End the War on Drugs

18 October 2010 11:42:00

Are you sitting at home anxiously waiting for drugs to be de-criminalised before embarking on a major drugs binge? Unlikely I am sure, yet that is the view that government holds.

Most people who want to take drugs already do – and for the record I am not and never have been one of them.

The War on Drugs joins the war on poverty and the war on obesity as the state continues to be at war against its citizens.

At the heart of all these wars is the belief that the state knows best how to manage your life. The Libertarianz is a party of optimists who believe in you and not the state to be the best manager of your life. Fundamental to that belief is that you can choose what substances to ingest.

The so-called War on Drugs has much in common with the criminalisation of consenting homosexual behaviour until 1986. At the time of the homosexual law reform debate it was predicted the number of homosexuals would explode and as with most hysterical campaigns, facts were ignored and replaced by hype.

For those that say this is an impossible scenario, here are some facts on what happened in Portugal when they decriminalised drugs:

The independent Cato Institute found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized:

  • Drug use among teens (which was still illegal) declined 28%
  • The number of people being treated for drug addiction rose 146%
  • Deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half

It is hard to estimate the scale of drug use in countries where it is illegal because people are afraid to report. Based on the rates of drug users in treatment in Portugal, there would only be 91 in Mana. The hysterical view that there is an “epidemic” of drug use in NZ is false.

If a real crime against property or person is committed while under the influence of drugs the drugs should not be used to mitigate the crime. Similarly for health and safety reasons, an employer should be able to test their employees’ capabilities to ensure no harmful effects of drugs are passed on to innocent parties.

The irony is real crime is lightly punished and criminal gangs profit from drugs being made illegal. Criminal gangs are housed by Housing New Zealand at taxpayer expense, jails are crammed full with otherwise innocent people who simply chose to use a product that others have a hysterical reaction to, and the state is able to use violence against its citizens fighting an imaginary war that it can never win.

Sean Fitzpatrick is the Libertarianz candidate for the Mana By-Election.

For more information, please contact:

Sean Fitzpatrick
Libertarianz Deputy Leader
Phone: 021 1699 281
Email: [email protected]

Libertarianz: More Freedom, Less Government
www.libertarianz.org.nz