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Drug Legalization -- Can We Make it Work?

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Presentation on the potential benefits of full legalization of drugs in the United States.

Presentation on the potential benefits of full legalization of drugs in the United States.


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  • 1. Patrick Dieter’s Presentation for AODA Independent Study Class 03/18/2013 Drug Legalization Can We Make It Work?
  • 2. RESEARCH:46 peer-reviewed articles & 8 websites „ Comparison -- 8 years ago vs. now: ‟ THEN: » Most research = Anti-Legalization » Average response = “You’re NUTS!” ‟ NOW: » Most research = Pro-Legalization » only 5 of 46 were Anti-Legalization 2
  • 3. IDEA NOW TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY: „ Government „ Medicine „ Society „ Religion „ Education „ Law enforcement „ Treatment ‟ Harm Reduction Model „ Cannabis is nearly legal 3
  • 4. MAJOR POINTS:„ Most problems due to underground status of drugs ‟ Secrecy = inability to control it effectively„ Criminalization = multi-billion-dollar black market ‟ Profits irresistible to predatory street dealers „ Let’s put them out of business! ‟ Contributes to overall economic inflation 4
  • 5. POTENTIAL BENEFITS:„ REMOVE PROFIT MARGIN ‟ Who would buy on the street, when safe, pure products are available?„ Eradicate Black Market„ Street dealers DONE„ Illicit labs SHUT DOWN 5
  • 6. HEALTH BENEFITS:„ Users Feel Safer ‟ Willing to seek treatment for: „ Medical „ Addiction „ Mental health 6
  • 7. HEALTH BENEFITS:•Reduced diseases ‟Clean needles ‟Sterile drugs ‟Preventable diseases: 7
  • 8. PREVENTABLE DISEASES: „ HIV „ ABSCESS „ AIDS „ MRSA „ HEP C „ TB 8
  • 9. HEALTH BENEFITS:„ Purity regulated by FDA ‟ Street adulterants include: „ Cheaper chemicals ‟ (Replacing “X” with speed) „ Strychnine „ Industrial solvents „ Toxic cutting agents ‟ END of “Bathtub Drugs” 9
  • 10. Bathtub Drugs:„ No profit in “cooking” „ Quaaludes „ Home Meth Labs „ Designer drugs „ “Bath salts” „ “Legal” Marijuana 10
  • 11. HEALTH BENEFITS:„ Dosage regulated by FDA ‟ Will end most accidental OD’s „ No “surprises” in the bag ‟ No “Hot Shots” ‟ Slower tolerance development „ Empowers management of dosage increases 11
  • 12. HEALTH BENEFITS:„ Bringing the market out of the shadows ‟ Greater motivation to practice self-care „ Hygiene „ Health care „ Currently ZERO control of the market „ Market continues to grow exponentially „ Improved control over access by kids 12
  • 13. SOCIAL BENEFITS:„ Drug use loses its “cool” factor ‟ Becomes establishment/govt. approved ‟ No longer seen as rebellious ‟ Loses romantic “antihero” mythos ‟ Rebellion = POWERFUL motivator„ No more “chasing” a fix ‟ Most addicts not normally criminal ‟ Could (and would)work simple jobs 13
  • 14. SOCIAL BENEFITS:„ Reduced stigma ‟ Increased self-esteem ‟ Increased self-awareness ‟ More effective treatment „ NOT shame-based„ Will greatly reduce: ‟ Prostitution „ Kids forced into it ‟ STD’s ‟ Sexual trauma 14
  • 15. SOCIAL BENEFITS:„ VASTLY reduces: ‟ Racially biased enforcement „ Huge racial imbalance in prisons ‟ Generational recidivism „ Prison as a “family value” ‟ Hero worship of dealers „ Glorification of “Gangsta” Culture ‟ Fear of theft or assault ‟ Toxic shame and self loathing „ Shame causes self-destructive behavior 15
  • 16. SOCIAL BENEFITS:Reduced stigma toward social “hot spots”„ Methadone clinics„ Meth Labs„ Halfway houses„ Drug corners 16
  • 17. LEGAL BENEFITS:„ Legal benefits ‟ Reduce profit-motivated crime ‟ Bring down drug prices GREATLY ‟ Decrease crime ‟ Put dealers out of business quickly ‟ Destroy incentive to start kids on drugs 17
  • 18. LEGAL BENEFITS:„ End waste of Police resources„ Dismantle the DEA ‟ Will free billions „ Treatment „ Prevention„ Unclog the courts„ Close many prisons ‟ Massive revenue savings„ Sanity in sentencing ‟ War On Drugs has distorted this 18
  • 19. ECONOMIC BENEFITS:„ Potential for tax revenues„ Interdiction costs gone„ Users can enter the work force„ Black market stops causing inflation„ Reducing petty crime saves money „ For government „ For private citizens „ For social support entities „ For hospitals 19
  • 20. POLITICAL BENEFITS:Improve globalperception of USA: 20
  • 21. POLITICAL BENEFITS:DEFUND terrorism 21
  • 22. POLITICAL BENEFITS: Put cartels out of business 22
  • 23. POLITICAL BENEFITS: Government can attendto more important matters: 23
  • 24. POLITICAL BENEFITS: Restore Constitutional Rights‟ Drugs are a personal choice‟ State NOT qualified to address health problems‟ Punishment destroys lives and doesn’t work. „ We don’t punish diabetics, cancer patients, etc.‟ Addicts must be ready or treatment will do harm 24
