Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Economist steps up public debate on drug legalisation

As part of its latest promotional campaign The Economist magazine has launched a series of  'where do you stand?' debates built around a billboard poster campaign outlining opposing views on a series of contentious issues. One of the issues they have chosen is whether drugs should be legalised and regulated, perhaps unsuprising given their prominent interest in this debate, and indeed support for the reform position (see below) over the past few years.

Economist drug debate billboards: click to see full size*

The campaign is supported by  series of twitter debates - the drug legalisation debate taking place tonight at 6pm (see @TheEconomist for details or follw the #WhereDoYouStand hashtag) and a facebook page where you can even comment with more than 140 characters, if not a fan of new media concision.

Related blogs:




*Thanks to Emily Crick for the photo


Jimbo said...

"More people die from drugs than drink"? Even ignoring the fact that they excluded alcohol from the category of drugs, do they have a source for that claim?

Also, why use decriminalisation as an argument for legalisation when they're entirely different policies? I'd rather have seen an argument on the grounds of health or individual liberty.

Steve Rolles said...

Agree - that figure is clearly nonsense, esp if chronic deaths, and accident related deaths are included. drugs death stats are a boit of a minefield. That said the economist id very clear where it stands on the drug law issue - so I suspect they set the anti-poster up to be ridiculed.

Agree re the distinction between decrim and regulation. they make the same error with the zurich point on the anti poster. Zurich clearly was nothing to do with legalisaation (it was tolerance zone only). Infact, they abandonned it when it failed, and set up prescribing clinics which were legally regulated supply, and worked much better.

Theres a great deal of confusion over this point, but people using needle park as an argument against legalisation are actually leaving themeselves wide open.

Dont agree re individual liberty argument though. its intellectually strong but generally doent play well, not in the UK anyway (but maybe in the US).

Unknown said...

Steve, I don't doubt your word on them setting up the "anti" poster for ridicule and it may well be a legitimate way to run a campaign. However that's no way to run a debate. Both sides should be given a fair go, that's the only way to win the debate for legalisation fully.

Steve Rolles said...

completely agree. It wasnt something we had anything to do with - I would have advised they approach it differently.

But even the good arguments in favour of prohibition are easy to critique, so the anti poster was alsways going to struggle - just as the advocates for that position do in the public debate.

ReCheck said...

Hi, more people die from prescribed drugs taken properly than illegal ones you just dont hear about it..
the drug company's have alot of power, so they don't get much bad press.. there are element's in and above government that bring in illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine.. they make to much money thats why they where made illegal in the first place you could go down the shop and get opium(heroin), cocaine used to be in coke-cola.. The money is laundered by the big banks.. The CIA and Cocaine just go to youtube or search the web for CIA cocaine or drugs see what you find.. why dont we have any big busts in the UK coz the people who do the busting are run by the people who bring it in.. one of the reasons for invading Afghanistan 2nd pipeline.. Karsi's brother is 1 of the main not believe that the Taliban are growing the poppy's, under the Taliban opium producion was about 5% of the worlds supply now its about 90%.. Please look all this up for yourselves..
Here's a funny link: well worth a watch..

Anonymous said...

Drugs debate (15 june 2010)is worth a watching