The War on Drugs – Debunked (The Inconsistencies of Drug Law)

The War on Drugs – Debunked (The Inconsistencies of Drug Law)

Have you ever wondered why alcohol and nicotine
are legal in most countries, while LSD, ecstasy, and mushrooms are not? If you haven’t, then you may, as I once
did, assume that there’s good reason, but what if I told there’s not? What I told you that the status of these drugs
is almost entirely the result of economics, cultural prejudice, and the uninformed whims
of apathetic sold-out politicians (otherwise known as ‘politicians’)? My guess is that you’d likely be intrigue
and compelled to hear more. Well, this is exactly how I felt when the
same rhetoric was presented to me just a few weeks ago, because while I had experimented
with many legal and illegal drugs, and while I had long recognised that the reasons given
for the banning of some drugs and the allowance of others is inconsistent and contradictory,
I had not realised the sheer scope and scale of this problem, nor the extent of its ramifications…
that is, until I met Dale Bewan. Bewan is the author of the book Dropping Acid:
A Beginner’s Guide to the Responsible Use of LSD for Self-Discovery, and he also happens
to be one of my biggest patrons, and hence, he’s largely responsible for my being able
to do this nearly full time. Pretty awesome, huh? Anyhow, as gratitude for his tier of support,
he has suggested, worked closely with me, and essentially educated me on the topic and
importance of drug laws, and so without further ado, this is ‘The War on Drugs – Debunked’. So let me begin by making the purpose of this
video crystal clear: I’m not going to argue that certain drugs should be legalised, because,
to be honest, I simply don’t know enough about them to make such a case, but what I
do know, and what I am going to argue, is that drug laws are deeply inconsistent and
hypocritical, and that the cost of this is vast… it violates human rights, causes tremendous
unnecessary misery, is extremely expensive, and perhaps most importantly of all, it doesn’t
work… Now I was going to clearly define what a drug
is, but since not all drugs are illegal, this doesn’t actually matter… what matters
is the classification system, because it is the classification of a drug that dictates
its legal status and punishment – and so the most salient question to ask is why do
drugs such as LSD, ecstasy and mushrooms tend to carry such a severe penalty? Is it because they’re particularly harmful
to the user and/or those around them? Or is it perhaps because they’re especially
addictive? Just what is it? Well, as it turns out, depending on your country,
the answer is either allegedly based on both of these factors (as is the case with the
U.S), or it’s based on both of these factors but under the word ‘misuse’, which is
suspiciously susceptible to subjective bias and selective enforcement (as is the case
with the U.K). And so, let us ask if it’s true – are
drugs really classified according to their likelihood of causing harm and addiction (or
to put it another way, according to their potential ‘misuse’)? Curious of this question, in 2010, the psychiatrist
and neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, published a peer-reviewed study in which he
got the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs to classify drugs according to their
potential harm, by evaluating factors such as their fatality rate, physical damage, psychological
damage, addictive properties, impairment of mental faculties, criminal activity, and even
their effect on the economy, and the results outrageously contradicted (and still contradict)
the classification systems of most countries. For example, the study concluded that while
the class A drugs heroin and crack cocaine cause significant harm to the user and the
those around them, the completely legal drug alcohol causes far more than either of them. And conversely, it concluded that the class
A drugs LSD, ecstasy and mushrooms (which to put into perspective carry up to 7 years
in prison for possession) are almost entirely harmless… now if this makes anything clear,
it is that drug classification systems are not based on harm potential. And furthermore, they’re not based on addiction
(or ‘dependency’) either. The study (and other studies, all linked in
the description) evaluated addiction potential thoroughly, and concluded that while heroin
and crack cocaine are easily the most addictive drugs, meth, alcohol and nicotine are all
fairly equivalent, and yet two of them are legal, while one of them carries up to 7 years
in prison for possession! And conversely, they concluded that LSD, ecstasy
and mushrooms are less addictive than even the class C drug Khat… And so what this all means is that the assertion
that drug laws are based on potential harm and / or addiction is… well… bullshit! It’s complete crap, and the general population’s
approval of one drug and disapproval of another is little more than indoctrination. Now I could conclude here, since I’ve made
my case, but in my research I found a few really fascinating related avenues, and since
you’re a curious bunch I’ve decided to tersely share them with you. The first is more of an answer to question
that these studies raise – that being, “if drug laws are not based on harm and addiction
potential, then what are they based on?” And the answer, as alluded to in the intro,
is a combination of economics and politics. In short, marijuana was banned to alienate
and vilify Mexicans (so that Harry Anslinger could keep his ‘untouchables’), LSD was
banned to alienate and vilify hippies (because they opposed the Vietnam war), and ecstasy
was banned to alienate and vilify youths partying and being promiscuous (because old people
were… jealous). The second avenue is that quite fascinatingly,
in 2001, Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of all drugs as
a public health issue rather than a criminal one, and so rather than issuing jail time
and criminal records (like the rest of the world) they have issued small fines and referrals
to treatment programs – and the result has been outstandingly positive. And the third and final avenue is that because
the War on Drugs focuses on drugs rather than drug users it ignores the most fundamental
of market forces… supply and demand. To quote my current favourite YouTube channel,
Kurzgesagt, “If you reduce the supply of anything without reducing the demand first,
its price goes up. This might lower sales for many products,
but not for drugs – the drugs market is not price-sensitive – drugs will be consumed
no matter what they cost, so the effect is to encourage the production of more drugs
and recruitment of more traffickers, which increases availability.” As it unfortunately stands, “we are putting
people who are not well is a situation that makes them feel worse, and hating them for
not recovering.” Anyhow, to conclude, the ‘War on Drugs’
is an abomination, because it’s based on economic and political subjectivity rather
than scientific objectivity. The truth is that whether we’re interested
in taking drugs or not, we all ought to insist that drug laws be reformed, because as it
stands, good people who’re consuming harmless and non-addictive drugs are being snatched
from their families and put in prison, while others, who’re consuming harmful and addictive
drugs, are doing nothing to stop this. As always, thank you kindly for the view,
an extra special thank and a super thank you to Dale, both for suggesting and collaborating
with me on this video, and of course, for your support – which is largely responsible
for my being able to create videos nearly full time. On behalf of us all, thank you Dale. You’re helping us spread reason and rationality
in a world lacking in both. Oh, and on the topic of Patreon, due to me
failing to announce a winner of the monthly giveaway last month (sorry, by the way), for
this month I’m going to announce two. The first is Jocelyn Gingras, and the second
is Ken Klavonic – congratulations! You’ve both won a copy of Bewan’s book
that’s been signed by Bewan himself, and of course has a little thank you note from
me too. Thank you both so much for your support.


