Talk:Drug prohibition/Archive 1

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Archive 1


Here is the original. Argue here.

Arguments for the War on Drugs, in whole or in part

  • A state cannot tolerate or be involved with the distribution of substances the use of which is considered immoral by relevant lots of the population.
    • A free society avoids the "Tyranny of the Majority". A state that attempts to criminalize victimless behaviors is authoritarian and not free.
  • Recreational use of certain drugs is unhealthy and dangerous for the user's body. Therefore, it cannot be produced or distributed with the help of the state, because the goal of the state is to protect citizens' health and not to expose them to risk.
    • Nearly any activity, from driving a car to cleaning the house, can be dangerous. The legalization of drugs can aid in the minimization of the dangers of drug use (see harm reduction). It is worth noting that the effects of marijuana on the mind (included "amotivational syndrome") and body are minimal to nonexistent, especially when compared with other, legal activities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
    • It is not worthwhile for a law to forbid persons from willingly exposing their own bodies to harm by using drugs, any more than by overeating, bungee-jumping, getting tattoos, or volunteering to work in leprosaria. Obesity is a national epidemic, killing millions every year, but the government has no right to regulate how much citizens eat.
      • The use of some drugs (perhaps only alcohol and tobacco) may be significantly more dangerous than most of these activities.
  • Drugs are addictive 1. Hence, they rob the user of free will in the same sense that slavery does. A drug user can not make an informed and rational decision to continue using drugs because the use of the drug eliminates that user's ability to think logically.
    • Drug users exercised free will when they chose to use drugs; a person has the right to give up his or her own freedom.
    • No drug exists which eliminates free will. It is possible to quit using any drug.
    • Many banned drugs are not addictive, or are significantly less deleterious to free will than legal alcohol or tobacco. Severe physiological addiction has been demonstrated for tobacco (stronger than cocaine), but no strong physiological addiction has been shown for marijuana 1.
  • If currently illegal drugs were legalized, dealers would invent new, more dangerous and addictive drugs in order to maintain their profit flow.
    • Any drug with a market can be legalized for personal use and distributed through lawful channels. This may occur a few times, but dealers will quickly learn that they can only waste time and money inventing something that lawful businesses will sell at cheaper prices.
  • Drug use is dangerous to persons besides the user, in the rise of health care costs, violence associated with the use of drugs (1), neglect of children by drug-addicted parents, and other third party effects. Drugs should remain illegal to minimize these effects of drug use.
    • Drug legalization would reduce health care costs overall by reducing the probability of overdoses and accidental ingestion of an unintended drug through standardization of drug purity by state-sponsored production and/or regulation of sale. In addition, there is no evidence of prohibition significantly reducing the use of drugs 1, 2; so legalizing them would not raise health care costs significantly.
    • The violence associated with the use of drugs would be greatly decreased if the price was lower, as would certainly happen upon legalization. Most drug-related crime is caused by users attempting to find funding to buy drugs at artificially inflated prices (caused by prohibition raising the risk and cost of creation, transport and sale of drugs). 1
    • There is no clear and obvious third party harm. All examples of such are caused by related activities that can be illegal without blanket prohibition. For example, driving while intoxicated is illegal, while drinking alcohol without driving is not. The harm caused to children by their parents' excessive drug use is criminal insofar as it constitutes child abuse through neglect; drug-specific laws are unneeded. By this logic, alcohol, TV, video games, shopping, cleaning, sex, reading and writing, and virtually any hobby or occupation should be prohibited as some parents may neglect their children in order to focus on having sex, running a business, or building model trains.
  • If drugs were legalized, the companies that manufacture and market them would be sued, as Big Tobacco has been sued in the United States.
    • Big Tobacco was sued because the companies involved lied and misrepresented the facts in order to present their product as safe when they knew it was not. It does not have to be this way. Legalization of drugs does not mean that there will be national marketing campaigns encouraging heroin use, as some critics have claimed. Marketing illegal drugs can be totally prohibited, or regulated in varying degrees while not decreasing availability for those who desire to use the drugs.
  • The use of soft drugs, such as marijuana, leads to the use of hard drugs (the Gateway Theory).
    • No peer-reviewed scientific study has ever concluded this; many have concluded that the Gateway Theory is clearly untrue, and some have even concluded that marijuana use helps prevent the use of other drugs. 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Drug use negatively impacts the economy in the form of users missing work and doing shoddy work.
    • The War on Drugs has not been shown to reduce drug use 1, 2. Hence, legalization would have no effect on this.
    • If a worker does shoddy work, (s)he can be fired.
  • If currently illegal drugs are legalized, the Food and Drug Administration will have to be shut down, meaning that all health and safety restrictions on foods and drugs will be eliminated. Massive epidemics of diseases, overdoses and accidental drug interactions will occur. 1
    • This is a meaningless scare tactic with no basis in reality. Legalization does not mean a lack of regulation. Cigarettes come with warnings. Alcoholic beverages are clearly marked with the amount of alcohol. Currently, legal drugs contain a listing of all active and inactive ingredients. Illegal drugs could only be sold legally with ingredients lists, warnings, and purity levels clearly marked. There is no legal or moral reason the Food and Drug Administration would have to be shut down.
    • The FDA would indeed play an important role in the regulation of recreational substances. The government's sole role in protecting the citizenry is to educate and warn. The FDA would ensure purity, dose size, and provide for accurate labeling, indications, and warnings where appropriate.

