Unity at the Ministry of Truth offers 15,000 words to justify the legalisation of drugs, and is cheered on by Devil's Kitchen and (or am I mistaken?) by James at Nourishing Obscurity.
On the other hand, ex-Birmingham prison medic Theodore Dalrymple points out that no-one has ever died from coming off opiates; de-addiction can be achieved in a limited time; and it's criminals who turn to heroin, not heroin-users who turn to crime.
"Ah, but we only want the same treatment as smokers and drinkers," will be the cry. Well, seeing the damage that fags and booze did to my 20-years-too-early departed parents (and friends and acquaintances, and Looked After Children I've worked with), I'm inclined to agree; but not in the way the libertarians wish.
I'd be interested to know all the costs, expressed financially, of the harm done by "cigareets and whisky". I very much doubt that the tax covers the expense of the disbenefits. Here's an example, relating to alcohol: "For the UK, the external costs are likely to be in excess of the £20 billion figure and indeed taking loss of life into account and using more usual figures to value this loss could bring the total closer to £45 –50 billion for the UK as a whole. This is clearly way in excess of the revenue yield of £12 billion in 2000/01."
Instead of battening on the addictions of its citizens, the government could easily forego the £18 billion revenue on tobacco and alcohol - that's only the same cost as the ludicrously expensive and probably unnecessary NHS IT project, "Connecting for Health". Then, freed from this compromising financial interest, it could begin to tackle the problems seriously - not through the unimaginative approach of Prohibition, but through better education, and limiting the outlets of these harmful substances, as I have already suggested here.
As for other drugs, what is this campaign to encourage us to spend half our lives in a doze, daze or haze? Is there a plan to subvert society, to leave us in the land of the Lotus Eaters? Are we to sleep like the hare, while the Eastern tortoise wins the race? Is the opiate of the masses to be opiates?
B*lls to the Politics of Ecstasy; it's just an excuse for the spoiled end of the middle classes to indulge themselves further, leading (like the Pied Piper) hordes of less safety-netted proles into oblivion.
And why should libertarians support addictions, which imprison the will and distort reason?