Suggested Reading: "What do young people gain from drug use?"


The war on drugs is lost, despite all of the best efforts of law enforcement and law makers around the world and untold hundreds of billions of dollars, it has accomplished nothing except for filling prisons at a cost to taxpayers of billions of dollars annually and an incalculable social cost.

One of the many reasons that the war on drugs failed is that the people who put together the anti-drug campaigns do not seem to have ever once asked themselves "why do people use drugs"? At least in the many anti-drug ads I've come across, I've never seen any evidence that anyone involved ever considered what positive things people, especially young people, got from drug use.

Most ad campaigns never strayed far from the "Reefer Madness" model. They said, or at least implied, that drugs were like a waking nightmare from the word go. So, it was a bit like beginning a debate with an obvious lie just to make sure that you had no credibility from the start.

A recent article in the Conversation, a site written by academics from the UK and Australia, takes a look at the available evidence and the studies that have been done on the subject. You should have a look at "What do young people gain from drug use?":
"These social science studies should not be misconstrued as being uncritical of young people’s drug use. They carefully describe the sometimes serious problems that drugs can create in young lives: a sense of stigma, problems with school and family, poor mental health, involvement in crime and vulnerability to assault and overdose. Also, any cultural capital gained through drug use is unlikely to be recognised as such in wider social circles. But if we hope to manage the harms associated with illicit drugs, it is necessary to acknowledge that young people gain something from their drug use and that stopping drug use entails a loss for them."
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