Friday, June 5, 2009

"Nice People Take Drugs"

Nice People Take Drugs, is a new, British campaign by Release, "...the national centre of expertise on drugs and drug law...." In consideration of current laws, and specifically the "War on Drugs" as criminal offenses that require punishment, Release calls for a new paradigm, a new way of thinking about current drug problems. Instead of focusing on drug users as "bad" or seeing drug use as "evil," Release calls for a discussion about what is really needed to reduce drug use in society, specifically in Britain but with ramifications around the world.

Release is not the only group that approaches drug problems with a call for a renewed discussion about treatment instead of imprisonment. is an international organization that "...calls for an end to drug prohibition (e.g. some form of legalization), and its replacement with some sensible framework in which drugs can be regulated and controlled instead." This is neither unreasonable nor surprising given that the criminalization of drug users is not working to reduce drug use. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 which addresses the overall problems of incarceration, including reform of U.S. drug policy. For many years, Congressman Ron Paul has addressed the issues of drug policy and drug legalization. The Swiss have long realized that maintenance programs work while criminalization does not. Studies and policies from around the world demonstrate that a new discussion and perhaps a new paradigm is needed in order to address the problem of illegal drugs.

What I find most ironic about this, is, that "scheduled drugs" are routinely prescribed by doctors as well as being promoted by drug companies in magazines, on the web, and on television. I think it's about time that we realize that nice people do, in fact, take drugs. Once we truly grasp that idea, we may be able to actually have a discussion about drugs, addiction, criminalization, and treatment that offers workable solutions for all societies.