Should America legalize all drugs?



Posted by Ed 6 mths ago
In conversations about drug legalization, supporters argue that the government could regulate drugs in order to mitigate the potential risks of making the substances legal — whether it’s more misuse, addiction, overdoses, or drug-related crime. This was a key point against Prohibition (of alcohol) in the 1920s and ’30s, and it’s a key point against marijuana prohibition and even against the prohibition of any drug, all the way up to heroin, today.

But a New York Times story by Emily Baumgaertner published last week offers a reminder that this isn’t how drug regulation often works in the real world.

The story looked at regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a fast-acting version of fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is extremely potent, and it’s historically been used for breakthrough cancer pain that overwhelms other opioids. But over the past few years, pharmaceutical companies have lobbied doctors to prescribe the drug more often — for more typical, less severe problems like migraines and backaches. And the FDA, based on the Times report, has done little to stop such marketing and excess off-label prescribing.

Baumgaertner reported for the Times:

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