This piece on the dangers of K2 has clearly indicated to me, as a concerned citizen, that something must be done.
I think it is pretty obvious to everyone what has to be done here … we need to legalise other drugs.
From what I can tell, K2 is inferior to other drugs for the person consuming them, and causes higher externalities than other drugs. The only reason people are choosing it is because other drugs have been made prohibitively expensive – by being made illegal.
You may say “no no, we should just ban it”. But isn’t the point that we really have a mental health issue here – people feel that they need to consume something to deal with the inane nature of life. If we keep banning the things we are consuming, we are just pushing many of these people towards other more harmful forms of consumption/addiction.
I’m not saying don’t help people who are facing these sorts of issues, and become addicted to substances as a way of dealing with things going on in their lives. What I am saying is that instead of criminalizing it, and making them criminals, we should perhaps look at it as a mental health issue and try to help them. Pretending we care, then choosing policy actions (criminalization) that actually hurt the individuals involved can’t even be called good intentions – it’s just sort of silly and harmful.
Legalise, tax, use the tax money to pay for treatment and to help fund general mental health work. At some level we all have mental health issues, just like we all have physical health issues. Lets destigmatize and actually accept these issues, allow actions that people take when they are trying to cope to be legal, but make sure that as part of our social security net we help people who are really struggling – in the same way we do when someone finds themselves out of work, or injures themselves physically in a work place accident.