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Christopher Wilson’s Blog Post 11/06

For the most part, the information provided by “Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs” was not a surprise to me, which is not a good thing. When new pieces of striking information cease to surprise us, that is an indicator that the world we live in desperately needs a change. Moreover, I appreciate how this article analyzed prohibition from an economist’s perspective, particularly the section that contrasts what proponents of prohibition think about drug prohibition policies to what happens when those policies are implemented. In short, the conclusion from this section of the article is that legalizing the market for drugs will eliminate monopolies, drug cartels, and the violence most of these entities have a reputation for as less-violent and more eager drug suppliers can legally compete in the market.

After reading “Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs,” something of interest to me is the relationship between public officials in power and individuals involved in the drug market. I acknowledge that people who are negatively affected by whatever drug they consume cannot seek legal recourse in places where drugs are illegal and must mete out justice in their own hands. Most of these people to fall into this trap, I imagine, are low-income persons of color who do not have the wealth and privilege to get even. In response, I am sure that some public officials recreationally use drugs- even when they may be illegal- and their likelihood of either becoming addicted or overdosing is quite high if we consider the stress they endure at their job daily. What recourse would public officials’ families take if they have had a poor experience with a particular type of drug? Of course, they cannot seek legal recourse, nor can they necessarily take justice into their own hands by committing some act of violence against the individual or group in the drug market without risking their family members’ safety. Do they, too, end up in the same boat as low-income persons of color who do not have wealth and privilege to get even? If so, what does this reveal to us about the nature of the drug market?

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  1. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    I think you brought up a good point here. Far too often in American society, we are able to distinguish people based upon race, socioeconomic background, and other characteristics. However, health and wellbeing do not necessarily distinguish between economic levels. I think that it will take a widescale recognition of this principle to make a substantial change in the way the drug system works.

  2. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    You bring up a very interesting question. If a public official or member of a public official’s family has a bad experience with an illegal drug, they may not be able to get legal help, but they have enough wealth to find the proper care in a secretive way that is unavailable to low-income people. I think this is why the health and well-being of “regular” citizens in regards to illegal drug abuse is not well-thought-out by officials that support prohibition. It is impossible for them to put themselves in the shoes of a low-income group that can’t finesse the systems in place.

  3. Pierce Kaliner Pierce Kaliner

    If we were to reform the way that we treat drug users maybe the problems could start to go away. Part of the problem is that we focus on jailing instead of rehabilitation, but every single study shows that rehabilitation works much better than punishment where users will just continue when they are released.

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