Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hard Choices, session 8

I'm taking a course at Denver University, Hard Choices in Public Policy. The instructor is former Colorado governor Richard Lamm.

This week's class was on the War on Drugs.

Culture wars now in the schools. No consensus of what moral values should be taught. Examples: Christopher Columbus, belief in God, is America "uniquely superior", chastity.

There's a need for consensus values.

Is war the right metaphor?

Drugs are a $500 Billion industry.


The town of Christiana, Denmark apparently has no restrictions on drugs. Everything's legal.

Addiction is a health issue, not a criminal one.

Law of supply and demand. Our drug policy is a boomerang - everything we do comes back to hurt us.

No government credibility on drugs.

More people leave prison addicted than enter prison addicted.

60% of federal prisoners are there because of the war on drugs; 25% of state prisoners.

Least harm alternative.

13% of users are black; 63% of inmates are black.

Substance abuse costs $2941 per person to treat and yields a benefit of $9177.

4 Options: 1) Legalize; 2) Decriminalize; 3) Harm Reduction; 4) Law Enforcement.

We spend $20 on law enforcement for every $1 on treatment.

Number one reason kids do drugs is because of peer pressure.

Robin Williams: paraphrase: "Cocaine is Gods way of telling you you have too much money."

Side Issues: Needle Exchange, Bigamy, Prostitution, Porn.

Values. Why aren't people responsible? Nanny State.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


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