Truth: Drug War Casualty

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Drug War Casualty: Truth and Honest Debate


In all wars, truth is a casualty. The drug war is no exception. Consider how much the prohibitionists have poisoned the debate. Any advocate of legalization is questioned for his motives. If you oppose the drug war, you must support drug use or use it yourself. It is no different from the smearing of all war opponents as supporters for the enemy regime.


And so when you question the drug war, you are supposed to do all you can to condemn drugs and make it clear that you hate them as much as the next guy. You are not supposed to question the propaganda itself. You are not supposed to say that, while there are real risks and dangers, we should dispassionately assess them and not succumb to hysteria. You are not supposed to say most of the war propaganda is a lie.


Mere scientific interest in the ins and outs of drug interaction with the body is, in fact, seen as some sort of subversive tendency, rather than in an honest curiosity about the very legitimate science of pharmacology. And its importance as a science is one that transcends the drug debate, since it has been through the study of drugs that we learned so much about our brains and biology in the first place. There would be no understanding of endorphins had it not been for the discovery of morphine. We know much more about the brain because of marijuana than we would have otherwise. This is a very important area of inquiry, and the freedom to conduct drug research is yet another casualty of the drug war.


All drugs are poisons, as was explained by Paracelsus, the 16th century founder of modern pharmacology. All drugs are poisons. Most can be very dangerous, and most can have potential benefits. The question is dosage and context.


Internationally, controversy over drugs goes back centuries. In Muslim culture, the question of whether coffee consumption was consistent with the Koran emerged in the early 16th century.


In American culture, drugs began inspiring hysteria in the late 19th century. Before that, you could buy cocaine at the store. Today, tens of billions are spent to ensure it has to be bought at the street corner and in parks.


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