Arguments against the War on Drugs, in whole or in part

  • If the goal of a state is to protect citizens' health and well-being, drugs should be legalized so that their purity can be monitored (see harm reduction). The health of citizens is not best served by prohibiting drugs; this only increases risk and harm, and reduces health and well-being.
  • Drug use is a victimless crime and hence, should be legal.
    • Drug use has no single individual victim besides the drug user himself, but places the burden of caring for and dealing with junkies on the rest of society. Essentially, the entire society is the victim of drug use in the same way that insider trading, another victimless crime, negatively affects every trader in the market.
      • Insider trading is not victimless as unwary investors are harmed, but personal recreational substances use, in and of itself, is victimless as no one is harmed.
    • The victim of drug use is the drug user himself, who needs to be removed from the opportunity of taking drugs. A person who has no contact with drugs likely has a better life than a person who is given the opportunity to use drugs.
      • Such an assumption is absolutely false. The vast majority of recreational substance users lead healthy well adjusted lives. In many cases moderate recreational substance use helps and enriches the lives of users.
    • Victimless crimes should be illegal if they are immoral. Drug use is immoral. Hence, drug use should be illegal.
      • That drug use is immoral can only be based off one set of moral beliefs. For example, it is discriminatory to claim that Judeo-Christian abstinence from intoxication is the correct set of moral beliefs, whereas Native American historic and religious use of peyote 1, 2 and psilocybin 1, is not the correct set of moral beliefs.
  • Drug use is a victimless crime and hence, is unenforceable: without a victim to report the occurrence of a crime, law enforcement personnel can not know of every individual instance of the performance of a crime; they are not able to convict the perpetrators of the crimes that they do not know occurred. Therefore, drug use should be legal so that the deleterious effects can be minimized (see harm reduction). 1
    • The fact that the laws can not be fully enforced does not negate the usefulness of such laws. Laws against murder, rape and other crimes will probably never reach a 100% conviction rate either. The War on Drugs has substantially reduced drug use 1, 2 and legalizing drugs would increase drug use 1.
      • Legalizing murder, rape or other crimes would not enable society to minimize the deleterious effects in other ways. This is not true with drug use (see harm reduction).
      • It is not true that the War on Drugs has substantially reduced drug use or availability 1, 2, 3.
    • It is possible to create a drug free society.
      • There are no examples of cultures that included the use of intoxicants and then successfully eliminated the use thereof. There is no indication of a drug free society being possible in the future.
  • The War on Drugs increases the profit margin in the sale of drugs 1, hence, legalization will decrease organized and disorganized crime 1.
  • The use of recreational drugs has no clear and obvious harmful effect on anyone besides the user (who chooses to accept those risks). The War on Drugs, on the other hand, places non-users' friends and loved ones in jail 1. Hence, the War on Drugs does have clear and obvious harmful effects on third parties.
    • Drug use has harmful effects on third party individuals 1, such as babies born addicted to drugs 1, or traffic accidents caused by intoxication 1, 2.
      • These are all caused by actions other than the ingestion of drugs, such as the use of drugs while pregnant or driving. One can, and usually does, use drugs when neither pregnant nor driving. It is worth noting that the use of cocaine has not been definitively linked to birth defects or mental retardation, but the use of nicotine has 1 as has the use of alcohol. Marijuana has also not been definitively linked to birth defects or mental retardation 1, nor to substantially increased risks of traffic accidents 1, 2.
  • Other countries which have experimented with varying degrees of legalization have had positive results 1.
    • No, they have not.1
      • Yes, they have. Nations with legalization have reduced crime and reduced addiction problems 1,2
      • In Amsterdam they have half the percentage of cannabis users, despite it's legal status 1
  • The War on Drugs is hypocritical because only certain drugs are targeted. Other drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are legal (in most parts of the world), yet cause many more problems than currently illegal drugs. Even aspirin is, in many ways, more dangerous than currently illegal drugs. (See here or here for death statistics and here or here for addiction statistics)
    • The legalization of one drug does not mean that all drugs should be legalized.
    • Alcohol 1, caffeine 1 and tobacco 1, 2 use have been accepted parts of social interaction for centuries, while currently illegal drugs have not.
      • This is is simply not true. Cannabis has been socially accepted in many places for millennia 1, 2, 3, 4. Hallucinogens, such as peyote 1, 2 and psilocybin 1, 2, have been part of religious ceremonies in the Americas and elsewhere for thousands of years. Coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived) are still chewed by South American natives with no apparent physiological or psychological addiction or other deleterious effects 1, 2. Opium has also been used for at least two thousand years 1. Cannabis, peyote, psilocybin and coca have probably been used longer than alcohol, as they can be easily harvested and immediately ingested; alcohol requires some knowledge of fermentation, time and patience. The only drugs which do not have a long history of use were only recently invented, such as amphetamines, LSD and Ecstacy. There are, however, natural drugs similar to these (such as LSA, MDA) which have been used for a long time.
    • Aspirin (and other currently legal drugs) can have positive effects, hence the dangers are warranted.
      • Drugs such as marijuana (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and counterpoint: 1, 2), LSD and other hallucinogens 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, heroin (counterpoint: 1) and Ecstacy 1 may also have positive effects if used under certain circumstances. That this is true is not currently known for certain, primarily because drug prohibition has hindered research on the subject 1.
  • The prohibition against drug use has boosted black market research on finding new, more powerful drugs that can be transported easier and more safely than existing ones. Because they are more powerful, a smaller amount can be profitable, as well as more dangerous and addictive than older drugs. Hence, drug prohibition has fueled the refinement of heroin (from much less addictive precursors) and the invention of crack cocaine (a cheaper, more addictive and more dangerous derivative of cocaine).
    • A large corporation could do this much more effectively if recreational drugs were legalized.
      • A governmental agency (instead of private business) could manufacture and sell drugs, with a strict prohibition against developing new ones.
      • If a corporation did so, it could be required to prove relative safety and clearly mark all packages with danger warnings. It is much easier to force a few corporations to responsibly develop and market drugs than a vast, underground system of individual drug dealers who have no reason not to maximize profits at all costs, as there is no legal method of developing recreational drugs.
  • The War on Drugs leads to police corruption, by injecting huge profits into the black market. This inevitably leads to bribery 1, 2.
    • We should hire more moral police officers.
      • The huge profits of the illegal drug market make this impossible. With so much money, drug traffickers and dealers will always be able to bribe some police officers. Often, the bribery extends beyond circumventing drug laws but also to related activities, including murder. The profits to be raised by a police officer selling drugs found in others' possessions (and confiscated without making an arrest or official report) and/or accepting bribes makes the position attractive to some people. In effect, the War on Drugs does and always will attract corrupt people to the ranks of law enforcement agencies.
  • Drug dealers will sell to anyone, including children. Merchants who legally sell alcohol and tobacco are not allowed to sell to children. Many high school students report that it is easier to obtain blanket illegal drugs than alcohol and tobacco. Hence, legalizing drugs will help keep more dangerous and addictive drugs from minors, for whom the deleterious effects are greater 1.
    • Legalizing drugs will send a message to children that drug use is acceptable.
      • This is no more true than saying that the legal status of weapons sends a message to children that murder is acceptable.
        • This comparison is faulty because murder is illegal regardless of the legal status of gun ownership. Gun ownership and murder are two separate legal issues, drug use is currently not.
      • Parents are currently expected to explain the dangers of using legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as frequently abused legal drugs, such as Oxycontin, Valium, and morphine. If they can do so with these drugs, they can do so with marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.
  • The War on Drugs disproportionately affects the poor and members of racial and ethnic minorities (in the United States). 1, 2, 3
    • This does not change the reasoning behind the laws. Drug laws should be enforced more fairly.
      • This may not be possible. The War on Drugs was founded on racism in the United States. Opium (a heroin precursor) prohibition began to target Chinese immigrants. Cocaine prohibition began to target African-Americans. Marijuana prohibition began to target Mexican immigrants. LSD prohibition began to target black and white leftist activists.
  • The War on Drugs has led to a decrease in civil liberties. Previously illegal searches and seizures, confiscations, wiretaps, and other police actions have been legitimized out of a desire to use them against drug smugglers or dealers. 1, 2, 3, 4)
    • This is true, but is worth it for the benefit of the health and safety of non-drug-abusing members of society.
      • The curtailment of civil liberties does not make anyone healthier or more safe. Unfair police tactics currently used against drug dealers, traffickers, and users could be easily used against people of political, religious, or ethnic minorities.
  • The United States, where drug laws are strictly enforced, has high rates of drug use as well as an astronomical number of its own citizens in jail. 1, 2
    • This is because the War on Drugs is working. These people have committed crimes and harmed our polity with their actions, and thus belong in jail.
      • No, the war on drugs is not working. Despite the annual arrest of over 1.5 million Americans, and the highest per-capita prison population of any nation in the world, drug use has increased, black market crime has flourished, and completely innocent Americans have been killed by police action. 1,2,3
      • Any definition of a policy "working" which involves rendering such a large proportion of our citizenry into prisoners and ex-convicts (many of whom lose the right to vote) is incompatible with democracy.
  • The War on Drugs has led to morally questionable activities by the government (in the United States). For example, governmental agencies use taxpayer funds to build support for the War on Drugs. See here for an example of taxpayer funds supporting the creation of a website about a taxpayer-funded conference on how to drum up support for continued prohibition and to successfully argue against legalization proponents, many of whom involuntarily paid for the website and conference. This would not be accepted if the federal government were using public funds to pay for pro-life commercials or advertisements for Republican candidates, and should not be acceptable for any issue. For another example of dubious morality, see here for an explanation of public funding being secretly paid to TV corporations in exchange for the placement of anti-drug messages on certain television shows. Secretive propaganda is always morally wrong and duplicitous.
  • The current blanket prohibition of both hard and soft drugs (compare ultra-addictive and dangerous heroin to relatively benign marijuana) lumps both in the same category in the minds of impressionable children. Drug dealers stand to make greater profit off hard drugs, and so will attempt to convince users to switch from soft to hard drugs. Separating the markets through legalization will prevent this. See this to compare the numbers between the Netherlands (where the hard and soft drugs markets are separated) to the United States (where they are not).
  • Drug legalization will enable users to be certain that they are receiving the correct drug. Currently, drugs are often laced with adulterants for various reasons (to aid in trafficking, to increase the effects, etc). Often, these adulterants are the cause of the primary dangers of use of the drug (as, for example, with Ecstacy). In addition, drug users can not know the purity of such drugs as heroin or cocaine; often overdoses are a result of underestimating the purity. These dangers would be eliminated if drugs were legalized and packages purchased were clearly marked with the purity of the ingredients, as well as a complete list of which ingredients were present.
    • The dangers of drug use are well-known. If a user chooses to partake in a risky activity and dies, it is the user's fault.
      • Willful neglect of the safety of drug users does not convince legalization proponents that the neglective party have their best interests in mind.
  • The Drug War began for racist reasons, such as the mythical use of cocaine as an incitement to the rape of white women by black men, seduction of white women by Chinese opium-smokers and violent behavior by Mexicans.
    • This does not effect the morality of today's laws. Laws that were passed for morally suspect reasons may be well-intentioned for other reasons.
      • Racism is still present in the drug war. A disproportionate number of people convicted for drug trafficking are of a racial minority. Juries and police are more likely to let white drug traffickers off the hook than minority drug traffickers. Only legalization can stop racism in the judiciary.
  • Hemp has environmental uses such as in the production of paper, which would decrease the rate that trees are being cut down. Marijuana criminalization has lead the government to prohibit its use even for this. Drug legalization would prevent any government excuse to ban hemp in the production of paper. The drug war primarily helps the synthetic-fibre, wood pulp, petrochemical, and pharmochemical industries. 1
    • The drug war primarily helps victims of drug abuse, not corporations of any kind. There is no known use for hemp that can not be achieved without other policies, and the legal growing of hemp will make it more difficult for law enforcement to enforce the laws.

Oops, the anonymous user that added the summary of arguments and responses was Tokerboy. I'm using a library computer and forgot to log in.

I'm going to try to find sources tonight or tomorrow. Should I find sources for the existence of these claims, or just for the justification for these claims. For example, do I need to prove that people in favor of the War on Drugs make a claim? Or only for the justification behind those claims? Tokerboy 00:42 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

--- Deleted the below because I don't know what the point is, and I've seen a great many conflicting numbers on the percentage of drug users in various years. It all depends on how you count.

The initial Federal anti-drug budget was around $150 million a year, by 2000 this had risen to $17.7 billion. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse showed that the use of illicit drugs in the US in 1970 was 14% of the population aged over twelve (used in the last month). In 1998 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated that 6.2% of the population used illicit drugs.

I moved up the "Arguments for" section -- not to give it an advantage, but simply because it's easier for the reader if an article about a movement or a position begins with support and follows that with criticism. Anyway, critics are getting the last word -- which is sort of an advantage. --Ed Poor

I was considering doing the same for a different reason from Ed. The burden of proof that an activity should be illegal rests on the proponents of prohibition, so their's should be the first presented. Tokerboy 20:06 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

"War on drugs" regards many countries, and not only the United States. The expression has in fact an exact correspondant - precisely equivalent - in many languages. Many of the arguments, as you can imagine, are used the same way across the continents for the same purposes. So, the common elements had to become part of a general article, as we usually do, and particulars moved to detailed sections or articles. Thank you for your comments --Gianfranco

Hey, many thanks on your assistance with the War on Drugs. I just finished revising, cleaning up the English and making some other changes. Feel free to check it out. I had one question:

  • The proposed scheme would be terrificly dangerous because this would bring trafficants to engage into a chemical challenge (newer drugs are mostly made by synthesis) with the state, in order to create new clandestine products for new markets. Eventual new products could be even more lethal than current ones, so to gain consumers' interest. In alternative, trafficants could be forced to invest in other illegal activities, with all the power of their really huge capitals.