  1. The alcohol prohibition in the USA caused a crime wave. Tens of thousands of government agents were employed in this system. When the prohibition was lifted, they would have had to sack those agents, so they said "smoking dope is dangerous", without any proof.

  2. I completely agree with you, but you're missing something. Nixon not only viewed hippies as his political enemies, he also viewed black people the same way. That's why the war on drugs is so devastating to the black community in America. The hippies are gone, it was a cultural movement. Black people haven't gone anywhere.

  3. Great video, I'm a recent subscriber. I will be using your videos to discuss the subjects you cover with friends, co-workers, and family. Joy!

  4. First time I completely disagree.
    Drug laws are only partly based, never fully based on a principle. you can´t pick them out one by one.
    The bigest factor is the population.
    There would be Riots if you forbid alcohol.

  5. Right before your video I saw a CocaCola (Coke) content (commercial, propaganda, ad) saying that CocaCola now has more caffeine and celebrating it – if you replace caffeine by cocaine you could use the same ad.

  6. New rule:
    You deserve more views and subscribers !!!!!!
    Awesome channel!!!! WOW!! 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  7. Excellent video, you couldn't have been more right Rationality Rules! We need more people like you to win the actual war 😉

    MDMA as a treatment for people who have ITP instead of Nplate (Romiplostim), a growth factor invented by Josef Mengele's dickriders.

  8. The only reason alcohol and tobacco are legal is because this had been the case for hundreds of years. The law is hypocritical, but it is so by necessity. It does not follow that because two poisons which exist in mass use now are in some senses more dangerous than some that are prohibited that more such poisons should legalized.

