Most people don’t oppose drugs — so leave them the hell alone

BRATTLEBORO — If we lived in a civilized country, we would not have criminalized marijuana or any other drug.

Drug criminalization indicates a sociopolitical mental-health problem. You see, it's normal for humans to consume drugs. It is not normal to criminalize and institutionalize our citizens because of drug use.

The only time drug use should be criminalized is when a drug is explicitly used in the commission of a “real” crime of deliberate or reckless acts of a violent or dangerous nature.

The fact that a minority of people might have problems episodically with drugs is also within the bounds of normalcy.

On the other hand, it's also quite normal that a majority of people do not have problems with drugs and are, in fact, responsible, hard-working people. So what do we do with the majority? Leave them the hell alone.

When members of a society, however, fail to understand the problems inherent in prohibition and prevention and turn their proscription mentally into enforcement, their particular pathology is more of a problem than the drugs they prohibit.

Whether any mental health professional agrees, most people use drugs to feel good, not to treat something that ails them. For the majority, it is a proactive feel-good intention, not a dependency syndrome. And, left to their own devices, people who might have a problem with drugs would most often turn to a doctor themselves without being dragged through the criminal-justice system.

Indeed, many people with drug issues like abuse or addiction will seek their own levels of personal and communal resolution, without forced intervention by authorities.

Moreover, the people who teach that drug use is equated with drug abuse and who advocate or enforce zero-tolerance should recuse themselves from public involvement. They are not qualified to engage communities about what is best for them.

Particularly, if prohibitionists do not understand normal human behaviors, they will do more harm than good. Zero-tolerance and its one-size-fits-all thinking should be relegated to individuals making that personal choice but not forced onto the personal-choice decisions of all people.

We have a failure to allow adults to be responsible for their own actions. Isn't that the legal point of being an adult?

The necessity and common sense of legalizing all drugs is simply because drugs should never have been prohibited and criminalized in the first place.

To boot, the “Carrie Nation” people responsible for prohibition and criminalization of adult possession and personal use of drugs should have their heads examined by a qualified mental-health professional and kept under close observation.

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