This was cited as an argument in favor of prohibition. If I read it correctly, it is saying that, if drugs were legalized, people who currently sell illegal drugs would invent new (presumably legal, since the War on Drugs has been cancelled in this hypothesis) drugs that excite the public's interest by killing large numbers of users using the (virtually nonexistent) profits they make from selling then-legal drugs at inflated prices, with the (also nonexistent) leftovers used to fund other illegal activities. I'm not at all saying it is impossible for someone to make such an argument, but I've never heard of it and it doesn't make much sense. If people really do argue this, please give me more details so I can reword it more clearly. Thanks a lot for your help, Tokerboy 06:13 Nov 5, 2002 (UTC)

I'll try: those who sustain this position presume that if drugs were legalized, trafficants would invent new products still for the illegal market. Trafficants, basicly, once again would produce substances that would be illegal under the new rules. This because they could find an insterest only in a clandestine market (in which prices can be relevant and beyond any public control due to said clandestinity) and because legalization would presumably make it legal to use some substances, but not all (a general deregulation is impossibile, or we could see - let's say - arsenic sold freely).
In this case, trafficants would invent new illegal substances just as illegal goods, and the consumers' interest would be caught by the clandestine aspect, the famous thrill of making something of illegal (that translated into a well known drugs consumer's mentality could mean: they banned it because it's so good to me that the state doesn't want me to enjoy anything good in life, state is afraid of it, state is afraid of me, so I'll use it - and so on), not only by their eventual lethality (which would also be a foreseeable accessory consequence of such a kind of research by trafficants, but not a principal goal of theirs).
The point of illegality - that position would stress - would be then only moved from currently banned substances to hypothetical new ones. Details would change, but the essential scheme would remain the same as now it is.
Someone said that ecstacy was invented as a response to practical aspects of the war on drugs: as a chemical synthesis product, it could have been entirely produced everywhere without needing to physically move huge quantities of banned basic substances (i.e. heroin) with relevant risks of being discovered during the travel, now that polices have set up a good international control activity. So, this would show that trafficants would develop their activities toward new illegal products, they wouldn't stop in front of difficulties. The increased difficulty of importing heroin was overtook by producing "on site" new substances.
Should the state directly produce and sell ecstacy (it would sell it at perhaps 3% of its current average clandestine price), they would invent something else that could be sold at inflated prices, something of illegal of course. They wouldn't sell any more ecstacy, by which they would now gain very little.
The further point is that eventual new substances could be probably more dangerous than current ones because of illegal research would only consider profit goals, so cheap chemical elements would be used, with no attention for consequences on consumers.
About "investments", in case trafficants were really forced to "retire" - it is said - they would invest what they earned with their traffics in other criminal activities, so prostitution, as well as robbery or kidnapping "industries" (just to mention the first ones that come to mind) could be better organized, could be backed by a wealthier thus more dangerous apparatus. Former trafficans would not be now dealing with drugs, but other criminal fields could become more dangerous for the state.
I hope I was able to explain it a little. The argument is not so uncommon here, and its essential point is often taken into serious consideration.
About your revision, I would have kept (of course, with your kind help) some points about a generic description of "why" there is a war on drugs: this obviously implies to describe the position of some of the parties of this war, thus the neutrality of our description should be protected by a serious "scientific" approach. This because an article should always provide the reasons for a fact. After this, there is of course the space to more widely describe the different positions. I believe that, for the goal of this artcile, we are not pro drugs, we are not against them. We only describe what we can see and quote what the related theories say.
In this sense, the concept of the ethical state that like a figured father tells you what to do and what not, is one of the basic elements of the discussion, given that the personality of the state is deeply involved in such decisions, and this deals with phylosophy, religion, politics and first of all political science. States that believe to have an ethical scope, do have a certain position. States which have no ethical scope (like those states in which the government is - or is pretended to be - pure technical administration) have another one.
We should render this, in order to explain why it is possible that the government bothers with what could even seem, at first sight, private facts of free citizens (this is not a comment, :-). States with no ethical purposes, in fact, should take into account only the criminal troubles that drugs always bring with them, a real collective problem, and only in this vision they make laws on the matter. Which states do effectively have an ethical position? (this is a very hard question...)
Another point: we should compare how the different drugs are fought (if fought) in different systems. The medical description of the "drug" (in this sense), as a dangerous substance (depending on use), is necessary to understand that there is a difference in how tobacco (dangerous and causing dependence) is fought, from how heroin (dangerous and causing dependence is fought, even inside the same national territory. And there resists a distinction betwwen the war on drugs fought on the consumers' side and the war on drugs fought on the producers' side. Looking at different substances, these diversities are perhaps even more evident.
My note about wine and sommelliers was instead trying to draft another concept, but it was perhaps too confused: depending on the local culture, the same substances might be object of study, socially accepted interest and entertainment, while in other places they are completely banned. The relativity of prohibitions is therefore another argument to possibly enlarge.
Bilateral treaties are, IMHO, the most frequent form of international cooperation, given that a true international police is still going to be enrolled. This causes that usually the war is fought with regional of bilateral actions, at the most. I would re-include this.
I'm just sorry that you said that my additions needed to be NPOVed. I'm for certain a wine-lover (in a limited measure, though) and I really smoke a lot. But there ends my personal bias on the topic. This time, I hope that my English was very bad :-))) --Gianfranco
Sorry, I took so long to add all that; I actually did it once a few weeks ago, but then my browser crashed and I lost. It's taken me awhile to work up the will to do it again. Tokerboy 01:10 Dec 8, 2002 (UTC)

I removed:

See also: perverse incentives

External links:

Because my stupid computer wouldn't let me add any more to the bottom of the article. Would somebody please put it back? Tokerboy 01:10 Dec 8, 2002 (UTC)

Be concise

I removed the following:

A drug is a chemical which has an effect on the human body. Drugs which are deemed socially, religiously, medically or politically unfit for recreational use are frequently banned.

If you want to define drugs, do it at drug, not here. Readers are free to click on that article to find out what it means. --Jiang 04:57, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Anon user- you might try to use the {{msg:inuse}} tag if youre doing a major rewrite. -戴&#30505sv 05:22, 30 Jan 2004 (UTC)


I removed

George Washington grew Hemp on his farm and used it. Should we have put our first president in prison?

which had apparently replaced this one, which is no better.

*Many people who have done great things have taken drugs in the past. Sigmund Freud used cocaine. George Washington grew Hemp on his farm and used it. Had we had anti-drug laws back then we could've put them in prison. America might still be British Colonies and psychology still be a poorly developed and poorly understood subject. Now, that we have anti-drug laws we may be adversely affecting the future. What if the partying college student who's caught with an illegal drug and sentenced to a mandatory minimum would've done something good (ex: cured cancer), but due to his lengthy sentence and denial of college scholarships he never gets to it (resulting in millions of people who would've survived due to the cure dying.)

My reasoning is that the first gives no reason to oppose the drug war (just a silly rhetorical question), and attempts to construct a strawman argument by implying that supporters want Washington to have been arrested (no one argues that Washington should have been arrested... such an argument would have no merit, since hemp was not illegal). The second paragraph gives quite possibly the most absurd argument against the drug war I've ever heard (and for the record, I am staunchly opposed to the drug war)... Might as well exterminate butterflies to prevent hurricanes in Japan... Maybe the college student would have died in a car accident the day after he didn't get arrested... on the other hand, he could write the Great American Novel in prison... in addition, going to prison could force him to come to grips with his latent homosexuality, as well as find his one true love... or, were he not arrested, he might drop out of college and wind up panhandling for change at traffic lights, or decide he always really wanted to be a ballerina... he could get addicted to heroin in prison, or he could get addicted to heroin in medical school... He could even study medical books in prison and make some marvelous observation that leads to a fundamental reworking of human physiology, eventually enabling a cure for cancer... Who cares? Tuf-Kat 06:17, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

There are several problems with some of the arguments here

A state cannot be involved with the distribution of substances the use of which is considered immoral by relevant lots of the population. A substance which is fought because it is unhealthy cannot be produced and distributed with the help of the state, because the goal of the state is to protect citizens' health and not to expose them to risk.
Drug legalization would reduce health care costs overall by reducing the probability of overdoses and accidental ingestion of an unintended drug through standardization of drug purity by state-sponsored production and sale. In addition, there is no evidence of prohibition significantly reducing the use of drugs 1, 2; so legalizing them would not raise health care costs significantly.

Why is state-sponsored production brought up; just because it is legalwould not mean it is paid for with taxes.

Made various minor changes to remove the implication that state control is the only option with legalization (the same arguments essentially apply to regulation of sale by corporations). Tuf-Kat 04:48, Mar 12, 2004 (UTC)
Drug use is dangerous to persons besides the user, in the rise of health care costs, violence associated with the use of drugs (1, 2), neglect of children by drug-addicted parents, and other third party effects. Drugs should remain illegal to minimize these effects of drug use.

link 1 is broken, and link 2 cites a study that states 15.4% of inmates tested positive for illegal drugs, which really isnt significant if you consider that roughly 25% are in there for violating drug laws

Link one removed. Link two purports to prove that drug legalization would cause an increase in crime -- that is why it is cited. The arguments drug warriors use don't have to make sense in order to be included in the Wikipedia, because our place is not to decide what does or does not make sense, but rather to document what others believe is true. If you would rather augment it with a better link that attempts to make the same claim, go ahead. Tuf-Kat 04:39, Mar 12, 2004 (UTC)

JeffBobFrank 00:28, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

More removal

I removed this argument:

People will use drugs and burden society regardless of the law. It simply isn't working. The government should enforce strict advertisement laws on all drugs, including tobacco and alcohol and in school teaching drug management to prevent it from becoming addiction as not being as good as abstinence, but being better and safer than unmanaged drug use(which leads to addiction) then few people would use drugs or if they did it'd be occassional, since they wouldn't want to become addicted. This solution would cost society a lot less in total monetary expenses than the amount of money it takes to police drugs now.

Because it doesn't make any sense. The next one is slightly more coherent, but still needs a citation (what proof is there that they are "likely" to be angry and begin using drugs). The last part is entirely ignorant of the other's side's position -- obviously, many people think drug users' lives would be better drug-free no matter the circumstances of that life, and/or that their freedom is of secondary important to the safety of society, which they feel would be negatively impacted with drug users about.

When people go to jail for drugs they are likely to be angry and begin using drugs when they get out and putting them in prison for life in order to prevent them from using drugs would make no sense either since life would obviously be worse than if they were free and using drugs.

I also removed:

We could say that the War on Drugs is working if the number of users is decreasing. We cannot say the War on Drugs is working because the jails are full of drug users. That's irrelevant.

