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The position of many health officials and government agencies is that hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, at best have an unsubstantiated medical value, but certainly have no possible worth beyond that. Others however, regard such drugs as having recreational and furthermore spiritual value. Native Americans for example, have used mescaline in religious ceremonies for as long as 5700 years.
An argument - arguably the argument - in favor of drug prohibition is that it actually reduces drug usage. This assumption has not only been challenged but actually tested by countries such as Portugal which have recently decriminalized drugs.
The gateway drug theory is that the use of marijuana leads to harder drugs like heroin. It is often used as an argument against decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.
The war on drugs is the US Government's policy to aggressively fight the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of drugs. The term was introduced by the US President Richard Nixon in 1969, who founded what became the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Shortly before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the country's heroin production had seemingly fallen to historically low levels. At the time, the Taliban's official position was that drugs were considered immoral in Islam, and that the government's ban on drug cultivation was working. Shortly after the collapse of the Taliban, the former Head of Drug Control confessed that the Taliban were merely engaged in price hiking, and the ban was a ruse.
A common reason for the prohibition of psychoactive drugs is the health risk they entail. However, from a libertarian perspective, a person is free to engage in activities that are a risk to themselves, such as high-impact sports.
While even NORML (a non-profit organization promoting the legalization of Marijuana) agrees that excessive marijuana use is unhealthy, there is debate as to whether infrequent use is innocuous.
Anti-doping advocates assert that drugs undermine the spirit of sport, which is about pushing natural human limitations and playing within the rules. However, as sport becomes increasingly high-tech, what is 'natural' becomes harder to define. Defenders of doping also dispute the efficacy of drug enforcement, suggesting that anti-doping rules foster the opposite of fair play.
LSD flashbacks are a phenomenon where previous hallucinogenic experiences are recalled vividly in a non-induced state.
Due to the illegality of LSD, research has been limited. There is anecdotal evidence that LSD can cause prolonged if not permanent psychosis, but such evidence is scientifically meaningless and no substitute for empirical studies.
Psychoactive drugs are illegal in most countries. The arguments for their illegality are based on their negative health effects and associated social costs. The arguments for their legality are typically based on respecting individual liberty, being scientific about the health risks, and the cost, failure, and injustices of enforcement.
Decriminalizing marijuana means reducing criminal charges associated with the possession of marijuana, and for smaller offenses, replacing criminal charges with fines. Decriminalization is not equivalent to legalization.
Ron Paul
In the last 30 years, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on a failed war on drugs. This war has been used as an excuse to attack our liberties and privacy. It has been an excuse to undermine our financial privacy while promoting illegal searches and seizures with many innocent people losing their lives and property. Seizure and forfeiture have harmed a great number of innocent American citizens.
Steve Jobs
The time we grew up in was a magical time. And it was also a very, you know, spiritual time in my life. Definitely taking LSD was one of the most important things in my life and not the most important. But right up there.
Glenn Greenwald
On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. ... The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.
David Pearce
There is perhaps a single predictable time of life when taking crack-cocaine is sensible, harmless and both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. ... Drawing life to a close with a transcendentally orgasmic bang, and not a pathetic and god-forsaken whimper, can turn dying into the culmination of one's existence rather than its present messy and protracted anti-climax.
Thomas Dodd
...pseudo-intellectuals [advocate] the use of drugs in search for some imaginary freedoms of the mind and in search for higher psychic experiences.
Time Magazine
The disease is striking in beachside beatnik pads and in the dormitories of expensive prep schools; it has grown into an alarming problem at U.C.L.A. and on the U.C. campus at Berkeley. And everywhere the diagnosis is the same: psychotic illness resulting from unauthorized, nonmedical use of the drug LSD.
US Department of Health & Human Services
LSD users can also experience flashbacks, or recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience. Flashbacks occur suddenly, often without warning, and may do so within a few days or more than a year after LSD use. In some individuals, the flashbacks can persist and cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning, a condition known as hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD).
Alexander Shulgin
The flashback phenomenon with LSD is rare but real. An auditory or visual clue can bring back a passing memory of an earlier experience. The residue of any tangible quantity of the chemical itself, in the brain or blood of the user after 24 hours, is, however, total nonsense.
Office of National Drug Control Policy
The transcendental or mystical state includes feelings of wonder or ecstasy, a sense of perceiving beauty, the absence of rational thought, a sense of discovering great meaning. Many of these phenomena can be mimicked by the LSD state, which is why it has been called a "religious" drug. the LSD-induced mystical state differs as significantly from the natural one as an artificial pearl from the real thing.

New Comments

0 Points       Nashhinton       23 Jan 2013     Is the war on drugs good policy? Disagree
The war on drugs is increasing our debt.

