultant societal problems. The glaring exception in marijuana, for which it seems that prohibition has drastically failed and probably doesn't do any good.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 11:20 AM  

  • "So for the most part, outlawing drugs is probably very successful in decreasing use & resultant societal problems."

    this is the paradigm that society accepts as true. but is it? can i see some hard data to quantify the always scientific term "probably very successful"?

    i'm not saying you're right or wrong, just that the statement is justified solely with anecdotal and conventional "wisdom", which is often wrong.

    By Blogger ethan, at 12:06 PM  

  • Ethan,
    You are correct, my conclusion is not justified based on my arguments. To be more accurate & precise based upon my knowledge I should have stated instead: "So for the most part, drug illegality is distinguishable from alcohol prohibition in what logically seem to be several important factors. Therefore, the failure of prohibition argument is not a convincing argument for the legalization of drugs because there are reasons to beleive that in many instances drug enforcement is more effective than prohibition was."

    I have no hard data, in fact, without a social experiment, no one really has the ability to tell what would happen (perhaps we could compare Amsterdam). I am certainly not closed to the idea that if drugs were legalized the associated problems might not be that much worse or even perhaps better. Marijuana & meth enforcement does not seem to be particularly effective, for instance. Perhaps a safe market alternative to meth would be less problematic than our current situation.
    I am reluctant to embrace such a position, however, because the arguments in support of legalization tend to mainly just poke at holes in the established paradigm without presenting a truly convincing complete picture or simply to use similarly unsupported logic like I have.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 1:27 PM  

  • Upon rereading, my last sentence seems garbled.
    I am reluctant to embrace such a position, however, because the arguments in support of legalization tend to mainly just poke at holes in the established paradigm without presenting a truly convincing complete picture. Also, many legalization arguments use similarly unsupported logic like I have.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 1:29 PM  

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