Mark Kleiman is making sense:
“For every complex problem,” H.L. Mencken wrote, “there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”
That is especially true of drug abuse and addiction. Indeed, the problem is so complex that it has produced not just one clear, simple, wrong solution but two: the “drug war” (prohibition plus massive, undifferentiated enforcement) and proposals for wholesale drug legalization.
Fortunately, these two bad ideas are not our only choices. We could instead take advantage of proven new approaches that can make us safer while greatly reducing the number of Americans behind bars for drug offenses.
Our current drug policies do far more harm than they need to do and far less good than they might, largely because they ignore some basic facts. Treating all “drug abusers” as a single group flies in the face of what is known as Pareto’s Law: that for any given activity, 20% of the participants typically account for 80% of the action.
Thank goodness for commentary that avoids straw men and phony binary choices.