Smart on Drugs

It is very easy for drug prohibitionists to call drug law reformers “soft on drugs”. This appellation evokes thoughts of weakness, lack of resolve or direction and giving up in the face of a difficult problem. Being “hard on drugs” conjures up images of a mighty struggle against a fearsome enemy, and facing up to adversity with strength, resolve and a certain amount of heroic self-sacrifice. Admirable traits.

No wonder politicians like to present themselves as being hard on drugs; and no wonder most people are concerned about, and reject, a soft approach.

We need to change the language, to choose a different terrain on which to stand, to describe our position truthfully and convincingly.

We need to talk about being “smart on drugs”. People are much more likely actively to consider the choice between “hard on drugs” and “smart on drugs” without automatically dismissing the latter. It’s much easier to choose the smart option, involving thoughtfulness in the face of a seemingly intractable problem, the application of reason, the consideration of all options, managing resources more effectively in a time of restraint and actually doing something that might work.




About tomclloyd

International Drug Policy Adviser and former UK Chief Constable
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3 Responses to Smart on Drugs

  1. Serif Tips says:

    “The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.”
    This is a quote from Einstein and his First Impression of the USA, and he was quite smart.

    The important bit imho is the ” passing of laws which cannot be enforced “. This only serves to foster the environment in which the less desirable elements flourish.

  2. Victor says:

    The UNITED STATES citizens are smart on drugs, more than 45% of the nation voted YES for marijuana. The problem is the FDA they approve more dangerous drugs every day. There not too smart on drugs for people lives JUST PROFITS….

  3. Thanks, Tom. We at Sensible BC campaigned to (at least) decriminalize marijuana in B.C. in 2013. For three months we weathered the weather and public fear to offer our referendum. Smart on drugs is a good approach. Reason is the sensible approach. Twert, Colorado’s legalization genius, gathered support from the university using reason after youths died in car accidents. Marijuana is safer is smart!

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