Harvard economist: Legalize all drugs to eliminate violence

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Raw Story
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron believes that legalizing all drugs, not just marijuana, is the only way to eliminate drug-related violence.

Miron argued during an appearance Monday on CNN, “Prohibition … hasn’t prevented kids from getting access to heroin, including very, very cheap heroin. … At the same time, we’re getting all the ancillary costs of drug prohibition, such as the violence in Mexico that spills over into the United States.”

“Some people will misuse drugs even if it’s legal,” Miron acknowledged, “but the magnitude of negative things would be vastly reduced.”

However, former DEA agent Bob Stutman believes that legalizing drugs would lead to a vast increase in addiction, although he agrees with Miron that “the present system certainly is broken and needs fixing.”

Stutman, who has been described as “the most famous narc in America” by New York Magazine, told CNN — with a few false starts — “Drugs are bad … Drugs are not illegal … Drugs are not bad because they’re illegal. Drugs are legal — illegal, because they are bad.”

“The one change we don’t need to make is give any drug to any person at any age who wants it for any reason,” he insisted, warning that “the United States cannot afford to end up with about — best estimate — about fifty million drug addicts and alcoholics running around this country with us supporting them.”

Miron responded by insisting that there is “not a shred of evidence” to suggest there would be a huge increase in addiction as suggested by Stutman and that “there is aboslutely no correlation between use rates and whether these drugs are prohibited.”

“The professor may go to Harvard, but he’s dead wrong on this issue,” Stutman retorted. “You legalize, you will at least double, some studies say 5 to 10 times as much. You give drugs to kids, they’ll use them. Anybody who thinks that’s not true has never met a kid — or a drug addict.”

This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Apr. 13, 2009.

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