People who have never experienced addiction often express some confusion on this issue. They feel that we, as current, recovering or ex-addicts, should be fighting against legalization. After all, drugs have wreaked havoc in our lives: Why on earth would we want them legal?
We want them legal for the same reason that few ex-alcoholics are in favor of banning booze. The legality of the substance is not the issue; the availability of it is. Prohibited or not, trillion-dollar drug war spend or not, drugs remain readily available all over the globe—in small towns, big cities, schools and even prisons.
A relapse isn’t something that can be prevented by legislation. But at least when alcoholics relapse they don’t risk death from drinking contaminated bathtub hooch. Many of the tangible harms of addiction come from the illegality of substances we use—the prohibitive cost, the uncertain quality and the legal risks involved in procuring our substance of choice.
You must know by now that the current approach has failed. A century of prohibition has resulted in a wider proliferation of drugs than ever, sold by criminal organizations so powerful and well funded that they hold the power to topple governments. This “war” has done nothing to stop people taking drugs. The only people who benefit are drug dealers and the profiteers in the prohibition industry.