3 Absurd Reasons for Banning Drugs

Steve Davies,

Release Date
September 20, 2011


Criminal Justice

Dr. Stephen Davies discusses what he feels are the three most strange and bizarre reasons for banning drugs. The first of these reasons for prohibiting drugs was to stop respectable white girls from using drugs and reproducing with men of other races. This argument was used in the United States in the 1890s to ban opiates and was used again to ban cannabis in the 1930s. The second bizarre reason for prohibiting drugs revolved around the claim that the drug trade was part of an international conspiracy run by nefarious interests. These theories ranged anywhere from conspiracies about communism to conspiracies about lizards and aliens. The third and final reason provided was to stop people from becoming unproductive members of society who only want to have a good time.

3 Absurd Reasons for Banning Drugs
Here are three of the most bizarre, strange, and, frankly, unbelievable kind of reasons that are being given for prohibiting the sale and use of drugs.
The war on drugs—contrary to what many people believe—has been going on for a long time. The very first international antidrugs conference was actually called by no less a person than the czar of Russia, Nicholas II. Maybe that’s why so many people involved in this campaign want to be called czars. Although, you’d think they would remember what happened to him—and maybe not be quite so keen to have that title.
Now, over the years a whole number of reasons have been given for sustaining the war on drugs, for extending drug prohibition, and the like. Many of these are so preposterous to any sane person’s ideas that you wonder how on earth they ever got credence.
One argument, which was made, for example, for banning opiates in the United States in the 1890s—and which was also made for banning the sale of cannabis in the 1930s—was that it would lead to miscegenation. The idea was that the drugs in question were going to be taken by respectable white girls and turn them into sex-crazed maniacs who would then want to have sex with Chinese people or Mexicans. Apparently, nothing could be worse.
Another constant theme or noted idea was that the drug business—the trade in drugs if you will—was part of an international conspiracy, run by all sorts of nefarious interests. These interests varied from one period to another. On some occasions it was the international Communist conspiracy; on other occasions it was the Yellow Peril. On yet other occasions it was a worldwide conspiracy of aliens and lizards, particularly the British royal family, who as we all know are in fact lizard-shaped aliens with a bad human disguise.
The third kind of popular reason which is often given is the idea that somehow drugs are going to make their users into idle unproductive layabouts who want to do nothing else in life except have a good time and, particularly, again of course, have lots of sex.
Now, the argument here, you might say, is a bit more plausible. Except that you do have to wonder what the assumptions are behind it. The basic notion is that your life belongs to the government, and that it’s your job to be productive. It’s your job to be basically the kind of person who never really wants or tries to have a good time—certainly not a good time involving mood-altering substances. And so, the notion here is that, in fact, what you should be doing is simply avoiding any kind of temptation at all possible. And you do wonder in this case why these arguments are not applied to other kind of areas of life. But let’s not give the people who make these arguments any more ideas.