Originally posted by whodey
What makes you say such a thing other than what you believe?
Because it's true. It would obviously reduce the deaths involved in gang wars over illegal drug sales, but it would make the product safer as well:
8. Legal drugs would be safer. Legalization is a consumer protection issue.
Because "controlled substances" are illegal, the drug trade today lacks many of the consumer safety features common to other markets: instruction sheets, warning labels, product quality control, manufacturer accountability. Forcing products underground makes those products, including drugs, more dangerous than if the products were manufactured by reputable firms.
Nobody denies that currently illegal drugs can be dangerous. But so can aspirin, countless other over-the-counter drugs and common household items; yet the proven hazards of matches, modeling glue and lawn mowers are not used as reasons to make them all illegal.
Practically anything can kill if used in certain ways. Like heroin, salt can make you sick or dead if you take enough of it. The point is to learn what the threshold is, and to keep below it. That many things can kill is not a reason to prohibit them all--it is a reason to learn how to handle these products and provide the desired safety instructions. The same goes for drugs. Today, there are instructions for the use of virtually every product, and recourse through the courts for damages caused by any product including drugs.
Today's drug consumer literally doesn't know what he's buying. The stuff is so valuable that sellers have an incentive to "cut" (dilute) the product with foreign substances that look like the real thing. Most street heroin is only 3 to 6 percent pure; street cocaine, 10 to 15 percent. Since purity varies greatly, consumers can never be really sure how much to take to produce the desired effects. If one is accustomed to 3 percent heroin and takes a 5 percent dose, suddenly you've nearly doubled your intake. Reputable drug manufacturers offering drugs on the open market are driven by different incentives than pushers. They rely on name-brand recognition to build market share, and on customer loyalty to maintain it. There would be a powerful incentive to provide a product of uniform quality: killing customers or losing them to competitors is not a proven way to success. Today, dealers can make so much from a single sale that there is no incentive to cultivate a clientele. In fact, police make it imperative to make the sale fast and move on --- hell with the customers.
Pushers don't provide labels or instructions, let alone mailing addresses. The illegal nature of the business makes such things unnecessary or dangerous to the enterprise. After legalization, pharmaceutical companies could safely try to win each other's customers, and guard against liability suits with better information and more reliable products.
Even pure heroin on the open market would be safer than today's impure drugs. As long as customers know what they're getting and what it does, they can adjust their dosages to obtain the intended effect safely. INFORMATION is the best protection against the potential hazards of drugs or any other product. Legalizing drugs would promote consumer health and safety.