Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Dear Reader: This “BEST of Common Sense” comment originally aired on January 7, 2002. There are tough problems in the real world. Many of them cannot be solved by “public policy” or faceless bureaucracies, but only by people who care about and for each other. Realizing the limits of government doesn’t solve every problem, but it does prevent some problems from getting even worse. —PJ

Recently I joined the growing chorus calling the war on drugs a failure. My comments were provoked by a DEA raid against the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, a place where cancer patients in pain can obtain marijuana that is legal under state law, but illegal under federal law.

Well, I got a flurry of responses. Some said we need to get tougher. A woman wrote: “Paul, the way to stop drugs is to instantly execute people who push it — no trial.”

On the other hand, a gentleman wrote: “Until we start seeing addiction as a medical rather than criminal problem, we’re never going to get out of the bunker in this failing war.”

But one listener summed up what many folks were trying to say. He wrote: “Okay Paul, I agree with you. But what is your proposed solution?”

There are many solutions. The war on drugs hasn’t prevented the damage done by addiction or alleviated the pain felt by loved ones. We’d all love to pass some law that would miraculously solve the problem, but there is no magic wand.

The problem of addiction has to do with individual people and their individual circumstances. And that’s how it must be addressed: Individually, by people who care, not by distant bureaucracies who may do more harm than good.

Ultimately, love is the answer, because love does conquer all. But government isn’t love.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Tom Gleinser says:


    You missed the strongest argument of them all: The war on drugs has done far more damage to people and this nation than drugs could ever do.

  2. Bea Vines says:

    I agree with Tom. We need to decriminalize drugs and start controlling and monitoring them. We have thrown away millions trying to stop and/or interdict drug trafficking and it hasn’t worked? I spent most of my working years in the legal field. I worked with people who regularly used various drugs. THEY could afford them. The average drug user can’t! That is why there is such a rise in crime. These people have to steal to get the money to pay for their drugs. We need to set up locations where people can buy their drugs at an affordable price. Drug use is NOT going to stop We have to make them available to those who can’t afford the exorbitant price. If well paid professional people can obtain their drugs, why can’t we make them available to those who are “hooked” but can’t afford them unless they lie, steal and cheat in order to obtain them.

    I think I need to interject right here that I am 82 years old and I have NEVER taken an illegal drug in my life and I don’t intend to. I told my grandchildren that it wasn’t necessarily my high morals that kept me from drug use, but FEAR. I never wanted to put anything into my body without being pretty sure of how it would react.

    That said, I also want to repeat a statement made to me by a nurse when I was in the hospital for a knee replacement. She said that a doctor who worked at a children’s hospital across the street had told her that there wasn’t one day that he went into that hospital that he wasn’t under the influence of “something.”

    So, you see, it is possible to function while under the influence. It’s just a matter of cost and who can afford the drugs. As long as the drug dealers can name their own price, and drug users have to pay that price, there will be crimes committed to get the money.

    It is ludicrous, considering that we have not been able to reduce drug use. Part of the reason is that drug pushers are out there getting new customers every day. Most of these new users would not be exposed to these pushers if the price of drugs is reducd to the point where it would not be profitable to take the risk of being caught.

    Legalize and Control!

  3. Paul Jacob says:

    The strongest arument for ending the War on Drugs has nothing to do with drugs, it has to do with the damage this “war” has done to our constitutional rights. There are certainly other arguments, too.

    But my point here is not to argue FOR legalization, which I favor. Instead, I’m speaking to those who have been hurt, badly, by a friend or loved one abusing drugs, and arguing that the War on Drugs does nothing to prevent addiction or make it easier to get help for someone. The abuse of drugs causes serious harm. It’s a very real problem. But it must be solved individually, not by passing a new law, granting greater police powers or spending more tax dollars.

  4. A. Mark Hunt says:

    So Paul, did California arrest the DEA agents for violating California law? Not likely I am sure but it is high time they did. This would make an excellent test of states rights.

    The crime rate is our cities exceeds the rate during prohibition. Will we never learn!?

  5. Dr. T says:

    The strongest argument against the war on drugs is that drug use never should have been criminalized. It is no business of the government what chemicals an adult wishes to ingest, inhale, inject, or bathe in. The fact that the war on drugs has caused more harm than the drug abuse it tries to prevent is irrelevant: the war should end even if it cost peanuts.

    Similarly, there should be no government restrictions on gambling, consensual sex between adults (even for pay), and personal safety issues such as lap belt and helmet use. However, too many Americans dislike libertarian beliefs, and they keep pushing for a draconian nanny state.

  6. RayC says:

    I never have understood why we had (still have?) a war on drugs. People want to use them and will continue to use them. Perhaps a better way is to legalize them; control the quality; have the state and/or the federal government sell the drugs.
    The money could be used to help the drug users that need help and those who can use drugs without causing problems for other people can finance it.
    People have been using drugs for millennial times — so the states or the federal government can make it safer and available and self-paying.




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