1 Point       Nashhinton       19 Nov 2011     Should marijuana be legal? Agree
Marijuana should be legal due to several reasons. First legalizing marijuana allows more freedom for people to participate in activities that provide escapism and pleasure. Secondly, legalizing marijuana will reduce the crime rate and abolish the drug wars. Thirdly, legalizing marijuana will allow the prison population to decrease, thus allowing the country to increase its revenue because of its decreased expenditures on its prison population.

1 Point       Australian       19 Oct 2011     Should marijuana be legal? Neutral
I sometimes think that the majority of humans born into a western society are emotionally invested in making fellow human beings suffer, in other words, these people won't feel like they have accomplished anything unless they've made someone cry at the end of the day.

Some people have the nerve to say that alcohol and tobacco should be illegal along with marijuana and all the other God designed natural drugs which give our lives the slightest joy during the hectic haze of everyday life. People, wake up, we are not robot workers, we are human beings but our society, government, culture and education has raised us all to believe we are mindless consumers, as if we are some sort of livestock.

0 Points       Benja       25 Apr 2011     Is marijuana a gateway drug? General Comment
Ah, yes. "Would you like crack with that?" or "I don't have any weed on me right now. But would you like some crack?". Or even sometimes throwing in some crack for free just to get you hooked.

1 Point       mike34ism       24 Apr 2011     Is marijuana a gateway drug? Neutral
Marijuana is a sort of gateway in that it's being illegal forces people who want to use it to consort with drug dealers and people who they wouldn't otherwise associate with if not for the legality of marijuana. This association with certain criminal elements is the gateway, rather than marijuana itself being the gateway.

My stance covers agreement and disagreement to extents, so I'll say I'm neutral. I believe that if marijuana were legal, I would be in complete disagreement that it is a gateway drug.

0 Points       Benja       24 Apr 2011     Is marijuana a gateway drug? General Comment
People - especially fucked up people - easily make the jump straight from alcohol to crack. No "ticket" required.

0 Points       pineconedegg       25 Mar 2011     Is marijuana a gateway drug? Disagree
Marijuana is no more of a gateway drug than coffee.

1 Point       Anonymous       18 Mar 2011     Should performance enhancing drugs be legal in sports? Agree
Steroids are a joke and should be illegal in competition but legal in society. Athletes that take them are a joke and a disgrace. I know there a 40 lb muscle mass inc. 250 lb on raw squat minimum doses. However, what makes them bad and what I will dedicate to ridding from all people that want to take these short-cut pills is that NO ONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO TAKE STEROIDS TO HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD!! A person sensitive to these substances should never have to take them to compete. I'm 5-11 252 and 40 yrs old from a 13 yr old boy who was 5-0 and 90lbs. Want to know how I got it? Squatting below parallel, lifting in a controlled manner on bench presses, and deadlifts. People that take steroids are people that can't cut it natural and with their work ethic. Steroids are epidemic and need to be eliminated from sports. I propose dragging athletes out of bed and have them take random blood tests, eliminate all designer drug production, and other masking agents.

1 Point       NonSmoker       01 Mar 2011     Should marijuana be decriminalized? Agree
Yes, but why not make money off of it? Even if it's true that marijuana is a gateway drug (which it's not), then decriminalizing it only speeds up the process without any benefits. Legalizing it would speed up the process but at the same time, make billions of dollars. This would be harsh of me to say if in fact marijuana was a gateway drug. But it's not. So legalize it.

0 Points       Benja       11 Feb 2011     Does drug prohibition reduce drug usage? General Comment
"Obviously, if something is illegal and punished by the force of law, there will be less of it."
The empirical evidence contradicts this intuition. Drug liberalization policies in countries such as Netherlands and Portugal didn't cause a spike in drug use.

If people want to harm themselves, it is not the place of government (taxpayers) to stop them.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Does drug prohibition reduce drug usage? Agree
Yes. Obviously, if something is illegal and punished by the force of law, there will be less of it. That doesn't mean there should be drug prohibition, however.


Drugs Question Index

Is the war on drugs good policy?
Should marijuana be legal?
Can hallucinogens enrich one's life?
Should psychoactive drugs be legal?
Can LSD cause prolonged psychosis?
Are flashbacks a substantial risk of using LSD?
Is marijuana a gateway drug?
Does drug prohibition reduce drug usage?
Is the health risk of a psychoactive drug a legitimate reason to make it illegal?
Did the Taliban ban drug cultivation because it was "un-Islamic"?
Can modest marijuana use cause depression?
Does marijuana get more dangerous with its potency?
Should marijuana be decriminalized?
Is modest marijuana use detrimental to your health?
Should performance enhancing drugs be legal in sports?