  9. War nowe also on chemische drugs , dae ,the biggist drugdealers, make the most monney ,dont be fooled by those monnymakers look Afghanistan ,amerkans make the monney there,never been so muche monney by dae. Chemische drugs thats IT,stopide fools ,this man is 100% RIGHT Europa

  10. Cannabis sativa ,where Europa made rope and manny other yousfull things of where made iligel by tree paper logger industrie

  11. We're really paying the piper here in America for our war on drugs. The war on drugs has done nothing but make more drugs. The market has gone underground just like during Prohibition. Drugs are sold to children. You can't illegalize the market. It's just that simple. If there's market for something, it will exist, either legally or illegally.

  12. I tend to agree that drug laws aren't based on harmfulness, but the study wasn't just based on the harmfulness either. It was based on other factors as well.

  13. I'm not saying that alcohol is harmless but I come hard to believe that it can be more harmful as heroin or cocaine and as harmful as meth

  14. Let's us also not forget, here in the usa, it ends up being racist as people bn of color are waaaaaaay more likely to be jailed than whites. Even with the same drug and amount of drug. Its bullshit!

  15. I consider the war on drugs to be equal to the war on terrorism. The well being of people is a facade and not the true reason behind it all. Power and resources are the main and the well being of anoyone is of no concern.

  16. I'll be honest, whenever Portugal is mentioned, I brace miself for the worst. But we did a good thing! We're very self-depreciative, and we didn't even consider what a big deal the decriminalization of drug users was. Trust me, there's still a stigma, we still expect drug users to be more criminal, but at least we're trying to help them, instead of throwing them in jail, which sounds super cruel and barbarous…

  17. Responsibility is the key to ANY drug use. My nicotine abuse is in no way responsible, where as my pot usage (legal in my area) at at most, five times a year, is responsable.

    Unfortunately, responsible usage and addiction/health/public harm have never and will never factor in.

  18. Hey dude love your talks I am addicted. I am not sure if you have really gone back far enough in your investigation. Firstly drugs have been around for a long time thousands of years. Drugs like many things can be beneficial if used properly and harmful if not. Cocaine heroine and marijuana were sold/used in Apothecaries for many years for pain medication and other elixirs for general health and well being. Back in the 50's the evolving drug companies saw money to be made through the patenting of drugs. But you can't put a patent on something anyone can grow. So they needed to discredit the then commonly used "natural" drugs. They turned as anyone who wishes to brainwash the masses to Hollywood who made movies depicting the supposed evil of using the natural drugs. Of course very quickly these drugs were removed from chemists and made illegal. Most drugs put under patent still tended to use the natural drugs as a basis but in order to invoke a patent other chemicals had to be added, these chemicals tend to introduce side effects. History has shown just how much money drug companies have made and despite some benefit how much damage has been caused to people. I tend to believe this would far out weigh any damage that may have occured with continued previous use. As for the ongoing battle against illegal drugs world wide the legalization of which would automatically resolve but the battle against drugs has become a massive multi-billion dollar industry. Makes you wonder who and why some people are against legalization really.

  19. One of my favorite things to do is walk around and tell people that cocaine is harmless:
    "Based on what?" they ask.

    "Based on facts." I reply.

    "Based on what facts?"

    "Based on the fact that if you snort cocaine you get high, but if you snort caffeine your heart explodes. Those kinds of facts."

  20. Yep, it's not supposed to work. Nixon's people admitted that. It lets the right wing govt crack down on the left.

  21. I worked for the UN Office for Drugs & Crime in Afghanistan (2003-2004) and I can confirm there is a huge amount of confusion over drugs. It was comical sometimes.

  22. A major problem you haven't talked about is that because those drugs are illegal it is very difficult and problematic to do research on them. This way we are and stay underinformed about the actual harm and potential benefits of many of these drugs.
    I don't understand why it is so difficult to make exceptions in the law so that these drugs can be researched. Because frankly, we know too little about many drugs and addiction itself.

  23. Your videos are excellent, BUT whenever there are (longer) quotes (like e.g. at 5:39) you should either stop talking or read the quote. There is no multitasking, so the viewer has to decide whether he continues listening to you or starts reading the quote.

