I’m about halfway through “This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History Of Getting High In America” by Ryan Grim which chronicles America’s centuries old love/hate relationship with various intoxicants (short version: the people seem to love, the legislators hate).

Then this gem from Drug WarRant, an op-ed piece from 99 years ago in a San Francisco newspaper:

San Francisco’s municipal authorities should use their best efforts in aid of the campaign to stop the use of narcotic poisons, which, notwithstanding severely repressive legislation, does not seem to diminish.

Grim’s book is doing a great job of showing the relationship between Big Pharma regulating and selling various narcotics (heroin, cocaine, etc.) in the nineteenth century, and then supporting criminalization when the products are not controlled by them. More from the op-ed:

The state association of pharmacists has been using its utmost endeavors to limit the sale of narcotics, and while it has done much to prevent trading in these poisons by reputable druggists, the result has chiefly been to raise up a class of illicit peddlers, who are willing, in view of the large profits, to take chances on going to jail.

Pete gives a pass to the newspaper’s editorial board, since they don’t have as much data as we do to know that criminalization doesn’t work; but do we still have to read these op-eds in 2009? (Yes.)

Are my great grand children going to be reading the same op-eds in 2109? (Unknown.)

War On Drugs