I repeats, less neutrally, the previous argument (which claims that filling jails with citizens is proof enough of any law being incompatible with democracy) as well as a whole separate argument which has already been given about whether or not the War on Drugs is decreasing drug use.

And lastly, I re-removed George Washington grew Hemp on his farm and used it. Should we have put our first president in prison?. For the reasons, see above. Tuf-Kat 01:02, Apr 4, 2004 (UTC)

Talk Page

Please do not carry on arguments on the main page. That's what the talk page is for. Please put arguments for/against this war in the appropriate section and try to agree on some wording. Remember that all you have to do is record what people think about this, not decide whether or not drugs are a good thing. As a start I have arbitrarily removed all the 'replies' from the reasons for/against. DJ Clayworth 16:51, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Almost the whole section you removed was written entirely by me and was not an argument occurring in the article space. Arguments for/against this war were in the appropriate section, and did not draw any conclusions about whether or not drugs are a good thing. In any case, you apparently feel that you have a better plan to organize the information here and have started by removing the replies -- what is your plan? Tuf-Kat 17:58, Apr 5, 2004 (UTC)
My suggestion is that we write rational, balanced paragraphs giving the pros and cons of the war on drugs. If it's impossible to agree a wording then write two sections, one giving pro reasons one anti, but both NPOV. In the last report write what each side thinks, and each admit that that is what the other side thinks, no matter how irrational or mistaken you think they are. I'm sorry if some of the lines I removed more lines than you would like, but many of them started with things like "No it isn't". DJ Clayworth 20:41, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I fail to see how a paragraph that says "supporters believe X" but "critics believe y" will be more simple or neutral than using indentation. Neither method changes the information given, but indenting it makes it clear at a glance who believes what.
Many of the arguments do begin with "no, it isn't". That will not substantially change in paragraph form, unless prefixed by some vague "critics claim that", which many Wikipedians will no doubt claim is not neutral and wishy-washy. The reason they begin with "No, it isn't" is because the arguments for and against the drug war concern both factuality and morality. People actually do argue whether legalizing drugs will increase or decrease violent crime, and they respond to their opponents' arguments by saying "No, it isn't".
The below is how I see paragraphs looking under your proposal -- confusing, contradictory and inherently biased (note: I didn't bother moving the external links into the paragraph -- it probably wouldn't change the neutrality or clarity, and they might wind up being removed anyway because external links are generally considered bad form in ordinary text). Tuf-Kat 04:56, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)
Many critics of the drug war claim that it is hypocritical because only certain drugs, even relatively harmless ones like cannabis, are prohibited while dangerous alcohol and tobacco products are generally tolerated; critics often point to aspirin, legally and cheaply available to anyone across much of the globe, which is responsible for more deaths than prohibited cannabis. In contrast, supporters of the drug war point out that not all drugs need be legalized because some are, and that legal recreational drugs like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine have been used for millennia and are an accepted part of human culture, while their opponents claim that drugs like psilocybin mushrooms and peyote have been part of Native American cultures since our recorded knowledge of them; cannabis has been used for centuries; coca leaves, from which cocaine is derived, have been part of South American culture since recorded history; and opium has been in use for at least two thousand years. Indeed, critics of the drug war often claim, drugs like psilocybin and cannabis are easily used with little preparation beyond drying and have probably been used longer than alcohol, which requires knowledge of fermentation and significant time. The only prohibited drugs, critics of the drug war claim, that have not been part of human culture for centuries or millennia are recently invented drugs like LSD and MDMA, and even they have naturally-occurring counterparts in LSA and MDMA which may have been used in the past. Supporters of the drug war also point out that legal drugs like aspirin and alcohol have legitimate uses, though critics point out that many or most illegal drugs also have legitimate uses in medicine or spirituality, though prohibition has hindered research, making definitive conclusions impossible.
My whole point is that you can put the same information in a way that does not sound like two people yelling at each other. I'm not objecting to the content; nor am I objecting to the use of indentation. I'm objecting to the fact that this article read like an argument. People don't come to an encyclopedia for that; they come for the basic facts on an issue, seen from both sides. We don't have to convince them, remember; they can make their own minds up. What is there now is much better, by the way. DJ Clayworth 14:47, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
What is there now is an invitation for an edit war because it presents only one side to an argument. It is perhaps easier to read, but is less neutral and contains less information. Go ahead and make the changes that you want, though, maybe you will convince me. Tuf-Kat 05:12, Apr 8, 2004 (UTC)

I've gotta agree with DJ Clayworth on this. In my first visit to the article just now, this was the first apparent problem to catch my eye, partly because there is no preface statement that counter-arguments will be presented under each argument, making it seem as though 'A free society avoids the "Tyranny of the Majority"...' is a component of the 'A state cannot tolerate or be involved with the distribution of substances...' argument, rather than the opposing perspective it actually is. This is the same problem that was occurring, and is still present, in AIDS reappraisal. I believe carefully-phrased prose paragraphs as DJ has suggested would be an improvement; it would mitigate the tendency towards "yes it is/no it isn't" that bullet points suffer from, and it might more easily permit attribution of particular perspectives to specific individuals or agencies, rather than the current weaselly "commonly-heard arguments" format. -- Wapcaplet 17:11, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

P.S. - Not exactly a model article, but Drug legalization has a much better approach to this, IMHO. It also seems like a more appropriate place for most of the arguments in this article, which currently seem largely focused on whether or not illegal drugs are harmful, should be legalized, etc. I think arguments presented here should be about the merits of a war on drugs, rather than issues associated with drug use, abuse, or legalization. -- Wapcaplet 17:21, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Those issues are as separable as Siamese twins, circa 1950. In reality, they're all intertwined. The approach to arguments in this article isn't perfect, but the only facet I would change is that there needs to be a limit to the depth of argument nesting. In particular, have the first level for the argument, second level for counter-argument(s), then the third level for rebuttal(s). -- Stevietheman 05:10, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Reverted Edit

In "Arguments in favor of the War on Drugs", I posted a counter-argument:

  • Drug dealers will sell to anyone, including children. Merchants who legally sell alcohol and tobacco are not allowed to sell to children. Many high school students report that it is easier to obtain blanket illegal drugs than alcohol and tobacco. Hence, legalizing drugs will help keep more dangerous and addictive drugs from minors, for whom the deleterious effects are greater 1.
    • Legalizing drugs will send a message to children that drug use is acceptable.
      • This is no more true than saying that the legal status of weapons sends a message to children that murder is acceptable.
        • This comparison is faulty because legalized gun ownership does not simultaneously legalize or condone murder.

It was later removed by Tuf-Kat, and I emailed him (at a yahoo address I found associated with his name) about it late on April 11, 2004. Now, two days later, I haven't received a response, so I still don't know why it was removed. The justification for my argument that I gave in the email follows:

"The impressions laws give children can be ignored for a moment. The comparison, based on the statement "if it's legal it's okay," seems faulty to me because gun ownership is generally legal and murder is not. Legalizing drug use will, by definition, cause drug use to be tolerated by the government. Gun ownership being legal, however, does not make murder acceptable in the eyes of the law. Murder is not a victimless crime, drug use is."

Unless my argument is absurd, which is entirely possible (though I don't yet see why), I can't see a reason for its removal. On this page, I think more counter-arguments are better than the removal of existing "wrong" contentions.

I've since registered... maybe that was the problem in the first place.

Elembis 06:46, Apr 13, 2004 (UTC)

Please post revisions to the article itself (click view article, then "edit this page"). You edited the section on this page (at the top), which has been removed by DJ Clayworth. You can read our discussion above, where I argued against the removal. You could put this counter-argument in the article, except that all counter-arguments have been removed in a discussion that seems to have died. I may reinstate the counter-arguments (the section you edited above, at the top of this page), but I can't understand the point of yours.
  • Legalizing drug use will protect minors
    • But, legalizing drug use will appear to condone drug use
      • But, legal guns don't appear to condone murder
        • Your argument is placed here, but appears to simply repeat the argument above it. It's position would indicate it is an argument against "legal guns don't appear to condone murder", but it actually restates the same thing, as far as I can see.
Tuf-Kat 07:20, Apr 13, 2004 (UTC)
"Legal guns don't appear to condone murder" is an accurate statement. However, this is simply because gun ownership is legal and murder is not. The analogy is inaccurate because if drug use were legal, drug use would be acceptable in the government's eyes. Gun legalization doesn't make murder acceptable.
The child (or adult) in the argument is apparently one who will excercise all possible rights while refusing to break the law under any circumstances. If some currently-illegal drugs were legalized in the U.S., this hypothetical person would buy guns, use legal drugs, drive the speed limit, pay their taxes, etc, but they wouldn't murder anybody because the law would still say "murder is wrong."
Of course, the "model citizen" who so blindly complies with the government's suggested behavior has deeper problems than possible drug addiction. I'm simply pointing out what I think is a fatally weak point in the counter-argument "legal guns don't appear to condone murder."
Elembis 19:42, Apr 13, 2004 (UTC)
Oh, I understand now. How about the phrasing The comparison between murder and drug abuse is faulty because murder remains illegal no matter the legal status of weapons used to commit it, whereas nobody argues for legalizing occasional, recreational drug use but prohibiting dangerous addictive drug abuse. It's a bit clunky, but is more clear, I think.
Of course, all the counter-arguments are still not in the article... Tuf-Kat 03:40, Apr 14, 2004 (UTC)
Or perhaps "This comparison is faulty because murder is illegal regardless of the legal status of gun ownership. Gun ownership and murder are two separate legal issues, drug use is currently not." The comparison is obviously between murder and drug abuse, so that part can be left out.
I'd have edited the original article had these counter-arguments been there. Personally, I'm afraid including them would make the article far less neutral, and I think people should be able to draw their own conclusions past the first level of arguments.
Elembis 20:20, 2004 Apr 14 (UTC)
I'm fine with the proposed wording. I wouldn't have removed it except i both didn't understand it and it was an edit to something that had been removed from the article and was under discussion -- that's generally considered bad principle because others can't make an informed decision about whether the removed bit should have been removed if the bit has been changed since the removal... Doesn't really apply in this case, since the content of the bit was not disputed, only the format, but since it also didn't make sense, I removed it. Tuf-Kat 06:01, Apr 18, 2004 (UTC)
Okay, I've put it back in the list. I wasn't sufficiently aware of the debate about including/excluding the counter-arguments, I'll be more careful next time. Thanks for talking it out. Elembis 06:52, 2004 Apr 20 (UTC)


I have reinstated the counter-arguments in the article, for reasons mentioned above. Tuf-Kat 05:04, May 5, 2004 (UTC)

I don't think counter-arguments belong in the article. Encyclopedias should present information on controversial subjects without stating why one stance is better than the other, but the list currently reads something like "supporters have these misguided opinions, while critics use the following sound arguments." Let the readers decide which side is correct. Elembis 00:01, 2004 May 9 (UTC)
My feeling is that the reader can't come to an informed conclusion unless both arguments and counter-arguments are presented. This article doesn't claim that any stance is better than another -- it present opinions attributed to those who hold them. If you'd rather rewrite it in some other format, go ahead, but valid information on objections to arguments for and against the drug war should remain. Tuf-Kat 07:20, May 9, 2004 (UTC)

Information Campaigns, or Propaganda?