  24. You're incorrect on many points in this video. Cocaine, Meth, Heroin HAVE been heavily studied by governments, scientists, pharmacists, doctors, health experts throughout the world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out these are dangerous substances and need to be controlled. Do you honestly think full legalization of carfentanil in any dosage should be sold in stores? That doesn't sound rational at all.

  25. I just one day started thinking what would happen that if all drugs should be legalized. And I came to the conclusion that it would be great.

  26. What the War on Drugs is, is a War on Freedom for it only involves an individual at a time. If you want to do drugs, go ahead since I don't like doing drugs. Every one has the right to do what ever they want to do with their body as long as it doesn't effect anyone else. Lawrence Vance on can do this more eloquently than I can, but like you said it has to do with Money – Economics – and Power – Politics. Marijuana is far less harmful than Alcohol since you don't loose your control when smoking, you can and often do loose control when you have drunk too much and can harm or kill someone. Do I promote drug use? No, but then I don't have the authority or the right to dictate what someone can or can't do to their own bodies. Thank you for a good and informative video.

  27. The war in Afghanistan was for control of the biggest heroine supplier. Here in the UK police search and arrest drug users while dealers can easily be caught but aren't! .

  28. same thing here in Hungary 🙄 Drugs are banned, alcohol isn’t (and we are leaders in the count of deaths caused by alcohol).

  29. 'A guy gives me money and basically single-handedly keeps my channel running. He likes drugs. So much so that he wrote a book about it, which I will plug. He told me a bunch of stuff about drugs, and also did some drugs with me. He says the drug war is bad. I agree with him. I'm not saying you should take drugs, but I do and it's freakin' great.' – RR in this video.

    I don't even necessarily disagree with you, but man, this comes off as cringey.

  30. One thing I think that I have never heard is that responsible drug use is socially positive. Note the keyword is responsible take that out and it is socially harmful. I have had likely hundreds of close positive interactions due to alcohol, I find THC (Weed) to likely be massively useful even purely as a recreational drug and ignoring its more important medicinal uses, LDS and Mushrooms could both help our pathic mental health crisis here in the US. This was a good jumping off point for all of that so good for you.

  31. The war on drugs, like the war on poverty is a joke? Because the war is on going and never meant to end. It's all about making money and not stopping a damn thing.

  32. In a free country, shouldn't I be able to .decide what I put into my body? This is big brother sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. I know what's best for you, doesn't work. If someone wants to OD, LET THEM.

  33. The law is the will of the idiots and ass holes in charge and when these idiots and ass holes want to get in and stay in office, they get on their soap boxes, innocent people get hurt. Politics is the most dangerous drug.

  34. If i could just get you to stop saying 'further adieu'. It's 'further ado'. We are after all in the fairly pedantic business here as skeptics, rationalists and reasoners, so i can't in good faith let this continually slide.

  35. I want you to make a video about the education system. My son is close to start middle school and I realized it's hard to find schools that really prepare kids for college. My concerns are so big that I have been giving private (mostly catholic or evangelical) schools a thought. Anyone has had this conundrum???? I live in California.

  36. Banning stuff doesn't work, here's examples:

    Drugs are banned. Drugs are also fucking everywhere.
    Killing is illegal. People still kill and get killed.
    Rape is illegal. People still rape and get raped.
    Sex with animals is (largely) illegal. People still do it.
    Alcohol was banned. People still drank themselves to death.
    Laws don't prevent things from happening, that's why you invest into preventative measures, even if it means adopting a safer version of whatever it is you're trying to get rid of.

    It's like having the flu: You have to allow it to a certain extent, give society time to become immune to it. It never fully disappears, but you can rest easy knowing society has done everything to contain it's effects.

  37. Isn't the argument for the high amount of alcohol related harm that it is due to its legality. Thus you could suppose that for other drugs the harm they incur would also increase if they were made legal? Or is the amount of harm for drugs on that chart not related to availability? I believe that the drugs on the low end of the chart aren't as harmful as alcohol but I do believe the case could be made that harm from certain drugs like cocaine and heroin would increase with legalization. Then again I also don't believe that the government's place is in preventing self harm unless that harm is through ignorance.

