MovieChat Forums > Veronica Guerin (2003) Discussion > Drug problem didn't have to get that bad

Drug problem didn't have to get that bad

I apologize for the length of this post.
Many folks seem unable to understand this, but the dreadful problems depicted in this movie, with youngsters abusing drugs and the business of supplying them controlled by such despicable people, are the direct result of the laws and policies of the nations involved.
When you outlaw something that people want, be it gambling, sex with someone you are willing to pay, or various drugs, you will obviously not make any of those things vanish. But by making them criminal offenses, you remove the possibility of any government regulating the safety or quality of them, and you remove the likelihood that decent people will risk punishment to be involved in supplying them.
You make it most likely that such a business will attract people willing to risk prison for the profits that are increased because of that risk factor, and who are willing to use violence to defend their business, violence being their only recourse due to them operating outside the law. The artificially increased profits also create the likelihood of money being shared with corruptible legal authorities to reduce the risk of prosecution.
You also end up with thousands upon thousands of people with criminal records, making them less employable regardless of their skills or training, whose "crime" was debatable judgment in their choice of intoxicants.
We saw all these things with alcohol prohibition, but evidently learned nothing from that disastrous "noble experiment".
To be sure, drug abuse is a serious health problem. Treating a health problem via the criminal justice system is at best a peculiar and extremely expensive approach that is clearly a total failure. And the answer is not the wishy-washy partial reduction of jail sentences or any such tepid approach.
The only approach that has any chance of truly improving the situation is getting the government out of the business of chasing and punishing adults for their choices of what they wish to ingest. That means teaching children what each of the various chemicals will actually do, honestly; regulating and reasonably taxing the production and sales of whatever adults wish to consume (such taxes will easily pay for educating the kids); the taxes will also cover the costs of helping those adults who will inevitably overdo their intake. The massive tax savings of reduced police, prosecution and jailing will also be welcome by most people. Also, this would not mean not punishing people for providing kids with things they should not have, nor suddenly allowing other irresponsible behaviors, such as driving under the influence.
Some will suggest that if we end prohibition, we'll see a massive increase in drug abuse. I'd ask whether you would suddenly choose to abuse various drugs, and if not, why do you think everyone else would? But we indeed might see some increase, just as we see many young people from repressive homes go haywire when they first go off to the relative freedom of college. And sorry, but I'd say that a modest increase of people messing up would be an unfortunate but not unacceptable price to pay for the massive reduction in violence and other crime that would very definitely result from taking the drug trade out of the clutches of the criminals who we've put in charge because of prohibition.

I have seen enough to know I have seen too much. -- ALOTO