In a meeting with many behavioral health and public safety representatives, there was a discussion had about expanding the group to include those who do not usually take part in discussions about substance use. As the discussion was wrapping up, there was a suggestion that a group called the Drug Policy Alliance be included in the discussion. Most had heard of this group but there were some who had never heard of them. The Drug Policy Alliance is a group funded by George Soros and advocates for the legalization of all drugs. They have been instrumental in many campaigns across the country to legalize marijuana and have been introducing legislation to legalize LSD “medically” in Arizona.
Some might say that legalizing and regulating drugs would be a smart way to manage the current crisis that we are in. Vice, the news program and online news magazine, recently came out and said that we should legalize heroin to stop the opioid epidemic. Their arguments are that we could regulate heroin and make it less available than through street dealers.
However, as we look at two of the most regulated industries in this country – alcohol and prescription drugs – we can see that regulation does not exactly work as groups like the Drug Policy Alliance describes. In the US, regular marijuana use is around 12% while alcohol use is over 50%. Since legalizing and “regulating” marijuana, the use of the drug is also increasing.
Also, we must remember that with regulation, the idea of capitalism is not far behind. We have seen this with prescription drug manufacturers pushing opioids on doctors and patients through slick marketing campaigns and sales pitches. We see this now with marijuana.
Let’s be real about “regulating” drugs – when there is regulation, there is commercialization. We must be wary and continue to fight against the commercialization of drugs, as these marketers prey upon those with substance use disorders and children. We have to continue to fight for good public health policies that include prevention, treatment, drug courts, recovery and other systems that make our society and communities safer and healthier without creating an industry that will market these products and focus on profits.
Prevention Action Alliance
June 23, 2017