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The Faulty Logic Of The War On Drugs

Submission Date: August 30, 2017
Attributing Author: Sam Snodgrass, Phd

Drug addiction isn’t subject to the laws of supply and demand.

This epidemic of opioid addiction and death that we are living in is not the result of the use of opioids per se, but by society’s response to this use. What the “War on Drugs” has accomplished has been to turn what is a chronic but treatable, manageable, disease into an epidemic of addiction and death.

The tactics used to “win” this war are those based on the belief that if the supply can be cut off, if enough drugs are interdicted, if those who sell them are incarcerated, then this will drive the price of these opioids to the point that we will stop using them. This is the basic economics of demand. As the price of a commodity increases, demand for that commodity decreases. But there is a flaw in this reasoning. There is more than one type of economic demand.

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