“”If policymakers double down on the same prohibitionist policies they have employed for over 50 years, deaths from illicit drug overdoses will continue to rise. Doing the same thing repeatedly, with even more vigor this time, will not yield a different result,” Singer told lawmakers. “Prohibition makes the black market dangerous because people who buy drugs on the black market can never be sure of the drug’s purity, dosage, or even if it is the drug they think they are buying.”
Singer recommends ending drug prohibition to allow for a legal market that deals in products of known dosage and purity. A legal market won’t stop people from getting high, but it will end the escalation between punitive law enforcement on the one hand and drug innovation and potency on the other.
Short of legalization, the Arizona surgeon suggests lawmakers focus on eliminating laws that stand in the way of harm reduction, such as those that criminalize drug paraphernalia (driving users to share needles and diseases) and bar the distribution of drug test strips (rendering it difficult to identify drugs). Making naloxone available over-the-counter was a good step towards reducing deaths since it reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. That’s an approach that gets law enforcement out of the way rather than doubling down on failure.”