3. This phrase seems to roll easily off the tongue, but I don’t see all that much support for it. Alcohol use in general is higher among adolescents than marijuana. However, marijuana use has been steadily rising. As usual, this goes in lockstep with a decrease in perceived harms and reduced prohibition. Historically, this tends to come with a wave of heavier use, followed by a “crest” when the prevalence rises and harms are perceived in the general population and higher social classes, then a pendulum-swing in perception and regulatory culture with use of the drug receding back to more vulnerable populations. Much of the time (though this is leveling out) cigarette smoking has started dropping off, along with associated increases in perceived harms and greater prohibitions. It may well be that the greater supply has to do with greater demand which has to do with the sense the drug is harmless (or beneficial) that goes along with a drop in prohibitionist sentiment.
4. Meh - there’s plenty of corruption around booze and cigarettes, it just doesn’t get covered in the news.
5. Mostly agreed.
6. Mostly wrong. Overdoses from prescription opioids are now outpacing heroin, partly because of the massive increase in prevalence. Their potency is quite tightly regulated and obvious. They are also an example of the “semi-legal” phenomenon - perceived to be less harmful and not entirely illicit. Overdose risk mostly has to do with the pharmacology of the drugs - some can kill you, some can be ingested by the pound without that much risk of death, and some have differential tolerance to the toxic effects that make the risk of overdose greater with higher tolerance.
7. Agreed, but: Leaves aside the problem of getting people to enter and sustain treatment, which may well reduce if the consequences of drug use become less severe. Also leaves aside the possibility that the regulatory regime can influence the incidence of addiction in a bad way.
And my last shot before signing off: “Legalization” is a vague term. It lets people on one side cast opponents as nutjobs who want to hand out crack to five year olds, and the other side to demonize the opposite as half-a-dozen kinds of stupid (and perhaps racist). The question that needs is asking is how legal do we want these things to be?
Marijuana has been getting more legal, with steadily escalating use, for a while now. Cigarettes have been getting less legal, and more stigmatized, for a while now, with a corresponding drop in prevalence and harm. When we start asking these questions the ideologues drop like flies, and we can start making some real decisions.
G’night all, and thanks for the adult conversation.