Let's Lock Up Casual Drug Users

Addicts need help, but casual users need jail: Monbiot
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2009 12:10 PM CDT
Brazil's federal police officers show drugs seized during anti-drug operations, in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, June 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
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(Newser) – The head of the UN drug and crime office recommended last week that casual drug use be decriminalized and said users "need medical help, not criminal prosecution." We should certainly help addicts, but casual users of marijuana and cocaine belong in jail, George Monbiot of the Guardian writes. They abet a brutal regime of murder, slavery, and environmental devastation: "You'd cause less human suffering if you went into the street and mugged someone."

Monbiot argues that global legalization of cocaine and even heroin, which are themselves less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, might end the brutality of the drug trade. But that won't be happening, thanks to the "testerics in Congress" and the UN—and that means even recreational users are fueling the murders and displacements of hundreds of thousands of people. "Informed adults should be allowed to inflict whatever suffering they wish on themselves," he contends. "But we are not entitled to harm other people." (Read more drug use stories.)