  38. It is not the problems from drug use we`re fighting – it is the problems that come from drug laws (I know this – Ive been on the receiving end of this for almost 30 years)

    Heroin doesn't harm the users so much as you'd think. Its illegal heroin that's very, very dangerous.

    No age limits, no designated places that sell, no control, no control over what's in the drugs. Th list is much longer,
    We've basically let the control of potentially dangerous substances in the hands of hard boiled criminals.
    Guns, alcohol, certain chemicals, plutonium, explosives etc are potentially dangerous. Therefore we want someone we trust to deal with and have responsibility for those commodities. The same should go for drugs.

    There are many ways to use drugs, but the most dangerous one are the political one – Nils Christie.

    Legalize isn't the word we should be using. Its a "negative" word in the public eye ("Oh! So you want EVERYONE to strat using drugs!?!") Anyways, that's not what we want. What we want is regulation. To regulate.
    Not all drugs are easy to think of ways to regulate (although its very easy to think of ways that are better than the ways we deal with them today).

    Take heroin, a highly addictive drug that can cause harm. That drug should be regulated through treatment, like they do in many european countries. Cannabis is obvious – in a way similar to the one alcohol and tobacco are regulated today.

    If oe single person or organization will be responsible for ending todays drug carnage (regulating, ending the war on drugs), they will get Nobels peace prize.

    The war on drugs are really a war on people (often very specific kinds of people (black, poor etc.)

    I could go on and on about this, but I don't have the time.

  39. When we prosecute with no victim we risk doing more harm to the individual then good though we can’t allways base it of 100% science becuse of cultural factors but I will say it is the best system though I think the best system is all drugs allowed it’s your life your risking

  40. This is a much needed video. I would love to see more on this topic in the future. btw I don't do illegal drugs, but draconian drug laws exacerbate rather than solve the problem.

  41. Yet another great video ( despite your annoying pronunciation of “classification “ 😉
    Another subject where it’s hard to believe intelligent people cannot seem to see the facts. It’s another “ no brainer” that is being handled brainlessly by a majority of the world.
    Well done Portugal.

  42. I despise the drugs people use, yet I would defend your right to use them. People have the right to make what I think are bad decisions. That's what freedom means.

  43. i was addicted to heroin for 15 yrs, and had a habit of using crack for 1 1/2yr , im now clean from everything for almost 3yrs, July 1, 2016 was my last use, and this was thanks to being placed on a treatment court program, a secular court program. No amount of sincere praying to the imaginary christian god had ever influenced me to stop when i was a believer, but a secular court, having caught me a month and half into their program with heroin in my system, and put me away for 3 months to dry out with included the 1st 2 months in jail, then 3 weeks of rehab after, broke both habits.

    Yes, it can be cruel to place an addict in jail for having used, which it's honestly something us addicts cannot control(neuroscience has proven this to be true), but for me it was exactly what i needed, in order to seperate me from the drugs and helped me reevaluate my priorities in life and goals. of corse i didnt become an atheist until late 2017, but now when i think back when i had prayed and nothing became of it, i realize why. if god was in fact real, and jesus was correct when he gave instructions for how to pray with the promise that it would come true, my prayer would ave worked, but it didnt. instead i had gotton a knock at my door by one of my relatives the next morning, offering to "break out"(share with me) if i let him use at my apartment, and i prayed quickly in my mind to help me say no, but i only took a few econds later and my impulsiveness got the best of me and i agreed, and used.

    it took years later, many collapsed veins later, not to mention kidney failure from overuse one night of cocaine, before finally my fellow human beings in the form of a court treatment team to find the way to break my habit. no such thing as having n ailment go away just by having faith that a dead 1st century man could do it. That helped me no more than if i had wished upon a star as AronRa had put it, and he is right.

