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Voodoo Pharmacology: Drug Use and Loss of Control

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a nationally syndicated columnist.

Sullum is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use and For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health.

Sullum's weekly column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, is carried by newspapers across the U.S., including the New York Post and the Chicago Sun-Times. His work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cigar Aficionado, National Review, and many other publications.

Do drugs make people sin? That myth lies at the heart of the so-called war on drugs, argues Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason magazine and the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (Tarcher/Penguin). Sullum, who blogs about drug policy for Forbes and writes a syndicated newspaper column, has been covering the war on drugs from the perspective of a conscientious objector for more than two decades. He maintains that the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are morally arbitrary, reflecting mistaken beliefs about the way people respond to certain intoxicants. If Americans applied the same distinctions to illegal drugs that they routinely apply to alcohol, he says, the injustice of punishing people for their taste in psychoactive substances would be impossible to deny.

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  • Karl M.

    I thought the talk was GREAT! End the Drug War! Didn't you old white guys learn anything about how Prohibition just supports the bad guys! Anybody want to go the the Texas/Mexico border with me?

    2 · August 5, 2014

  • Angela H.

    Great discussion last night; Taboo topics are all worth closer examination... Taboos are often created to keep people from looking too closely. I was amused by the argument in favor of strictly for fun. I am already sold as it relates to an adults right to choose. If you are not sovereign over your own mind then... you are not sovereign over anything. :)

    May 14, 2014

  • Skip K.

    I especially liked the distinctions drawn between evidence and statistics.

    May 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    The facts presented by Jacob illustrate the confusion most people have about correlation and causation. Just because two things are correlated or exist together does not mean that one caused the other. This logical fallacy occurs all the time and certainly exists with the hysteria about drug use. In the public's mind, drug use may correlate with destruction of some lives, but that does not mean there was causation. Only a very small percentage of drug users have their lives disrupted or ruined. The evidence demonstrates that people who engage in occasional drug use do so without long term, adverse affects; they do not become addicted nor habituated. I have never smoked marijuana nor ever used any illegal substances of any kind. So I come to this topic objectively rather than subjectively. Jacob's presentation reminded of the statement: "What part of the failure of Prohibition do we not understand? Alcohol is far more damaging to individuals and society than drug use

    2 · May 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Criss! I sat at the table in the middle of the room where Dr. Alkek sat. I was at the far end from the door and had a light tan linen jacket on with black jeans. I am a neuropsychologist. Jeff

      May 14, 2014

  • Alex C.

    Thank you for your tim

    March 16, 2014

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