One of the methods used by the government, as stated in the main article of the drug war was "information campaigns to educate the public on the real or perceived dangers of recreational drug use."

It seems like most of these campaigns are some of the most arrogant and self serving loads of tripe that I have ever seen. One thing that really bugged me was that several of these commercials suggested that all unemployed people were in that state because they were high all the time. Being generous, I found that offensive. Doesn't matter what the actual intent was, but that's the message I got from those commercials. Another commercial was inches away from saying that all real Americans are supposed to spy on their neighbors.

JesseG 04:53, 2 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Any chance of a link to a less ambiguous description of what's in the ads?

Jherico 22:33, 2 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I seen that one commercial where the kid opens the box where he stores his weed and the weed is all missing. The only thing in the box is a "we need to talk" note from "mom."

Everytime I see that commercial, it reminds me of the one Star Trek episode, "Dear Quark, I used parts of your disruptor to fix the replicator. Will return them soon. Rom." The parents could have done something similar, "Dear Son, We borrowed your weed for our own party Friday night, we'll get you some more weed soon. Mom."

Also, did anyone see the new Escatasy campaign disguised as one of those commercials hawking perscription medication?

JesseG 03:19, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)


I merged War on Drugs and Drug legalization. This is an encyclopedia and I don't think a list of points/counterpoints about the legalization of drugs belongs on the entry about the War on Drugs. I moved the list in question to a subset of the talk's linked above. I also archived the old talk page as the War on Drugs page is slightly different now (incorporates parts of the Drug legalization page). I hope everyone is happy with the changes I've made. I just tried to make this article more presentable and readable. - Defunkt 07:47, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No, not happy. Why don't we just merge War on Terror and Revolution as well. Well, perhaps not. The war on drugs is a completely separate concept from drug legalization, and redirecting people looking for information on the latter to an entry on the former is biased. While a continuous tit-for-tat argument might not be appropriate in either category (and indeed may just belong in a seperate article linked from both), removing such an argument is orthogonal to merging the two entries. Put it back. --Jherico 00:34, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

First of all, I fail to see how having Drug legalization redirect to the War on Drugs is biased. In June, on Talk:Drug_legalization, a merge of the article's useful information to the War on Drugs article was suggested. Because the War on Drugs article's opposing view section was in reality a messy point/counterpoint, and because of the standing suggestion, I moved the Drug legalization article's well written pro-legalization arguments to the War on Drugs article as a replacement. The point/counterpoint section dealt almost entirely with legalization, as do the sections I replaced it with. I contend that the opposing view of the War on Drugs is not "No War on Drugs;" it's drug legalization. Basically I see the Drug legalization page's content as describing an almost reaction to the War on Drugs, which, in this article's definition, encompasses modern drug laws. If the two subjects are completely separate concepts, why did both pages devote entire sections to each other? - Defunkt 06:26, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I'm not going to defend the presence of pro-legalization arugments on War on Drugs or try to say that the point counterpoint area belonged in either it or Drug Legalization. I call it biased because the very title War on Drugs has a political slant to it and implies information about a subset of the topic as a whole. How about this... A largely merged article titled Drug Laws with sub-sections on the war on drugs and its rise as a political concept in the 80s as well as anti-drug movements prior to it. A seperate article with a summary of the arguments and counter arguments linked from it, and some meta-text either in the article or in the discussion page advising against continuing to pontificate unless one has genuinely new information and not just another link to a study that supports a favored viewpoint. --Jherico 07:32, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

So you are suggesting we do away with a 'War on Drugs' article altogether, correct? I see from your user page that you're from the United States. Do you agree, then, that the War on Drugs is a proper noun and a very real thing? Because I don't think that's debatable. It is not a subsection or conceptual byproduct of our drug laws; it is something that directly affects legislature, law enforcement, and many lives every day (I know it exists in other countries, but I'm from my personal experience). I think many would agree that the War on Drugs article should remain the primary source for information about the War on Drugs. But the article, in the interest of neutrality, needs to represent the opposing view: drug legalization. As far as I know, and please correct me if I'm wrong, there is no "please stop the war on drugs but keep drugs illegal" movement. Instead, the primary opposing force is support for legalization. The War on Drugs is a not insignificant article while the Drug legalization article seems less than required when the well written information presented in it fits perfectly in this article. As far as the point-counterpoint listing goes, I have no opinion on what happens to that information as long as it is not represented as the primary opposing view in the War on Drugs article. If you feel it's important to include that list, albeit a little better formatted, in a separate page then by all means. It might be wise to include a link to the new page from the War on Drugs article, too. However, I think the War on Drugs article as it stands is well written and does a good job of explaining the War on Drugs as well as the opposition. - Defunkt 19:49, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think you've mistaken the intentions of the previous poster. The idea is not to get rid of the article, but rather to rename it to "Drug laws" or something similar ("Prohibition (drugs)" seems more apt to me), and merge in any other pages that have duplicated material. I think this makes sense, since the term "War on Drugs" was coined by Nixon in 1971, while the entry quite rightly deals with the topic of drug laws as whole, including pre-1971. Your disagreement then lies in how much pro-v-against material should go there, Jherico seems to say nothing, Defunkt seems to say keep the text merged from "Drug legalization" and move the pt-counterpt to a new page. Personally, while I agree with most of it, I think the pro-legalization material is way too long. Remember this is an encyclopedia: stick to the facts. The facts are that people have opinions. The page is about drug laws, not about people's opinions on them, so a few sentences at most about people's opinions is all that is justified. So I'd argue for a separate page called "Views on drug prohibition", with both the text from "Drug legalization" and the point counterpoint stuff in it. It could also include a non-point-form exposition of the pro-prohibition viewpoint if anyone is offering to write one. --Rkundalini 03:59, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The problem with the merge is that the article is seriously out NPOV-wise. History and current efforts is great, but the swathe of anti-arguments isn't sufficiently balanced. Some pro-WOD arguments need to arrive here. --Giles Robertson


So what do you all think of the idea fleshed out above? I am proposing to

See above for reasoning concerning the split, and the naming of the new entries. Note, this is not just undoing the merge made above, it is making a cleaner distinction between the undisputed facts/history and the arguments/opinions, whereas previously both articles carried a bit of both. If there are no serious objections after a couple of days I'll go ahead. -- Rkundalini 23:49, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

going, going ... -- Rkundalini 05:50, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

gone! -- Rkundalini 02:37, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I like the third idea. It is important for people to know that this is a debatable issue. --Stilanas 12:25, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Post view of split

How has this worked out?

-- Eric Urban 7:05 PM 11/28/04(CST)

I don't really think Prohibition (drugs) should restrict itself to history. It should contain everything uncontroversial and factual there is to say on the topic without going into detail about reasons for it or arguments against it. I think it still needs a lot of work to achieve this, though. Rkundalini 06:59, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think that Drug legalization should redirect to Prohibition (drugs). It should instead direct to the Arguments for and against drug prohibition (or something along those lines). --Thoric 17:12, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

How different societies do things differently

A mention of some sort or attention to how some governments or jurisdictions direct their prohibitions at the supply side (importation, mining, cultivation, manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale or dealing) whereas others focus on the demand side (use, misuse or abuse by consumers) belongs somewhere in this article, especially with informative citations. Some see drug dealers as snakes, exploiters and molesters, sometimes even "greedy capitalists," whereas others acknowledge that "suckers," addicts or the ill are essentially the cause of the demand thus the motivation for drug servicing in the first place. Many like neither, but that is beside the point.

There is also the matter of prohibition of drug paraphernalia, which seems largely specific to the United States of America.

-- Lindberg 11:32, 15 September 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lindberg G Williams Jr (talkcontribs)

French article is better

The article in French is really better on this subject. It could be a great inspiration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:25, 3 November 2010 (UTC)


Hey people, the article has a tag for deletion like a Damocles´sword over it. I propose to counter-attack by reviving the legendary struggle for merging Prohibition(alcohol to this article. Alcohol is just one of the drugs. Not acknowledging this is unencyclopedic, I think.


I'm looking at the penalties section, and the American section seems to be very inaccurate. In the U.S., the penalty for illegal drug possession and sale can vary from 1 year to a life sentence. Most non-violent first time offenders guilty of drug possession get a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years with no parole, or 10 years with no parole if he has a large quantity of drugs. This prison time is doubled (10 or 20 years) if has been imprisoned for drug possession before.

None of that is true, so I'm replacing it.

POV issues

Hi folks. Just surfed in and took a look at this article. You guys have some good material here to work with, but I'm a bit concerned about how the facts are presented.

