The British Medical Journal (BMJ) Calls for an End to the “War on Drugs”

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A recent editorial in the British Medial Journal (the BMJ) has called for an end to the “War on Drugs”, which costs about $100 Billion/year and has failed to prevent both drug use and drug proliferation.

The article points out how the “War on Drugs”, the term used to collectively describe the laws penalizing drug use, has had a wide-range of negative effects. For example, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world and about half of those arrests are due to drug-related arrests.

The health effects have been drastic as well. Stigma against opioid replacement therapies like methadone has resulted in increased deaths due to opioid overdose in countries that limit access. Stigma and discrimination against addicts, as well of fear of punishment for for usage, often leads away from health care services to unsafe drug-use practices that can spread HIV and Hepatitis C, and other unintended poor-health outcomes.

Importantly, the editors call for rational, evidence-based, drug-specific approach to regulation and strong involvement of  the scientific and medical communities. Obviously, the risks of something like marijuana are much lower than for heroin but how will drug policy reflect this? Research is required to support any efforts in order to identify the best practices and strategies.

The editors point out that a recent article in the Lancet “concluded that governments should decriminalise minor drug offences, strengthen health and social sector approaches, move cautiously towards regulated drug markets where possible, and scientifically evaluate the outcomes to build pragmatic and rational policy.”

Above all, a change in drug policy must benefit human health and there will be no “one size fits all” approach. The road ahead is difficult but one thing is certain, the road that led us here is a dead end. The “War on Drugs” has failed; the call now is to develop a national and international drug policy that won’t.

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The Fall

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I always thought that I lived in a good country. Sure, America was never perfect but it was far from a horrible place to live. I thought people, for the most part, were generally decent. We may not always agree on the best course for the country, but respect for each other opinions and an open and honest discussion could always led to a compromise for the greater good. I thought people respected values like wisdom, knowledge, tolerance, decency, civility, inclusion, open-mindedness, desire to learn and improve ourselves and our country,  and a willingness to keep moving forward—hope—even in tough times, a common-belief that things only get better with time, that we are all working together towards a greater goal, a more perfect union.

After last night, I now know that none of those things are true.

It never once occurred to me that a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted, petulant, arrogant, chauvinistic, narcissistic, ill-tempered monster could even be running for the presidency, never mind have the remotest chance of winning it. How can this have happened? How is it that there are this many desperate, narrow-minded morons in this country? How can the people of this country have completely abandoned truth for racism and vague promises? I understand fear, I understand the sense of a loss of control over the present, I understand the sense of being left behind, but to abandon even the most basic commonsense, the most basic of our core values? That is something I do not understand.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. No one does because this demagogue, this proto-tyrant, never actually spoke about policy. All we can do now is wait. But I am not hopeful. I am fearful.

Yesterday, I saw America abandon reason for conspiracy theories and emotionalism. Desperation has overcome the American tradition of tolerance and social progression. Independent thought and an embrace of the truth are dead.

Fear has Trumped hope.

It’s raining in DC today, as if the city itself is weeping in anticipation of the coming terror. I weep along with. I weep for the Fall of American Greatness.