  • 25. POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS:Drug czars & DEA dispute benefits of legalization‟ Problems with their claims (as per research): „ Arguments not fact driven „ Hard evidence, statistics ignored/suppressed „ Expert reports ignored & suppressed. „ Articles use defensive, inflammatory language „ Arguments don’t stand up to semantic analysis ‟ Many semantically null or undefined terms used „ Virtually NO peer-reviewed evidence 25
  • 26. POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS:CLAIM: Drug use will increase‟ Evidence from other countries refutes this „ Drugs become anathema to rebellious kids ‟ Drugs no longer romanticized » “normal” is boring » Users are seen clearly as losers ‟ Drug subculture fades » becomes mainstream ‟ Pushers out of business ‟ Stop recruiting new customers (kids) 26
  • 27. POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS: CLAIM: Drug use will increase Evidence from other countries (cont.)„ Addicts dislike IV heroin administered by nurses ‟ They say pharmaceutical heroin doesn’t feel “right”„ Drug abuse is already at epidemic proportions ‟ War On Drugs has consistently failed „ Wasted a trillion dollars over 40 years „ Caused exponential increase in drug abuse „ Drug abuse doubled (at minimum) every year since started 27
  • 28. POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS: CLAIM:Social & family problems will get worse„ Only arguments are emotional appeals ‟ Few facts to back up this assertion„ Problems still happening now, but in secrecy ‟ Currently very difficult to address abuse, neglect „ Legalization would open the door for counseling„ Laws against abuse already in place ‟ Current laws harm children „ Removal from home „ Parent in prison „ Single parent is the norm with adults in prison 28
  • 29. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Making It Work: Treatment modernized (evidence-based) » Free of charge » Strength-based » On-demand » Devoid of allusions to “character flaws”‟ Easily afforded once interdiction funding stops‟ Public will be educated about the disease model „ Use modern advertising & marketing ‟ i.e. anti-smoking campaign‟ Addicts more likely to see treatment as attractive ‟ End forced treatment before the person’s ready 29
  • 30. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Making It Work: Legal Issues ‟ Address offense directly‟ Treat family issues separately » Drug use not necessarily child abuse/neglect » Fact based, rather than hysteria‟ Expand DUI laws to include drugs‟ Still prosecute: » Petty theft » Prostitution » Illicit manufacture of impure drugs (FDA) » May allow homegrown poppies, coca, etc. 30
  • 31. REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS: “MUSTS” TO MAKE IT WORK:„ Legalization must be total ‟ ALL substances„ Government will only regulate purity, dosage„ Government will NOT distribute substances„ Drug manufacturers will be STRICTLY price-controlled„ Dr’s will still advise, but prescriptions unrestricted ‟ Extensive training in addiction required for MD, DO„ Must include free, on-demand treatment ‟ Residential centers will be comfortable and inviting ‟ End harsh interventions » Replaced by strength-based outreach counselors » Counselors onsite at adults-only “drug stores” 31
  • 32. FUTURE TREATMENT CENTER:YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK 32
  • 33. REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS: “MUSTS” TO MAKE IT WORK:„ Legalizing possession = legalizing sales » No such thing as a “miracle stash” ‟ Must include: » ALL aspects of drug market » Growing » Manufacturing » Sales„ NO marketing or advertising allowed » Similar to alcohol/tobacco 33
  • 34. REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS: “MUSTS” TO MAKE IT WORK: „ Manufacturers must: ‟ Be compliant with FDA ‟ Make predictable doses ‟ Assure purity ‟ Not be allowed to advertise » Education/Prevention: » Learn from tobacco/alcohol example » Smoking GREATLY reduced since 1973 » Only media ads are PSA’s » Warnings on packs » Education » Minor local laws only » Bans by private business 34
  • 35. A DAY IN THE LIFEOF A FUTURE DRUG USER: 35
  • 36. FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 201511:00 am ‟ WAKING UP: 36
  • 37. FRIDAY, JUNE 3. 201512:00 PM ‟ OFF TO WORK 37
  • 38. FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2015 12:00 PM ‟ LUNCH 38
  • 39. FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2015 8:00 PMQUITTING TIME 39
  • 40. FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 20158:30 PM ‟ THE DRUGSTORE 40
  • 41. FRIDAY JUNE 3, 20158:00 PM:HOME AT LAST 41