Let me just begin by noting that wrt my personal politics, I'm very much against drug prohibition and the war on drugs. I'm also aware that most people in on-line communities (I'll presume this includes Wikipedia) share my stance. So we have to guard against preaching to the choir, as it were, and it seems to me that much of this article does just that.

The truth is, the war on drugs (at least as it's carried out now) is probably bad for society and it makes sense that we should point that out, but despite us all agreeing on this fact, many folks don't and will be suspicious of our claims to the contrary. The best way we can convince them is by referencing this article. So here are some issues I had, reading the article -- things I think need to be referenced.

A major campaign against hashish-eating Sufis was conducted in Egypt in the 11th and 12th centuries resulting among other things in the burning of fields of cannabis, and the public torture of hashish users (Ref 1).

So here's one of the few examples of a referenced point. I'm including it because I think we should use the more widely used '[1]' notation, with '[1]' linking directly to the reference in question (if possible), as well as being elaborated on in the references section.

... Pope Clement VIII sanctioned its [coffee's] use, declaring that it was "so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it."

This is a great quote, and precisely because it's so great, it deserves a reference.

The inspiration was "many women and young girls, as well as young men of respectable family, were being induced to visit the Chinese opium-smoking dens, where they were ruined morally and otherwise."

The use of quotation marks seems to imply that this is a quote. If it is, it should be referenced. Otherwise, we should avoid the use of quotes, because it will give readers the impression that this is a quote, and when a skeptical reader tries to find a reference and fails, we will be accused of trying to seem authorative. Not good.

This was followed by other laws throughout the country, and federal laws which barred Chinese people from trafficking in opium.

In general, when we make references to laws, we should back them up with evidence. Laws or court decisions, even if later overturned, leave paper records that we can reference. Again, I don't doubt that these laws existed, but we must avoid group-think -- pretty much everyone that cares to edit wikipedia (for the most part) is likely to be for drug legalization or at least against the racist policies that have classically motivated the drug war in the US. As such, we aren't likely to get much criticism from our fellow editors, but we must try to maintain objectivity and back our assertions up with facts. Remember, in the US, drugs are illegal and most people believe that these laws are justified in some respects. If tell them that the reason Opium was illegalized in the US had nothing whatever to do with health and everything to do with anti-Chinese sentiments in the late 19th century, we're asking them to abandon years of indoctrinated group-think. They won't give this up easily, so we must point them to authoritive sources that support our claims.

The laws were aimed at smoking opium, but not otherwise ingesting it. 1

Ok, a reference! But it's numbered 1, when there have been 2 other references before it, isn't enclosed in square brackets or preceded by "Reference" or "Ref" indicating it's a reference, and the linked URL is not present in the reference section at all, much less under 1.

Newspapers used terms like "Negro Cocaine Fiends" and "Cocainized Niggers" to drive up sales, causing a nationwide panic about the rape of white women by black men, high on cocaine.

Again, references. If these were actual headlines, there should be records of them. We should include the newspaper names, the dates published, or at least point to a reference work that references them. The idea that cocaine was a "black drug" is not new, but is not widely accepted by people -- and to many modern readers with short memories, the idea of a newspaper publishing an article with "Nigger" or "Negro" in the title will produce profound cognitive dissonance. They won't want to believe it, and so they won't. We must back this sort of stuff up, precisely because it makes people uncomfortable.

Many police forces changed from a .32 caliber to a .38 caliber pistol because the smaller gun was supposedly unable to kill black men when they were high on cocaine.

Definitely needs a reference. Where are you getting this from?
There is no refernce to this in the .38 special page (the most likley one). It sounds fictional. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamiles1000 (talkcontribs) 01:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

The supporters of the Harrison Act did not support blanket prohibition of the drugs involved 1

Again, the same reference issue. It's good that we have a reference, but why is there just a random 1 here (this is the third 1 in a row). We need to number these properly and put them in the References section.

Harry J. Anslinger (Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner) testified in hearings on the subject that the hemp plant needed to be banned because it had a violent "effect on the degenerate races". This specifically referred to Mexican immigrants who had entered the country, seeking jobs during the Great Depression.

I've heard this too. But we need a reference, especially with the quote. All quotes should be referenced, I think -- not just to lend credibility, but also so that we can cover our asses. A single misattributed quote will invalidate the whole article in the mind of someone that doesn't want to believe what we're saying.

A War on Drugs is usually run like a modern war with police and other law enforcement officers instead of military personnel. The apparatus prepared for the War is ordinarily organized to face guerrilla situations, armed attacks or counter-attacks and bombings. These tactics include espionage, as undercover agents (spies) are used to infiltrate drug use and trafficking circles.

Isn't this a little extreme? Using undercover agents is a typical techinique used by law enforcement agencies to penetrate any sort of organized crime circle; the fact that much organized crime involves drugs doesn't mean that the use of undercover agents or raids specifically originated with the drug war, which is what I read this as implying.

For example, the United States recently brought charges against club owners for maintaining a place of business where a) Ecstasy is known to be frequently consumed; b) paraphernalia associated with the use of Ecstasy is sold and/or widely tolerated (such as glow sticks and pacifiers); and c) "chill-out rooms" are created, where Ecstasy users can cool down (Ecstasy raises the user's blood temperature). These are being challenged in court by organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Drug Policy Alliance.

What charges? What cases? Include them.

Many countries allow the use of undercover law enforcement officers solely or primarily for the enforcement of laws against recreational use of certain drugs. Many of these officers are allowed to commit crimes if it is necessary to maintain the secrecy of the investigation, or in order to collect adequate evidence for a conviction.

Ok, I mean, listen, I agree with the points raised in this article and even I'm rolling my eyes! "Many countries"? "Many of these officers"? How vague can you possibly be? Which crimes can be committed? Is this little stuff, like police officers being allowed to speed, or is it big stuff, like killing people? What evidence do we have of these claims?

The War on Drugs has stimulated the creation of international law enforcement agencies (such as Interpol), mostly in Western countries. This has occurred because a large volume of illicit drugs come from Third-World countries.

Interpol was created in 1923. "The War on Drugs", which to me (and probably most readers) very specifically refers to the US policy started by Nixon in 1972, came rather later than that. Further, the US had very little of its current political clout in the 20s, so I'm not sure this is true. If it is true, it probably ought to be qualified, and the use of "The War on Drugs" (note the capitalization) should almost certainly not be used.

All of this comes from a very light reading. Basically, I advocate:

  • numbering all references using normal endnote notation, in order starting with [1]
  • directly linking each reference to the page in question when dealing with an internet source
  • enumerating all references in the references section, with the number agreeing with the endnote
  • prefering to link to published, verifiable material (such as laws, dead tree journals, books, etc) rather than obviously pro-drug legalization sites, when possible
  • maintaining a policy of referencing all quotes, without exception.

Ideally, the original authors are aware of where they lifted these quotes from and can provide the references without too much trouble. I'd make some of these changes myself but I'd rather see if this article is anyone's baby first, and get some feedback on my points.

I think we could turn this into a good article, but we need to NPOVify it and reference stuff that might be interpreted as POV because it goes against popular propaganda.

Cheers. 03:55, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Good stuff, should be a good basis for improving the article. My impression is that the article is no-one in particular's baby, i.e. I think there have been many contributors. Speaking for myself, I referenced my own additions (most of the early history section) as much as possible. The Pope Clemens one I didn't reference because I couldn't find a particular reference for it that was particularly more authoritative than any other one (all were web pages).. some more digging required there but I didn't have time.

Re the referencing style, lack of guidelines for this was always one of my biggest gripes but I see that wikipedia now has a [Wikipedia:Cite sources|policy for citations]. We should try to abide by it. Rkundalini 05:21, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I made some minor changes to the 2nd paragraph of the article, as before it sounded a little bit biased against prohibition. In my mind, it seemed to case prohibitionists as closed minded and fanatical. While this may be true of some prohibitionists, I felt that the wording could have been more neutral. I hope no one minds. --

Hi I just added a couple of references. I hope this doesn't come across as endorsing Edward Hunting Williams NY times article "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are a New Southern Menace" - but I thought it was pretty interesting that it exists. I also added my source - Lusane 1991 -- 28 June 2005 13:19 (UTC)

Hi, I haven't made this change but in the third paragraph of early drug use there is "In Northern Europe, the Protestants were also guilty of passing drug laws motivated by religious intolerance," I think guilty is kinda strong and subjective , I don't think we should pass judgement here , sure it was a stupid to pass laws based on religious intolerance but the article should stay objective and just say they did and that's all 31 July 14:39 (GMT-5)

This doesn't seem like a very neutral article. Cite some sources, otherwise it seems like this is just spouting off that drug prohibititon is solely for the purpose of keeping the colored man down and there is certainly more to it than that.

While I can see some POV turns of phrase here and there, I don't agree that the whole article is slanted this way. In fact it doesn't really try to go into the "purpose" of drug prohibition, it is mainly an exposition of the history of it and the current legal provisions. Some months ago an attempt was made to move all POV stuff to Arguments for and against drug prohibition. Why don't you have a go at rephrasing, removing or moving the offending pieces as you see fit? -- Rkundalini 03:38, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
While it's not trying to go into pros and cons, it says many things I would call...dubious. I'm going to tag it as dereferenced, as I cannot see, offhand, what gets referenced where. Sim 01:21, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Contrib from

A major reason for the war on drugs is that many powerful individuals, political organizations, and businesses benefit from the illegality. See Leavitt or Miller or McCoy.

This may be 100% true, but it needs to be expanded for relevance. It's current form does not improve the article. Perhaps User: will see this and decide to improve it. --Viriditas | Talk 13:28, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Ditto. It belongs in Arguments for and against drug prohibition. It could potentially find place up the top of the article in much abbreviated form, prefixed by something along the lines that "some people argue that". Rkundalini 01:06, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Inaccurate reference to Edward VI

In 1536 Edward VI commended hopped beer as "notable, healthy and temperate", while the exclusive use of hops had been compulsory in France since 1268 (Ref 3).

