An interesting article, but I fear Tim Worstall misses the point slightly. I will put my hands up and admit I use caffeine, nicotine and alchohol - the last at least in reasonable moderation - but I have the advantage here in that these are 'legal' substances and therefore subject to public quality control. This means that when I pour myself a whisky, I am reasonably certain that it contains ethyl and not methyl alchohol.
It is entirely reasonable for the state to minimise our opportunities to harm others, but self harm is individual responsibility.
I have argued for some years that the biggest part of the 'Drug Problem' is the social cost of the crime involved in paying for people's habits and the use of drug money in financing other crimes and indeed terrorism.
A very strong case can be made for the legalisation of all drugs : A reduction in the street price; the enforcement of quality control standards; a reduction in the funding of other crime and terrorism; even a reduction in the death rate among heroin users - often due to over-strength heroin being supplied. Give me another five minutes and I will think of others.
This is a subject I feel strongly about - I have a nephew who has done time for heroin related manslaughter, and another relative who has done time for dealing. My nephew might still be a heroin addict, but it is much less likely he would have finished up in jail if every one involved had been able to go into their corner store, or corner Boots, for their fixes, and the lad whose death he was involved in would probably still be alive.
The government could even sell drug legalisation as part of 'The War on Terror' - after all, doesn't most of the World's heroin come from Afghanistan ?
The tombstone because I don't live in hope on this subject.