A 2019 report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy shows that illegal substances like ecstasy and cocaine have less damaging effects than tobacco and alcohol. It’s interesting to find that our social and legal standards for drugs don’t match up with the amount of harm it shows they do. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it won’t cause harm.
Here in the US the DEA classifies ecstasy as a Schedule I drug and cocaine as Schedule II. They state that a drug’s abuse rate is a large factor in the scheduling of a substance. Schedule I drugs are defined as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. However, in the commission’s new report it ranks ecstasy as one of the least harmful drugs.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy is made up of 14 ex-government officials. They call for a reclassification of drugs to rank them based on their true social risk. Stating that the “incoherence and inconsistencies” of harsh drug laws based on “unreliable and scientifically dubious” ways that punish the use of some substances more harshly than others.
They put together this first-ever comprehensive report that gives a political reading of the current evaluation, or “scheduling” of drugs. Part of their mission statement speaks more about their ideas:
Psychoactive substances should be classified with regard to their potential for dependence and other harms. This is not the case today, where some substances are legally available because they are considered beneficial (medicines) or culturally important (alcohol), while others are seen as destructive, and are strictly prohibited.
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