papa, in re to decriminalization
no, you aren't jailing users. but you aren't making all substances available on demand either.
Actually, in the US, decriminalization means making certain offenses that were formerly misdemeanors or felonies, into a "violation." A violation is a "minor" offense where...
- the accused does not have any guarantee of lawyer. In contrast to a midemeanor or felony, if he is too poor to afford a lawyer, too bad.
- a person convicted of a violation can get up to a $1000 fine or a year in jail
In short, decriminalization means (1) the accused can be thrown in jail for a year, and-or fined $1000, without ever having access to, or representation by, a lawyer. (2) If the person is fined $1000 and doesn't pay, he can be thrown in jail for a year, instead, or kept in jail for up to a year, until he pays.
No-one knows how decriminalization would work out in actual practice. Very likely, we would see an extension of the current practice of people being told that if they get "medical" help, they can avoid jail time. However as it stands, this medical help is now largely a ploy for certain psychologists and social workers to get large salaries, doing busy-work, supposedly helping people "get off drugs," but in reality, and as shown by their own statistics, not really offering much real help to the person who wants to get off drugs. Even the best "rehabilitation" programs have very low success rates, despite their having very low standards for "demonstrating" success. The "cost-effective" programs that government is more likely to pay for, or help you pay for, if you don't have enough financial resources to afford such services by yourself - are even worse.
I also wanted to let everyone know that when I applied for a job as a customer service telephone representative, at a computer help desk, I had to pass a drug test before I could be allowed to do the work. When I applied for a job driving a taxi, I got the job without ever having to pass a drug test. Had to pass a vision test though.
It seems to me, you can be reasonably assured, that the person you speak to on the phone, to get help with your computer problem, is not on drugs. On the other hand, the person that drives you home from the bar, when you feel that perhaps you may be too drunk to drive yourself, is likely to be driving while under the influence of heroin, cannibis, or pcp's.
Personally, I think we should make possession of most of the currently illegal drugs, entirely legal, similar to the way caustic drain cleaners and septic tank treatments, are legal. Lye is a major ingredient in many drain cleaners. Like some drugs, too much lye, an "overdose" of lye, if you will, will cause nasty injuries, or death. Yet a single retail unit of drain cleaner, as commonly sold in supermarket household product shelves, contains enough lye to kill several people. We are trusted to use it safely. And again, like some drugs, despite the fact that too much lye can harm you, there is, at the same time, a safe dose, that can help you. For example, the same lye used in drain cleaners, is commonly added to pharmaceutical products (eye drops, for example) to adjust the pH and make them less irritating. Put the right amount of lye in your eye, and it is soothing. Put the wrong amount of lye in your eye - it will be excrutiatingly painful and will blind you.
In addition to making these drugs legal, I would also suggest, that at the same time, we work on research into ways we can help people, who use them regularly, and who either want to (1) stop, (2) increase or reduce their dose, (3) continue taking a drug they are in the habit of taking, but do so with least harm (and perhaps most benefit) to themselves, and others, as a result. I am not talking about simply giving money to "professionals" who claim they can help. I am talking about doing research to see what helps, whom it helps, and how much, whether it is a form of self-help, or one form of professional help or another. And people need to be able to choose for themselves, the kind of help they believe is best for them - if any. This "get medical help or we will throw you in jail" thing, is a lot of baloney.