George Schulz agrees with the obvious solution to the drug problem

George Schulz agrees that we should consider decriminalizing drugs and treating abuse as a health problem.

Nextbigfuture has held this view for a few decades. The US war on drugs was and is stupid and screws up the countries to the south that end up supplying it. It also provides money to problem areas in Afghanistan.

As I [George Schulz] have thought about this pressing and highly charged issue over the years, my attitude has become considerably more insistent that drug abuse should be treated as a health problem. We should carefully study the experiences of other countries with decriminalization—as distinct from simple legalization—of drugs.

How costly is this war on drugs? A good friend of mine, Nobel Laureate in Economics Gary Becker, and his colleagues estimated in 2005 that the direct costs are over $100 billion annually in police services, court time, effort spent on offenders, and imprisonment—a minimum of about $40,000 per year per prisoner. Becker notes that this estimate does not include “intangible costs, such as the destructive effects on many inner city neighborhoods, the use of the American military to fight drug lords and farmers in Colombia and other nations, or the corrupting influence of drugs on many governments.”

The war on drugs that has been waged in the United States for over forty years now has failed, just as our national experiment with the prohibition of alcohol failed.

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