Thursday, June 15, 2006

A rational response to meth

It may be too late to inject rational thought into the meth debate with so many politicians and the press in a state of overwrought alarm over the "meth epidemic" but a new report by the Sentencing Project attempts to do just that. As Jack Schafer points out in Slate it's going to be a hard sell. And many will dismiss the report because it was funded by Soros, but it makes some good and valid points.

Meth is a problem. Always has been but the epidemic has been completely overstated and in a classic case of overreaction, it's become all but impossible to conveniently buy common cold remedies in a growing number of states while politicians tout stricter sentencing. Will it stop meth use? No. It may have some impact on home labs but they'll soon find some other cheap concoction to brew and meanwhile millions of innocent cold and allergy sufferers will be penalized for the addiction of a relatively few people.

But the single most important point is about the danger of false hype about the addictive nature of meth. It is not instantly addictive. People can and do use the drug without becoming hopeless addicts. This kind of scare tactic can only lead to more addicts, particularly among young people. If someone tries it and is not instantly addicted, they're more likely to be lulled into believing they can handle the drug and become inadvertently addicted.

This is no different than the so-called crack epidemic invented by the same players a couple of decades ago. That has been proven to be manufactured, just as this "epidemic" has been. It suits the needs of the prohibitionists who seek to perpetuate the war on some drugs but it diminishes us, rather than making us safer as a society, to buy into the fiction.

[hat tip Preston Peet]


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