What Would It Take to Make All Drugs Legal?
The narrative on drug use is changing, but it isn’t changing fast enough. Today’s teenagers have not grown up with school assemblies where teachers and students chanted “just say no” in unison or those “your brain on drugs” TV commercials with the fried egg, but they still live in a world where the criminal penalties for possessing many types of controlled substances are vastly out of proportion to the dangers a person causes to himself and to others by possessing or ingesting a single dose of those drugs. It isn’t just pseudonymous participants on discussion boards in dark corners of the Internet that think all drugs should become legal. Carl Hart, a Columbia University professor who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, thinks so, too. In his book Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, he describes a utopia in which all recreational drugs are safely regulated and free from stigma, and where people have access to treatment for the underlying causes of addiction. (Spoiler: drugs are not the real cause of drug addiction.) At least for the time being, Hart’s utopia is a long way from becoming a reality in Florida. The fate of people arrested for drug crimes ranges from harsh punishments that seem like they were meant to make an example of you in order to scare impressionable youngsters out of experimenting with drugs to more humane consequences aimed at treating people suffering from substance use disorder. Which one you get depends in part on the help of your Central Florida drug crimes defense lawyer.
Hart’s Vision of a Free Drug America
Carl Hart worked for more than 20 years as what he described as a “drug abuse scientist” before he ever took heroin. For the past five years, his own experiences with heroin, one of the drugs against which the strongest stigma remains, have been one of the factors that changed his ideas about what the real problem with drugs is in the United States, as well as about the solution to that problem. Here are some highlights from Hart’s GQ interview about the book:
- Most people who use drugs recreationally, even the drugs that have a potential for physiological dependence, do not become addicted. The real cause of addiction is underlying mental illnesses, psychological stress due to one’s life circumstances, or both. One key to preventing and treating addiction is access to quality health care for all.
- The social and legal stigma against drugs is rooted in racism. Branding some drugs, such as cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms as “natural” while branding others, like heroin, as “scary” only perpetuates this problem. In Hart’s view, it is possible for responsible adults to use any recreational drug safely.
- The regulation and packaging of alcohol can serve as an example for how other drugs can be sold for safe recreational use. You can’t die from drinking a bottle of wine; it would be irresponsible to sell wine bottles big enough to contain a fatal dose of alcohol. In Hart’s utopia, stores would sell heroin pills (yes, Hart believes that injecting heroin is dangerous but taking it orally is not) strong enough to produce a euphoric effect but not enough to cause an overdose. They would come with warnings not to mix them with sedatives.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
A Florida drug offense lawyer can help you avoid harsh penalties if you get charged with drug possession before more enlightened drug laws go into effect. Contact FL Drug Defense Group for help today.