Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Drugs should be legalised, regulated, and taxed

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 10 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2057

Rapid Response:

Re: Drugs should be legalised, regulated, and taxed

Evidence suggests that criminalizing drugs endangers the safety of vulnerable populations, and exposes them to the harms of toxic and cheap drugs. Therefore, a case can be made that legalizing and regulating drugs may be justified by more than one compelling interest. First, decriminalization is likely to eliminate the stigma of drug abuse, especially given the fact that the majority of drug abusers are victims who cannot seek help out of fear of penalties and stigmatization. Second, regulating drugs will allow for clinical studies and monitoring of side effects so that evidence-based best practices can be identified.

However, the argument that regulating the markets would generate substantial tax revenues does not serve the public interest in protecting the victims of drug abuse, simply because such revenues constitute a conflict of interest which would undermine efforts to curb the problem of recreational drug use.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 May 2018
Aceil Q. Al-Khatib
Assistant Professor in Oral Medicine and Oral Medicine specialist at King Abdullah University Hospital
Jordan University of Science and Technology.
Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Oral Medicine and Surgery, Jordan University of Science and Technology. P.O. Box 3030 Irbid 22110 Jordan