Before engaging Michael Gerson’s idiotic views on drug legalization Matt writes, “but it seems to me that the costs of full heroin legalization would far exceed the benefits.”
To be fair Matt also writes “I suppose you could talk me out of this view.”
OK. Here goes.
The costs associated with the criminalization have to start by calculating the fear in neighborhoods where the drug sales thrive.
People say that they used to be able to discipline their neighbors’ kids. They say everything changed in the 80’s with crack. And what changed was that those kids that the adults used to talk to started carrying weapons BECAUSE their jobs selling drugs were illegal. So, not only are the kids murdering each other, many children aren’t playing outside and the ones that do play outside are at risk for being swallowed up by street culture and dropping out, elderly aren’t going for walks let alone opening their curtains or hanging out on porches and people have retreated, homeowners have moved, homes abandoned, empty lots spring up and housing prices have plummeted.
The young men that are caught and do prison time come back out of jail and can’t get a job because of their record and are therefor less likely to take their place as a husband in a family so the incidence of single teen moms stays high, if not rises. The social fabric of the community is frayed as the illegal activity gnaws away at trust and social institutions and spreads stress throughout the neighborhood. This stress is a major factor working against the social determinants of health. There’s currently an epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure in neighborhoods with illegal drug activity.
Matt says that the full cost of legalization might exceed the benefits. Well, somebody should do the math because the situation is life and death in the status quo.No tag for this post.