Towards a Culture of Responsible Psychoactive Drug Use
by Earth and Fire Erowid
In their lead essay, Earth and Fire Erowid stress the importance of developing responsible, fully informed relationships toward psychoactive drugs. Although drug prohibition has persisted for decades, the overwhelming majority of adults have tried at least one illegal drug, and these substances aren’t going away any time soon. Sadly, prohibition itself has stunted our knowledge of these substances, and, as in so many things, ignorance is both dangerous and irresponsible. Provocatively, they criticize even the word “drugs” as a tag for illegal psychoactives: Lumping them all together, they write, betrays a lack of understanding of their vastly different effects, risk profiles and – yes – benefits.
Is Responsible Drug Use Possible?
by Jonathan Caulkins
Jonathan Caulkins argues that the responsible use of psychoactive drugs is an overstretched concept, if by “psychoactive drugs” we mean everything from caffeine to heroin. In many cases, he argues, temperance may be the only responsible “use” of a given substance.
Further, state prohibitions on pleasurable but risky acts are hardly confined to this area of law; their violation is not a genuine form of civil disobedience as long as pleasure itself is the real goal of the act. And the risks remain regardless. Duly enacted laws in a democracy deserve far more respect than this, and following the law is a part of the responsibility of all citizens.
by Jacob Sullum
Jacob Sullum notes that temperance and abstinence have been wrongly conflated, and that the Aristotelian view of temperance encompassed all of the moderate, reasoned, and honorable pleasures of life. He reiterates that virtually everyone uses psychoactive drugs of one kind or another, and that the overwhelming majority of use is responsible. He challenges the notion that the state has any interest in the private actions of individuals that do not harm anyone else, and he terms the impulse to protect people from themselves “unethical” and “an open-ended rationale for government intervention that logically leads to totalitarianism.”
Drug Policy in Principle, and in Practice
by Mark Kleiman
Mark Kleiman takes up a theme already addressed by the other participants, namely the distinctions to be found within the catchall category “illegal drugs.” He notes that the risk profiles, motivations for use, and public health considerations of these substances are so far removed from one another that it may make no sense to continue to treat them as similar in public policy. Given the choice between full legalization and the status quo, he would choose the status quo, but, he argues, these alternatives should not be the only ones we consider.
- Comments on Integrating Use into Life, Civil Disobedience by Jonathan Caulkins
- What’s Wrong with Pleasure? by Jacob Sullum
- Taxation and Specific Prohibition by Mark Kleiman
- A License to Drink? by Jacob Sullum
- Reductio ad Absurdum by Mark Kleiman
- Not an Argument for Legalization by Earth and Fire Erowid
- Mark, Mill, and Me on Sin Taxes by Jacob Sullum
- Realistic Policy Proposals Versus Hypotheticals by Jonathan Caulkins
- Prohibition and Black-and-White Thinking Go Hand in Hand by Jacob Sullum
- Be Realistic about How Much Information Alone Changes Behavior by Jonathan Caulkins
- Pot Smokers for Prohibition by Jacob Sullum
- 25 Million Wrongs Don’t Make a Right by Jonathan Caulkins
- Against the Ban on Cannabis Smoking; for the Ban on Cannabis Commerce by Mark Kleiman
- Drug Information Isn’t Just for “Druggies” by Earth and Fire Erowid
- Public Health Promotion is OK by Jonathan Caulkins
- Politicians with Pot Problems by Jacob Sullum
- Best of the Blogs: Responsible Drug Use by The Editors