Benjamin Wiegold writes in today’s Mises Daily:
Unlike users of prescription drugs, users of illegal drugs such as heroin are necessarily ignorant of where it has been produced, the extent of its purity — such as whether or not the drug is heroin, krokodil, or a combination — and of its potency and health risks. On the other hand, the consumer benefits of drug legitimacy are enormous. When drugs are legal on the open market there is recourse to a court of law should the drugs prove to be unsafe. In a legal drug environment, there is no fear of the law turning against anyone for admitting prior use of illegal drugs. Such legitimacy is lacking when purchasing illegal drugs on the black market, where there are no paper trails, no guarantees, no refunds, and no manuals, not to mention no doctors involved.
The legal incentives created by prohibition lead to artificially restricted production, decreasing the supply for sale, and causing the price to skyrocket. As a result, prohibition transforms users into criminals, not only by definition, but by making their drug use a larger financial burden, enticing many to commit real crimes. All of this is a disaster for the addicts.