Winning the War on Drugs: To Legalise or Not?

An IEA classic setting out the case for the legalisation of recreational drugs

There seem to be 'wars on drugs' everywhere but little sign that they are being won. Richard Stevenson of Liverpool University reviews the alternatives to prohibition which, he says, creates external costs in terms of gangsterism, corruption and law enforcement costs. He produces a detailed case for legalisation 'as a response to drug problems which offers substantial savings and deals directly and swiftly with criminality'. It would no longer be an offence to possess drugs, to use them or to trade them, but they wouild carry a health warning and sale to children would be illegal.

The paper also contains commentaries by authors who strongly disagree with the case for legalisation which would, in their view, significantly increase drug consumption.

1994, Hobart Papers, ISBN 978 0 255 36330 3, 94pp, PB