24 February 2009

Legalize Street Drugs, Save Billions

Gang war killings, murder and mayhem resulting from the black market dealing of street drugs seems to be the norm these days.

Rafe Mair, in his article, has expressed an often stated solution: de-criminalization or, better yet, legalization. He points out that alcohol, a legal drug, is the cause of untold damage.
Our society is, of course, as hypocritical as hell as it peddles well-advertised alcohol, the most dangerous of all drugs. The cost of alcohol to society is in the billions and even then things like broken homes, single parent families, costs to business operations and so on make it impossible to even come up with an educated guess at the real cost of booze to society. Yet no one seriously says we should go back to Prohibition and bring back the illegal stills, bootleggers, rum runners and dives or speakeasies that do so well when their product is illegal.

Yet we are inundated with with media stories about the destruction caused by the myriad facets of the illegal drug trade. Decriminalizing or legalizing would go a long way to solving such criminal activity.

Were we to sanction the sale of these substances, billions of dollars would be saved.
While estimates vary, the United Nations believes that the annual global sales of illicit drugs are between $450 billion and $750 billion. In Canada, the government's estimates of sales range from $7 billion to $18 billion.

An estimated 125,000 people in Canada inject drugs. The economic costs, including health care (for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis), lost productivity, property crime and enforcement, are estimated to exceed $5 billion annually.

Wouldn't the money be better spent on social programs, education or saving our environment rather than battling this losing war on drugs?

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