In the past month I have heard our locals talk about the issues of decriminalization, addiction and crime. To my knowledge, no one locally is calling to “decriminalize drugs” and no one that I know is advocating drug use. This may be happening, but I don’t think it is prevalent.
As an organizer, I am aware of our community effort to decriminalize a "specific" drug – marijuana. Our meetings are setup specifically stipulating that they are not marijuana user meetings. Our advocacy is directed to reducing the harm that drug laws have on our community. Marijuana decriminalization advocates see Decrim as a way to reduce the prison population, save the state money, and keep people from getting a criminal record that affects their ability to continue their education, get a job and apply for housing.
In addition, the hype about addiction does more harm than it does good. Statistically, the majority of drug users are not drug addicts and have little or no need for addiction counseling or treatment. What they really need is for addiction and drug prohibition advocates to get off their backs and leave them alone. This is especially true for marijuana consumers.
It’s ironic and dangerous that our drug laws are based primarily on addiction and not realistic drug use. Treatment and help is essential for anyone who falls from the safety net of moderation, but to scoop up all drug users because a few become addicted is nonsense and harmful to our community out of portion to any drug use per se. It is firmly established that less than 15% of all drug users fall into the category of addiction or serious abuse. The greatest exception are nicotine addicts who run at about a 95-98% addiction rate. Why do the moderate 85% of drug users have to be victims of drug laws because a small number of people are abusers?
Furthermore, drug use and crime is directly proportional to the illegality of drugs, not drug use in and of itself. There is too much mythology that surrounds the harping on the relationship between crime and drug use. Certainly crime is present, but like addiction, it is blown out of portion to the reality of overall crime statistics in a similar way that addiction is a bloated catch-all for all drug use. I have always been wary of the dominance of addiction “councilors” who have too much to say about a topic that affects so few people, and in turn, influence the enactment of harmful prohibition laws at the greater expense of the benign, moderate and responsible adult drug using community. ~Vidda