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The World's Best Drug Laws
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What are the best and worst countries to live in if you're a drug user? What is a really good set of drug...What are the best countries to call home if you take drugs? It’s a simple question on the surface, but one fraught with complexities. For many people, the best country in...
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The World's Best Drug Laws

Tony O Neill, The Fix

Miércoles 8 de agosto de 2012 (13/05/13)
ver en thefix.com

What are the best and worst countries to live in if you're a drug user? What is a really good set of drug laws, anyway? One man's view: as provocative and contentious as you'd expect.




What are the best countries to call home if you take drugs? It’s a simple question on the surface, but one fraught with complexities. For many people, the best country in the world might be one that has successfully managed to prevent drugs from being available to its citizens. But since such a place doesn't exist, and never will—not even within the walls of a prison—this list considers the question from the perspective of harm reduction.

Penalizing drug users for their habits does little to curb levels of use or improve the lot of addicts; the mushrooming HIV crisis in punitive Russia is a perfect example. So where are people who use drugs least likely to end up in harsh criminal justice systems? Where can users access their drugs of choice without having to take risks in dangerous environments? And where can they get on with their lives without stigma, secrecy and shame—whether or not they ultimately decide to get clean?

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The Five Best Countries to Live in if You're a Drug User

And Number 1: USA Who’s number one? WE are! Don't believe me? It’s quite simple: having some of the most regressive drug laws in the world makes no difference to the average American drug user. Though Nancy Reagan urged us to “Just say no,” it seems most of us decided to say yes instead. Drugs of all descriptions—from marijuana, to speed, to crack, to heroin—are widely available in every major American city, from Baltimore to Los Angeles. Not only that; they're also cheap and potent. Like a meth-crazed rhino taking on a lithe judo master, what we lack in harm-reduction-and-compassion finesse we "make up for" by sheer power of consumption. A recent study in PLoS Medicine concludes that the US leads the way internationally when it comes to getting wasted. Whatever your drug of choice, you’ll find more users here per capita than almost anywhere else in the world. More users means more supply, and—in that all-American adage—more competition is always good for the consumer. And if illegal drugs aren’t your bag, don't worry: we also have skyrocketing rates of prescription drug abuse, thanks to our habit of massively over-dispensing powerful Rx narcotics. Sixteen million Americans took a prescription drug for recreational purposes in 2009 alone. And tomorrow could get druggier still: the NIDA-funded 2010 report Monitoring the Future claimed that “2.7% of 8th graders, 7.7% of 10th graders, and 8.0% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin and 2.1% of 8th graders, 4.6% of 10th graders, and 5.1% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for non-medical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.” And that’s saying nothing of the slow but inexorable liberalization of marijuana laws, with local growers in California and Colorado producing some of the finest weed on the planet. So despite the efforts of Nancy and Ronald, Harry J. Anslinger, Above the Influence, Fix interviewee Gil Kerlikowske and DARE, we can proudly say that this is something we kind of lead the world in.

The Five Worst Countries to Live in if You're a Drug User

1. USA We’re a schizophrenic lot, aren't we? Remember that freak-out over Janet Jackson's nipple? Yet we produce and consume some of the most extreme pornography in the world. Our placing on both of these lists is another example of our "flexibility." As well as having the best drugs, the most drugs and the most drug users, we also shamefully lead the world for our level of drug-related imprisonment. Ever since President Nixon kicked off the whole “War on Drugs” thing, the US has excelled at imprisoning non-violent, low-level drug offenders. As a result, the "land of the free," home to 5% of the world’s population, holds 25% of the world's prison population—with incarcerated addicts paying the penalty for a lack of available treatment or harm-reduction programs. And that’s to say nothing of the race bias inherent in these numbers. Since 1980 the number of US drug prisoners has rocketed from 41,000 to 500,000. And the worst part? It hardly seems to matter if the Republicans or the Democrats are in charge: they’re all seemingly addicted to this cruel, self-defeating war.

ver en thefix.com


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