Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market

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Syracuse University Press, 1996 - Medical - 199 pages
In Our Right to Drugs, Thomas Szasz shows that our present drug war started at the beginning of this century, when the U.S. government first assumed the task of protecting people from patent medicines. By the end of World War I, however, the free market in drugs was but a dim memory, if that. Instead of dwelling on the familiar impracticality or unfairness of our drug laws, Szasz demonstrates the deleterious effects of prescription laws, which place people under lifelong medical tutelage. The result is that most Americans today prefer a coercive and corrupt command drug economy to a free market in drugs. Szasz stresses the consequences of the fateful transformation of the central aim of U.S. drug prohibitions from protecting us from being fooled by "misbranded" drugs to protecting us from harming ourselves by self-medication-defined as "drug abuse." And he reminds us that the choice between self-control and state coercion applies to all areas of our lives, drugs being but one of the theaters in which this perennial play may be staged. A free society, Szasz emphasizes, cannot endure if its citizens reject the values of self-discipline and personal responsibility and if the state treats adults as if they were naughty children. In a no-holds-barred examination of the implementation of the War on Drugs, Szasz shows that under the guise of protecting the vulnerable members of our society--especially children, minorities, and the sick--our government has persecuted and injured them. Leading politicians persuade parents to denounce their children, and encourage children to betray their parents and friends--behavior that subverts family loyalties and destroys basic human decency. And instead ofprotecting blacks and Hispanics from dangerous drugs, this holy war has allowed us to persecute them, not as racists but as therapists--working selflessly to bring about a drug-free America. Last, but not least, to millions of sick Americans, the War on Drugs has meant being dep
 

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OUR RIGHT TO DRUGS: The Case for a Free Market

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Szasz (Psychiatry/SUNY at Syracuse) at his abrasive best, skewering the shibboleths of the War On Drugs and giving historical context to the current national hubbub. The prohibition of drugs abrogates ... Read full review

Contents

The Right We Rejected
1
Liberty vs Utopia
31
Drugs as Scapegoats
59
The Cult of Drug Disinformation
77
The Lie of Legalization
95
Crack as Genocide
111
The Perils of Prohibition
125
The Burden of Choice
145
Notes
165
Bibliography
185
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About the author (1996)

Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was professor of psychiatry emeritus at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, Washington, DC. He was a prominent figure in the anti-psychiatry movement and a critic of the moral and scientific foundation of psychiatry.

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