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TWELVE REASONS TO LEGALIZE DRUGS There are no panaceas in the world but for social afflictions legalizing drugs comes possibly as close as any single policy could Removing legal penalties from the production sale and use of controlled substances would alleviate at least a dozen of our biggest social or political problems With proposals for legalization finally in the public eye there might be a use for some sort of catalog listing the benefits of legalization For advocates it is an inventory of facts and arguments For opponents it is a record of the problems they might be helping to perpetuate The list is intended both as a resource for those wishing to participate in the legalization debate and as a starting point for those wishing to get deeper into it Are we ready to stop wringing our hands and start solving problems 1 Legalizing drugs would make our streets and homes safer As Jeffrey Rogers Hummel notes Heroin The Shocking Story April 1988 estimates vary widely for the proportion of violent and property crime related to drugs Forty percent is a midpoint figure In an October 1987 survey by Wharton Econometrics for the US Customs Service the 739 police chiefs responding blamed drugs for a fifth of the murders and rapes a quarter car thefts two-fifths of robberies and assaults and half the nations burglaries and thefts The theoretical and statistical links between drugs and crime are well established In a 2 12-year study of Detroit crime Lester P Silverman former associate director of the National Academy of Sciences Assembly of Behavior and Social Sciences found that a 10 percent increase in the price of heroin alone produced an increase of 31 percent total property crimes in poor nonwhite neighborhoods Armed robbery jumped 64 percent and simple assault by 56 percent throughout the city The reasons are not difficult to understand When law enforcement restricts the supply of
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