I know that this comes directly from the web-page referenced (, but you'll find that Edward VI was not born until the following year.

I'm sure there is some fact in this—Edward probably did actually say it, but when?

I have removed the offending part, since it is obviously innacurate, and since nobody can find a reasonable explanation for the mistake. If anyone does, please mention it. — Doshea3 02:48, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Structural violence

"Structural violence" was listed under the "Methods of enforcement" section. This is a loaded term and thus not NPOV. If someone else sees a justification for doing so, I have no problem with adding material about how some things that some people call "structural violence" are used to discourage people from using certain drugs. The structural violence article does not contain any information about that sort of thing, so I'm not sure what, exactly, was intended. Any material should also clarify whether it is a government, a society, or other entity that is using such methods; the existing section is rather fuzzy on that issue. -- Beland 02:25, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Article bounces back and forth between US-centric and generic perspectives 10:29, 16 September 2005 (UTC):This article needs a good editor to either turn it into a US-specific article (under a different title) or a generic article on the topic.

Although I agree with your comment, in my opinion the worldwide stance on drugs is highly influenced by the US position. Any country that might consider other policies is strong armed by the US-led international community (i.e. suggesting to treat addiction as disease and not as crime). Should that be the case it is inevitable that the international and US 'war on drugs' are discussed in the same article. --Nomen Nescio 16:05, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes. Drug prohibition the world over is a result of U.S. policy setting initiatives. See Global Business Regulation by Braithwaite and Drahos for an extended exposition on this point. -- pde 14:07, 30 October 2005 (UTC)


the third paragraph reads:

Nixon's modern-day "War on Drugs" began in 1971. In 1988 the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was created to combat drug abuse, which he characterized as "America's public enemy number one." Nixon's new initiative was another milestone for the U.S. in the consideration of drug addiction as a public problem.

this paragraph seems somewhat disjointed (possibly more than one author). nixon did not create the office of national drug control policy. it was created in 1988 under the Anti Drug Abuse Act. as such, it also leaves "nixon's new intiative" hanging without any support. if the quote "public enemy number one" can be attested to nixon, a more appropriate sentence might read:

Nixon's modern-day "War on Drugs" began in 1971; he characterized drug use as "America's public enemy number one." and then add some statement such as, "he created an intiative known as X..."

as it stands, the conflation of the "war on drugs" with the creation of ONDCP is incorrect and misleading and cannot be attributed to nixon, as it reads now.

+drug prohibition+pros+cons

When reading this article, I found it almost entirely devoted to the "cons" of drug enforcement/ policy. I hardly believe that this article has given a balanced report, quite the contrary it seems to be against a lot of the policy and enforcement practices. The article has very little academic writing style, and places a heavy influence on attacking the institutions that have been anti-drug in previous years. Let us not forget that the era we live in is by far the most scientifically accurate; therefore, if any arguments should be made either for or against drug usage or policy, they should be made from an academic, scientific point of view. This leads me to my observation and suggested improvement for this article. There is no reference that I found to any of the detrimental effects of drugs (which is why drugs are banned in the United States, not because some culture group is trying to attack some other culture group). There should at least be a reference given to the DEA website, after all they have been sited in this article. Also, the DEA's website has a good article concerning the view that marijuana is a "harmless" drug. This link,, explains serious effects of cannabis such as increased vulnerability to develop schizophrenia, serious cancer risks, deterioration of mental processing (especially in minors), etc. I understand there are always two sides to an argument, but I feel like this article is not giving one of those sides a fair shake. Von Kramm (talk) 20:12, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Society does send out this expectation that "Drug users are murderers, and they cost us taxes...", basically every bad thing in the book. This article, in my view, addresses this very well, and it also talks about the religous bit in the beginning of the Wikipedia article. -- QuackOfaThousandSuns (Talk) 23:23, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I also have with one particular sentence, to quote, "Motivations claimed by supporters of drug prohibition laws across various societies and eras have included religious observance, allegations of violence by racial minorities,{} and public health concerns." This sentence totally ignores what I believe to be one of the key arguments behind prohibition in the 19th and 20th century, namely, the decremental effect that they may have of people's judgment and self control. For example, one of the key drivers of the women's temperance movement in New Zealand in the late 19th century was the hope to reduce the violence experienced by women and families which may have resulted from drunkenness. I sentence above seems to imply that the reasons behind the prohibition movements are racist or hypocritical, and while this may have been the case, it is important to represent all concerns that people may have(whether the author considers them to be legitimate or not)may have in a fair and honest way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by INFO523Briar (talkcontribs) 07:31, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Edit by

User: I removed the copy that you wrote, because you made no attempt to integrate it into the rest of the article. Please try again, but this time go through the article as it stands, and see what you have to add that is new and verifiable. Also, here at Wikipedia, we don't sign our contributions to articles. If you want some recognition for what you have written, register a user account, and others will be able to see what contributions you have made. --Slashme 06:21, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

nothing on the connection between US foreign oil policy and the war on drugs?

And the US very selective war on coca, and the alleged drug trafficking of the CIA? I was looking for somewhat objective sources on these controversial issues.

Suggestion on shortening the ext links

In its current state and numbers they are incalculable. Those used for references should be marked as such and kept into a "resources" section. The bulk can be removed.

Fred-Chess 05:52, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Methods of enforcement section's questionable neutrality

The "methods of enforcement" section is quite in favour of the American government's coca eradication program in Colombia and doesn't mention some of the problems it's caused, such as also killing other legal crops. Trystan Morris-Davies 23:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

"The Netherlands" section very POV


  • ... Gedoogbeleid has considerable advantages, making it the most successful policy in the post-industrial world.
  • It would be hypocritical to accept that...
  • There is however some hope that the political climate could change, ...

Completely unencyclopedic. --Apoc2400 08:13, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

"It would be hypocritical to accept that the government pretends to maintain the well-being of its citizens by prohibiting drugs, for it is widely known that substances such as cigarettes and alcohol pose a much higher risk factor to the consumer, resulting in cancer, addiction, liver problems, as well as other predicaments." When I read this it struck me as being very biased, simply saying 'this is hypocritical'. Would anyone else agree?

Also, "Tolerating soft drugs also leads to a more cohesive society, where everyone is represented, even those who decide to use drugs as a recreational item, just like Heineken, a pseudo-symbol of national pride, is widely consumed and exported around the EU and the world." Very, very POV.-- 00:54, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

As of now, it still hasn't improved (or maybe it has been, but it's been reverted). I'm against prohibition, btw. 10:27, 2 August 2007 (UTC)


the article says, "in Northern Europe, the Protestants were also guilty of passing drug laws motivated by religious intolerance, according to Stephen Harrod Buhner (Ref 2). Buhner argues that the 1516 Reinheitsgebot, which stipulates that beer may only contain water, malt and hops was a "reflection of Protestant irritation about 'drugs' and the Catholic Church". Unlike the typically stimulating herbal blends widely used at the time (e.g. gruit), hops cause sedation and reduce libido. The exclusive use of hops had been compulsory in France since 1268 (Ref 3)."

However, according to the Reinheitsgebot page, it originated in Bavaria- a predominatly catholic region. Additionally, the line about "guilty of passing drug laws motivated..." is a bit...strong, don't you think? The article on the Renheitsgebot pretty much disagrees with this passage entirely. Novium 01:06, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

On the last line it describes the German decriminalization of soft drugs as "hope". This is not a neutral viewpoint and should probably be edited.

Basic References that weren't included/referenced

Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy -- the full text of most of the major government commission studies on drug prohibition from around the world for the last 100+ years.

Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs - -- This contains an excellent history of how drug prohibition arose.

The short history of the drug laws by the professor who wrote the original history of the marijuana laws for President Nixon's US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse -

Also see The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge - the legal history of the marijuana laws at

The Drug Hang-Up by Rufus King -- Another excellent history of how prohibition arose.

These are some of the best works ever written on the subject. The article is incomplete without them.


Particularly the history section is excessively US biassed. I have added a globalise tag to that section.--Golden Wattle talk 20:01, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


Version 0.7

This article is close, but a controversial topic like this needs very careful inline citations to carry weight. I think someone knowledgable could clean this up easily and make it a B - if so, please renominate. A nomination alongside some related articles - to give context - would also help. Thanks, Walkerma 06:26, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Legalization of drugs

"Legalization of drugs" redirects here. I think it would be better to separate legalization of drugs into a separate article; redirecting legalization to drug prohibition is like redirecting black to white. They are opposites.--Gloriamarie 09:41, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Agree. There is alot to be said on that topic, medical, political, sociological, et cetera.Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 11:21, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Legalization and prohbition are entirely different. That is why I added information on the propoganda. This propoganda used in the prohibition against drugs, particularly marijuana, leads to the illegalization of the drug and others. The cite I used leads one to an actual film used in the prohibition in 1936 termed Reefer Madness. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HawksFan12 (talkcontribs) 21:49, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Earliest prohibition, and citations

The article on opium says: (references scrubbed)

From the earliest finds opium has appeared to have ritual significance, and anthropologists have speculated that ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power. In Egypt, the use of opium was generally restricted to priests, magicians, and warriors, its invention credited to Thoth, and it was said to have been given by Isis to Ra as treatment for a headache. A figure of the Minoan "goddess of the narcotics", wearing a crown of three opium poppies, ca. 1300 B.C., was recovered from the Sanctuary of Gazi, Crete, together with a simple smoking apparatus. The Greek gods Hypnos (Sleep), Nyx (Night), and Thanatos (Death) were depicted wreathed in poppies or holding poppies. Poppies also frequently adorned statues of Apollo, Asklepios, Pluto, Demeter, Aphrodite, Kybele and Isis, symbolizing nocturnal oblivion.

This seems to indicate that there were probably earlier drug prohibitions than the Islamic ones mentioned in this article. Can anyone dig up any further detail and provide citation?

