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A Question for ‘Drug Warriors’

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 9, 2014 @ 11:05 pm In Civil Society | Comments Disabled

It’s common for proponents of the so-called “war on drugs” to justify drug prohibition by pointing to a real offense – such as a rape, a robbery, a fatal traffic accident, or an incidence of domestic violence – committed by someone under the influence of a prohibited substance: “Do you want more of this?!,” the prohibitionists ask rhetorically.

Forget here that many (most?) of the non-victimless offenses blamed on the use of prohibited drugs are artifacts of the prohibition on the sale and use of those drugs rather than natural or inevitable results of commerce in, and use of, the drugs themselves.  Focus now instead on this report on what is at best grotesque negligence by the DEA [1].  Read this short report.  Reflect upon its significance.  Do the best that you can to empathize with Daniel Chong.  If you have children, ask yourself how you would feel if what happened to Mr. Chong happened to your son or daughter.  (Ask this question even under the assumption that your son or daughter is indeed guilty of the offense that the DEA charged Mr. Chong with committing.)

Now ask if and to what extent this sort of cruelty committed by a government agency charged with fighting the “war on drugs” should be acceptable in a civil and supposedly free society.

If anecdotes about James-the-Joint-Roller losing his job because he was high one day, or Colleen-the-Coke-Babe robbing a convenience store to get money to buy a few snorts of white powder, are good arguments for expending great effort to eliminate the substances that allegedly provoked these offenses, then why isn’t such an anecdote as reported above (at the link) about an atrocious offense committed by the DEA a good argument for eliminating the substance (the “war on drugs”) that provoked this atrocity?

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[1] this report on what is at best grotesque negligence by the DEA: http://www.wtop.com/209/3658906/DEA-did-nothing-Man-left-in-cell-5-days

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