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Factors to consider: 

* The common sense of the average person. [1] 

There is no identifiable group that deals with alcohol responsibly that would become irresponsible in its use of other drugs if only government would give them permission. The moment we shift the focus from the drugs themselves to the people that use them, we get a totally different picture. 

* The futility of the drug war. [2] 

Prohibition has demonstrated it does not deter the supply or the abuse of illegal drugs. Anyone who really wants them, gets them now. 

See Drug War Failure

* The saturation of the vulnerable. [3] 

A huge amount of experimentation with illegal drugs already occurs but little addiction. Few people have the history of mental illness, child abuse, genetic susceptibility and other factors that combine in various ways to produce addiction. It should be evident that the small number who are the major problem are exactly those to whom the law makes no difference. 

See: Peter Cohen

* "Cross-elasticity" [4] 

Users can already choose from a wide variety of equally dangerous legal drugs that are involved in some 90% of current cases of drug dependency. 

* The record with alcohol and tobacco. [5]

We have better control of abuse when a drug is legal. Education must be trusted to be effective. Prohibition removes vital information and the development of protective social norms related to drug use. 

* The historical record of better success with drugs like heroin and cocaine when they were legal, cheap, widely used and readily available. [6] 

* Better research. 

Far more reliable information about drug users and treatment will only be possible in a regulated, non-punitive system that encourages people to talk and seek help freely. Currently we are often groping in the dark. 

"... a century of illegality has deprived governments of much information that good policy requires. Impartial academic research is difficult. " 

- The Economist, July 26th 2001 

* Early intervention 

Abusers are more willing to seek help when they don't fear punishment. A computer controlled prescription system is one way to help limit dosage and highlight any emerging problem before it grows. 

* More effective priorities 

Mental health problems often precede drug abuse. [3] 

Appropriate care is badly underfunded because of the explosion in ineffective spending on supply and prisons. Mental health services and drug treatment are not available for millions who want it. Resources are now wasted by attempting to police the great majority of illegal drug users who do no harm and are unlikely ever to do so. 

See: Use Is Not Abuse

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