How do we understand drug use? How are drugs related to our social worlds? How should drug use be understood, approached and dealt with? Insightful and illuminating, this book successfully discusses drugs in social contexts. In an elegant manner, the authors bring together their different theoretical and practical backgrounds, offering a comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction that opens up a wide scientific understanding moving beyond cultural myths and presuppositions. Powerful and engaging, this book discusses main questions within the field of psychoactive drugs research, such as: Why do people take drugs? How do we understand moral panics? What is the relationship between drugs and violence? How do people's social positions influence their individual involvement in drug use? This is an invaluable reference source for students on criminology, sociology and social sciences programmes, as well as students and drug service practitioners in social work, social policy and nursing.
Chapter 41: Liberalisation
Liberalisation of drug policy involves the relaxation or the complete removal of restrictions (including legal sanctions) on the consumption, possession, production and supply of currently controlled drugs.
Classical liberalism maintains that individuals should be free to pursue their own self-interest and that individual rights (to free speech, for example) have primacy over collectives, such as the state. Advocates of liberalisation argue that the state does not have the political legitimacy to prevent competent adults from choosing to undertake certain activities, even if they are potentially harmful. It is not the state's role to ‘interfere’ in an individual's choice. Taking the pursuit of intoxication as an inalienable human ‘right’ is the basis for liberalisation arguments regarding drugs (Szasz, 1992). In relation to the international drug control ...