Originally Posted by stephanie
The claim is that the usage of specific drugs will skyrocket (or in some cases increase by a lesser amount) if legalized vs. what it is now. You can't assume that some other product is a perfect substitute for the substance in question and then assert that people do or don't abuse that other product.
I'm not saying that they substitute for each other--people who would use heroin are not using inhalants because they're cheaper and legal. I am saying that they exhibit the same demand dynamics: demand, in the sense of the binary decision to use or not use, is fixed no matter the costs--this is the same reason why cigarette taxes didn't make a large dent in the number of smokers. Drug users do have some elasticity of demand, but the whole point is that there is a very clear line between those who will engage in hard narcotics usage and those who will not.
There's simply no evidence to support the claim. No evidence in America, with other drugs, and no evidence in other countries, particularly Portugal. It rests in a Galbraith-style condescension toward the American public: that they're too stupid and need to be controlled. Most Americans know that heroin is horrible for them and avoid using it, the same as they avoid inhalants.