    Anyways, drugs like heroin, cocaine and it's crack form, meth, and some other similiar drugs should definately always be illegal, but users should not be going to jail for possession, they should be treated for their illness, it's the dealers who should be punished imo, but not as harshly as our system does. Now, the assholes that put fentanyl in addictibe street drugs should be beaten. I personally have lost 10 former friends to heroin cut with this crap, and the ones cutting drugs with it know it takes lives, yet they insist on doing it anyways to squeeze as much money out of their victoms untill they die from it. 3 of my 12 overdoses were attributed to heroin cut with fentanyl, arent i lucky i survived.

  44. I'm an ordinary person and I have to feel like a fucking CRIMINAL for taking a drug that's not even half as harmful as alcohol

  45. All drugs should be legal…I could drink bleach and die, why isn't that illegal? Because it is also a war against alter consciousness, about thinking differently. The use of pharmaceutical grade diacetylmorphine (aka heroin) poses no more health risks than other legal substances, and the vast majority of people who are administered opioid in a hospital setting for months, never become addicted, in fact the vast majority of illegal drug users never become addicted…addiction is the aberration.

  46. The war on drugs is over they "lost" like the fella of the wire's sweeping leaves on a windy day….the reality drug users lost and still do daily….I'm talking about heroin crack sedatives etc… this day and age you can't discriminate against anyone……except class a drug addicts they are the problem….how can anyone believe they live in a progressive free society when they make decisions for you!!! It's all a cruel and unusual joke bro

  47. You don't need to be a genius to understand that as long as a high demand product stays "illegal" you can jack up the prices as much as you fucking want without governmental interference, all you need is a few politicians on your payroll and you can cockblock any attempt to legalize them. It's the business of the century, weed and poppy are dirt chip to mass produce as long as you know what you're doing and legalizing it would drop it's market value to the ground, no more business. You can already buy all sorts of pernicious drugs at stores, so why not just let us kill ourselves with what we choose? It's because high availability negates the "illegality" tax.

  48. so basically science.. as usual… religious people who control the US= non science.. lol go figure..They always side with booze/guns/bibles..

  49. Prisions make money off of it, judges have jobs, one of the easy thing for police to do, etc. so money.

  50. Alcohol's negative effect on society is much greater because it's legal and easily obtained. Unfettered and legal access to any and every drug would soon far surpass alcohol's negative effects, I'm afraid. Your argument is only valid when used to support making alcohol illegal. Your evidence is lacking. As a firefighter/EMT, I see the drug problem first-hand almost weekly. Some drugs should never be legalized, because vast numbers of humans simply can't be trusted to use them responsibly and this becomes a huge burden on society. You can keep your Soma, Aldous…

  51. More Liberal propaganda. Drugs destroy millions. …they "choose"..but everyone around them pays.. So much for the "harmless" horseshit.

  52. This reminds me of a quote I heard: "The answer to 9 out of 10 questions is money."

    And the 10th question? Well, you can probably buy it.

  53. I agree prohibition should end, but watch that Slavoj Zizek video where he exposes how liberals who are pro drug liberation still continue their fucking crusade against nicotine. You see a decent harm reduction for cigarettes exist: vapes and e-cigs. But San Francisco, that is supposed to be this ultra liberal place, then banned e-cigs. So it is now "liberal" to be against harm reduction as long it's for a drug you don't like!!! The stupidity of humanity is seriously painful. Fuck this world.

  54. Also, not mentioned, gambling is highly addictive and wrecks lives. In the UK its still advertised on TV and when restrictions are proposed, such as on fixed odds machines, the 'industry' complains that it will damage their business and lead to reduced revenue and job losses. The government is happily taking massive taxes from the exploitation of addicts.

  55. If I want to get off my tits on a Tuesday afternoon by taking ecstasy then I should have that right as long as I am not harming anyone. A purified version would be far safer and I'd be ok with it being taxed and the money being put into public services. Drugs aren't the problem. The problem is that people are trying to find some escape or release from a system that isn't working and only favours the few. Fix the system and people won't need to escape from a system that keeps them under constant stress and fear as a means of control.

  56. Ofc. Its illegail to consume marijuana or own the seeds, but you know what IS legal? Selling correction fluid and other solvents to kids.

    Hence as a child I was addicted to sniffing correction fluid, which has immediate neurotoxic properties.Angry and frustrated at how this disgusting profiteering hypocrisy is packaged as "we care about you".

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