We spend billions of dollars every year on police, prisons, military aid to Columbia, trials, etc. trying to win the War On Drugs. It isn't going to happen. We're not going to win it.

If it continues the only thing we will accomplish is throwing more otherwise law-abiding citizens in jail, turning people who just want to smoke a joint into real criminals, by making them pay exorbitant prices for drugs on a black market, and shredding the Constitution more than we have already.

We've forgotten why we started this war in the first place. It was supposed to be about public health. In a battle to improve public health, does it make sense to deprive sick people of medicine that could improve their quality and quantity of life(e.g. Peter McWilliams)? Does it make sense to throw hundreds of thousands of Americans into overcrowded and unsanitary prisons? Does it make sense to force people to get drugs from unreliable sources who may be giving them lethal doses(far fewer people would OD on heroin if it was sold by Phillip Morris, which could guarantee the drug was not too highly concentrated).

Is it worth giving up our privacy, our search and seizure rights, and our freedom of speech(see Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act), to fight a war against people who are hurting no one but themselves? At some point in the near future the American people are going to have to decide which is more important: this war, or the Constitution, and with it all ideals that Americans are supposed to believe in.

DMan, you seem to be fully comfortable with allowing capitalism to rule supreme, regardless of it's ill effects, but you don't think people should be allowed to use drugs that harm only their own bodies. Might I remind you that part of the US war on consensual crimes is the prohibition of prostitution. Do you agree with that?

Anyway, I am not familiar with the Chinese opium problem, but I can say this: even if you are going to prohibit drugs, giving people huge mandatory minimum sentences for mere possesion is not the way to do it. I think all drugs should be legal(sold to adults only, with warnings on the package and a high tax), but even if you don't go that far, for God's sake stop filling our prisons with nonviolent "criminals". Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime.

What I think is that if we legalized all drugs, released all nonviolent drug offenders currently in prison, and put high taxes on the drugs(but not so high as to create a new black market), the amount of money we'd have would be at least $50, probably more like $100+ billion per year. Funnel most or all of that money into programs for education and rehabilitation, and not only will we have a much freer society, but we will have one with less people whose lives are ruined by drugs. That would be a good War on Drugs, one that I would support. I mean, I'm not sitting here saying "Yeah, crack is good.", I'm just saying the way we're going about this is horribly wrong.