New drugs. The new substances are wrinkling on the forehead of many politicians and drug experts. Maybe rightly so, but banning them won't solve anything. On the contrary - the ban on other drugs was at the beginning of everything.
Sometimes I am surprised by the way some Czech politicians think (sometimes?), police officers (sometimes?) and various anti-drug experts (sometimes?).
Well, just think - they appeared so-called. "Amsterdam shops," shops where new, synthetic substances are sold as various "gift items" with which people can substitute for the use of today's illicit drugs.
Instead of really tackling the drug problem, pours gasoline into the fire.
New synthetic drugs are potentially more dangerous substancesthan "classic" drugs. We don't know them, they're new substances. Who needs to produce and sell something like this? Where did the motive for the development of new drugs originate?
The answer is simple - in the UN Declaration on the International Fight against Drugs, which has become a cornerstone of the elite drug policy of most countries in the world. Why elitist?
The "banned drug" label was de facto awarded to a few selected substances. This designation was not given to alcohol or tobacco products (ie tobacco), sugar, chocolate and many other de facto drugs.
These "unlabeled" drugs are at a severe disadvantage compared to illicit drugs.
The ban on some drugs has led to one thing - an increase in the number of addicts and an increase in drug prices. The risk of trading and transaction costs have increased. Entry into the sector is very limited and difficult due to the ban. There is no competition in drug sales. Drug cartels have emerged.
The word "cartel" captures the essence of the problem - a cartel is an association of traders who have decided to cooperate and set prices on the market (to their advantage) - that is, to increase prices and thus achieve economic profit.
But, unfortunately, in the free market, the cartel has no chance of surviving in the long run - simply because the law of supply and demand applies: at artificially high prices, it always pays to jerk someone from the cartel and set a real lower price (lower nominal price or higher quality for the same nominal price) and thus gain more customers.
The only cartel that has a chance to survive is a cartel sanctified and protected by law. That is why the banking cartel has been operating for many years without any major shock (jerking a larger bank). This is exactly the association with the drug cartel.
Due to the higher risk and the difficulty of entering the industry, only those sellers who have been there for a long time are on the drug market. New competition is finding it difficult for the industry. The system of competition does not work, so there are increased prices, higher profits of sellers.
Dear politicians, go to the parents whose children have died from drug use and explain to them that thanks to your ban, the leaders of drug cartels are building golden palaces paid for by the death of their children.
What about the buyer?
Buyers have a classic problem of moral hazard - they do not fully bear the cost of their actions. They enjoy the positive effects of drugs, but we pay for any treatment. I am not saying that solidarity is bad. I believe that there would be a large number of people (or companies) who would contribute to various "charitable" treatments for addicts. After all, there would certainly be a lot of drug producers within the framework of "social responsibility" programs, who would also be among these donors.
Addicted users are the worst advertising for drug dealers.
We see the second effect of moral hazard in parents. Parents often do not have information, do not care, do not see any symptoms of addiction. They do not even look for information, they do not take care of their children, because they throw possible problems at school (because today's school is a state institution that educates, does not teach) and the state (which finances treatment). There is always someone "third" who can be held accountable.
Today, parents are usually more likely to notice that their child is smoking cigarettes than fetishizing. It is sad.
I am not saying that legalizing drugs would make addicts disappear. But it would be they who would primarily bear the cost of drug use.
Many of you may think that these addicted users would walk the streets and steal. That is, of course, quite possible, however, it would not be to a greater extent than today. For several reasons:
- Drugs would actually be cheaper. Competition in the industry leads to lower nominal prices, increased real quality and, in the long run, both.
We immediately have a second consequence - quality "pure" drugs not mixed with plaster (for example) are less harmful to health. The state drug ban is responsible for many dead users. At the same time, the most inexperienced are those who try the drug once in a lifetime - they do not have their "known sellers", so they are more likely to buy a low-quality drug, which can cost them their lives.. The state is responsible for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dead people. Here it is no longer a question of economics, but a question of morality: is this moral?
- There would be fewer addicts - as mentioned above, drugs would be of better quality, less dangerous. Drug users would also bear the cost of their actions - there might be more "single users" but fewer addicts.
- People should have relevant information. For example, schools would not provide "drug education," but "drug education." The current "drug education," usually state-funded, is usually of such quality that makes drugs quite popular.
- Parents would take more care of their children, because in their "immaturity" they would bear the costs of their children's actions.
So the situation would certainly not be worse than it is today. However, compared to today, it would cost us much less money.
By the way, for example in the case of alcohol (despite a high degree of state regulation, where the state often owns most of the profits from sales), the free market has led to research to bring alcohol from which it is quickly sober and after which there is simply not (and cannot be) a hangover ( which, however, is not unrealistic even with the current offer).
And what about the new drugs?
So why are the "new drugs" being created? We actually answered right at the beginning - due to the higher price of old drugs. Thanks to the ban, the offer for new drugs is almost preserved, but high price, which brings obviously high economic profit, attracts other bidders to offer a cheaper alternative, a suitable substitute for conventional drugs. It doesn't have to be better, demand is also provided by the state thanks to the ban on conventional drugs, public education and socialist health care (the effect of moral hazard).
The artificially preserved higher price of conventional drugs leads to an artificially higher price even for artificial, still legal "new drugs" - despite this lower price, bidders can achieve higher profits than on the free market.
However, as long as new drugs are over-the-counter and classic 'illegal', together with the combination of effects on drug demand, there can be nothing more than having a problem with the growing number of addicts we will have to treat and who will die as a result of their addiction.
We will also have to face an increasing number of people asking, "and why should we pay for their treatment?" Their question is (and will be) justified. Why does he "have to" pay for someone else, a stranger to them, to destroy his life? Because solidarity? AND solidarity = "must"?
However, another ban on "new drugs" is not the answer. If we ban 'new drugs', we will not move anywhere. New, more dangerous synthetic drugs are invented. We will bring profit to the new drug bosses. We will let a lot of other innocent people die in drug cartel wars (and only because they just accidentally get in the way of bullets).
Even some already banned drugs were once created precisely because of the ban on other drugs. It is still the same, all the time and we are not moving anywhere, on the contrary - the situation is constantly deteriorating.
Many people's fear of whether or not drugs were sold in front of schools to young children is absurd - it is already commonplace today. The situation is as bad as with alcohol prohibition. Drug prohibition cannot bring better results.
The solution is legalization
The only solution is to legalize drugs, lift their ban. Only by legalizing drugs can we get their sale under control, only by legalizing drugs will we get rid of the wars of drug cartels and many dead innocents, only by legalizing drugs can we prevent an almost certain increase in addicted users today.
If we do not legalize drugs, let's make the whole situation ad absurdum: let's forbid people to overeat (become addicted to food), let them forbid sitting for hours at the PC (become addicted to information technology), let's set the ration system for chocolate or sugar, ban alcohol and tobacco products (including use for treatment).
Then perhaps many opponents of legalization will open their eyes.
Here is the opinion of Milton Friedman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. In English with Slovak subtitles.