On Drug Toxicity And Policy

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sleipner, one of our more frequent commenters on Donklephant had this to say on my recent post about drug toxicity

Obviously, direct toxicity is obviously not the only measure of danger for a drug. In addition to that, some drugs have an additional psychological or environmental risk of death or injury, either to the user or to those around them due to behaviors they induce. It would be interesting to see if that sort of data was included in this study.

I’m guessing this chart is probably from the study published recently in the Lancet magazine where Professor David Nutt of Bristol University said that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than several other common party drugs, in particular marijuana and ecstasy.

Though I have no desire to increase regulations on those two substances, given the result of the last prohibition (the Mafia and organized crime), I do believe this study provides ammunition for the effort to decriminalize and regulate the less physically and socially dangerous drugs. We should be using real science and actual data to determine what should and should not be off limits, rather than hysteria and prejudice.

In addition, decriminalization and regulation of certain of the more popular, less dangerous drugs would provide a far safer source for those wishing to partake in such activities, who currently buy from shady dealers with bathtub manufacturies that often produce and sell toxic poisons that are billed as ecstasy or other such drugs. The legal system is currently overwhelmed with meaningless marijuana and ecstasy possession or dealing cases that do nothing but cost society a fortune in legal fees and clog up already overcrowded jails. As a side benefit, we would eliminate the massive and extremely toxic chemical releases these manufacturies often flush into our sewer systems or even directly into local waterways or groundwater.

By removing the profitable mass market drugs such as ecstasy and forcing dealers to sell only the more dangerous drugs, we can concentrate the “war on drugs� to those drugs that really matter and cause far greater societal harm, and starve many of the dealers into a different profession. Thus we would have a far greater chance of success in reducing the negative social consequences of those drugs.

Well said.