So, with the understanding that we are all on the same side of this issue, namely we all want to reduce drug abuse and all of the harm and misery that accompanies it, I have made a list of the top 10 goals that I think we are trying to accomplish in this area, in order of importance. See if you agree. They are:
1. Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children;
2. Stop or materially reduce the violence that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs, especially to police officers and innocent by-standers;
3. Stop or materially reduce the corruption of public officials, individual people and companies, and especially children that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs;
4. Stop or materially reduce crime both by people trying to get money to purchase drugs and by those under the influence of drugs;
5. Stop or materially reduce the flow of drugs into our country;
6. Reduce health risks to people who use drugs;
7. Maintain and reaffirm our civil liberties;
8. Reduce the number of people we must put into our jails and prisons;
9. Stop or materially reduce the flow of guns out of our country and into countries south of our border;
10. Increase respect for our laws and institutions.
You might want to replace one of these goals with another, or readjust the order, but I anticipate that most people would basically agree with those top 10 goals. Please give it some thought.
Now please give the subject some further thought, because I genuinely believe that treating the manufacture and sale of these drugs just like we treat alcohol — for adults — will actually accomplish each of those goals, and that pursuing our present policy of drug prohibition will never accomplish any of them.