Also, the article as a whole is now in better shape than before, but it's still sorely lacking in references, and that is an urgent need for this and related articled (Illegal drug trade, Drug liberalization, etc.). --Daniel11 15:00, 26 October 2007 (UTC)²

Missing sources

I'm sure this has been discussed to death, but this isn't an encyclopedic article. While I agree with the author's (or authors') thesis -- that drug laws were used for political gain by religious leaders in antiquity, and for political gain in xenophobic regions in the United States. Sentences such as "This was followed by the Harrison Act, passed in 1914, which required sellers of opiates and cocaine to get a license (which were usually only distributed to white people). " would be far more interesting if there was a study showing that this was the case -- to me, it just looks like parenthetical commentary. All claims here should be backed by an independent source; I for one wouldn't feel comfortable making any claims based on this article, save the few that are actually sourced.

In a broader, unrelated-to-POV sense, statements like "cocaine was banned in the 20th century" should probably be more specific...for example, the date of first federal law criminalizing cocaine in particular would be a satisfactory milestone at least for this reader.

Thanks for bothering to put together a great (while not encyclopedic) article. (talk) 05:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


This article should be renamed to "Drug policy", since prohibition is only one aspect of fighting drug addiction, and it doesn't cover other equally important aspects, such as prevention, treatment, and information campaigns. Cambrasa (talk) 14:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

war on america over drugs

is it not time to say war against our own people is a foolish thing ? how many children end up in cps because of this ? why isnt the war on drugs attacked as a social problem and addressed by real professionals in mind sciences? instead our government thinks its better to destroy lives everyday in the name of a drug war . is this not criminal behavior? who is it that wants the police to be looked upon as the enemy? that they would seek to divide the people against the cops? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Islam bias

In the first section, we have the following line:

"Islamic countries mostly prohibit the use of alcohol. Many non-Islamic governments ..."

Why do they have to be non-Islamic governments? Can't they just be "other" governments? The whole tone of the paragraph is around Islam, especially with phrases such as "sin tax" which sounds quite religiously biased. (talk) 20:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

This text has now been edited. Some of the most populous countries with a Muslim majority, e.g. Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia allow alcohol sales, but impose taxes to limit consumption. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:16, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Drug-related articles generally a mess

Wikipedia's drug-related articles are generally a mess
Perhaps this is because current thinking about drugs is generally a mess
Perhaps there is no coherent objective way of thinking and writing on the subject
We have laws seemingly dedicated to the notion that drugs are evil, and the use of force (sometimes lethal) to suppress their production and supply
Somehow, at the same time, we have a vast legal drugs industry, for ever chasing the holy grail of immortality
I offer the following as potentially useful definitions:

  • Controlled drug: drug within the scope of laws which are named, effectively, as drug control laws, for example, in the United Kingdom, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Drugs Act 2005
  • Pharmaceutical drug: product of a body, pharmaceutical company or drug company, which is licensed to produce and supply controlled drugs as medicines
  • Legal drug:
    • pharmaceutical drug, provided it is not held contrary to drug control laws; or
    • drug falling outside the scope of drug control laws and not otherwise illegal, for example, in the United Kingdom, alcohol or tobacco,
  • Illegal drug:
    • drug held contrary to drug control laws; or
    • drug falling outside the scope of drug control laws and defined as illegal in some other way, for example, in the United Kingdom, alcohol sold to someone under the age of 18

Laurel Bush (talk) 16:39, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Important document

I have added information regarding a document signed in Rio de Janeiro that makes new proposals towards drug consumption, production and prohibition. If this piece of information is to be moved or substantially changed please let me know. Thanks.--Camilo Sanchez (talk) 17:57, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Worldwide view

It is my view, in words from a note at the top of this article, that the examples and perspective of the article do not represent a worldwide view of the subject
Drug control law seems to offer a more global perspective, but maybe that article should really be at Drug prohibition law
Drug control law, however, is short on history
Seems to me that much of the content of Prohibition (drug) could be used in a new History of drug control law, and Prohibition (drug) could eventually become a redirect to Drug control law (but with the latter tweaked and at Drug prohibition law)
Laurel Bush (talk) 12:13, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Seconded. I think it would be good for this article to perhaps note the negative effects of prohibition, and point at Portugal as an example of what happens when marijuana is decriminalized. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 15 August 2009 (UTC)


I suggest the first paragraph of History be changed: "It should be noted that the War on Drugs is not a war by definition (i.e.: drugs are inanimate and therefore incapable of war)." may be the worst sentence ever.-- (talk) 15:38, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

This sounds more like cop bashing to me

I will highlight what I believe to be POV cop bashing

In the United States, there is considerable legal debate about the impact these laws have had on Americans' civil rights. Critics claim that the War on Drugs has lowered the evidentiary burden required for a legal search of a suspect's dwelling or vehicle, or to intercept a suspect's communications. However, many of the searches that result in drug arrests are often "commission" to search a person or the person's property. People who consent to a search, knowing full well that they possess contraband, generally consent because they are ignorant of the fact that they have the right to decline permission to search. Under the laws of most U.S. states, police are not required to disclose to suspects that they have the right to decline a search. Even when a suspect does not give permission to search, police are often known to state in arrest affidavits and even provide sworn testimony that the suspect consented to the search, secure in the knowledge that a judge will normally weigh all questions of credibility in favour of law enforcement and against the accused.

Does anyone else agree that this needs to be changed to reflect a more NPOV? None of the above statements contain citations. I haven't removed those statements yet in order to get a 2nd opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Coradon (talkcontribs) 18:24, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Would you care to share what exactly is untrue about any of those statements? I don't see any bias. yonnie (talk) 17:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Marijuana world wide prohibition

At my college they had a Heads Vs. Feds debate. A debate concerning the legalization of Marijuana with a DEA (FED) against legalization and the owner or editer in cheif or something like that of High Times magazine. He said that there was a treaty or law signed by various nations around the word that banned majiuana everywhere. The law however wasn't really enforced (as to why Amsterdam as it legally, tehcnically under this law it is illegal) Does anyone know about this law?

Let's do the math, please...

In the Afghanistan section, the article states that country's 2003 total production of 3,600 tonnes of opium constituted three quarters of the world supply. On the back of an envelope, I calculate from this number that the total world supply for 2003 was 4,800 tonnes of opium. In the next sentence, though, the article states that Afghanistan's opium production reached 6,100 tonnes in 2006. Try as I might, I've found no evidence whatsoever to support an increase in world opium consumption from 4,800 tonnes to <6,100 tonnes in the three years 2003 - 2006. Could someone look at these sources please? 17:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by West Coast Gordo (talkcontribs) 02:04, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Prohibition and Canada

I noticed that US, Australia, Indonesia, and The Netherlands have their own sections of drug prohibition.

Shouldn't Canada have it's own section, as views on drugs are vastly different than those of the United States.

The only reason that Cannabis is outlawed here is that the US government wanted it so, being the worlds superpower, and unfortunately our very influential neighbour. Many judges (see Wikipedia article: Legalization of Cannabis in Canada) and most police officers don't uphold our Cannabis laws.

Acid 1 (talk) 21:05, 18 December 2010 (UTC)


The bit about lifting the ban on trading opium after the Second Opium War is just plain wrong. It is particularly obviously wrong because the Second Opium war started after the Taiping Rebellion, when the rebels were in fact at the apex of their power. (talk) 01:01, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Pope Innocent VIII

"In a move interpreted as support for the efforts of the Spanish Inquisition against the Arabs, in a 1484 fiat Pope Innocent VIII banned the use of cannabis."

Unable to find a source for this assertion in any Bulls or otherwise issued for this pope or even near contemporary sources siting that this pope directly banned Cannabis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DrusMAX (talkcontribs) 03:22, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Drug Trafficking

i think that they shouldent ban some of the drugs in the us people will always have drugs and they will sell/buy drugs without a doubt no matter what the police or the law says about it. Californa has legillized Marijuana so why cant it be in all the other states? So I think that they should do it you just have to have enough people to stand up for it it would just make things easier if people want to ruin thier bodys go ahead its thier body! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 28 October 2011 (UTC)


Is this sentence from the article true? "The United States (1920–1933), Finland (1919–1932), Norway (1916–1927), Canada, Iceland (1915–1922) and the USSR (1914–1925) had alcohol prohibition." Especially since the USSR did not start until 1917 or -18. (Forget which, or maybe -19.) Borock (talk) 02:52, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

About: freedom to buy drugs in Russia

Proof: "лофофора пейот купить": (key words on English: "lophophora peyote buy"). Without problems (hundreds of websites = not one website).

History of the article:

You can replace in the article (search on Yandex.Ru instead Yage.Ru). If will be need (because the truth only: Rule of law is mixed with dirt on my motherland).

Kind regards. - (talk) 06:20, 30 July 2013 (UTC).

If you want to have your entry taken seriously please stop stating that Russia breaks the rule of law in your edit, and google translation tool cannot by definition be a ref, you can use Russian language refs on wikipedia but not a raw google translation. I would suggest you open an account as that will help your case for making an edit on this subject, I am in favour of including a piece on Russia just not the one you have included. Thanks, ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 14:48, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

False and outdated information about Netherlands

I removed false infomation from the section on 'Netherlands', but the false information was subsequently re-instated with no explanation. The text that begins "Each coffee shop will, from 2012," is both false and outdated, please do not reinstate this information without explaining why this false information belongs in the article -- (talk) 11:36, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Overhaul the complete article

Here is my take, for what it's worth. First we decide whether this article is supposed to describe drug prohibition worldwide or not. Second we decide whether we want to compare and contrast different regions and cultures. Third, the entire structure needs to change. There are other main articles where the details should be. It drives me crazy to to see Main Article then five thousand words. For this article I would suggest a the definition of drugs from a legal standpoint to come first. To make the article a general approach, we need to start with tea and go to fentanyl. All have, at various times been prohibited or taxed.

The article is 50K. When it is combined with all the main articles we're probably looking at a third of million characters. This article is not supposed to be a book. I'm sure we can figure a way to conserve people's hard work, while streamlining the flow of the article. Waddaya think? Rhadow (talk) 02:50, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

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