i want to get back to something a little more basic than recent posts. this topic helps to illustrate a pervasive violation of property rights in the united states (edit: was "western countries" - was pointed out in the comments below to be confusing). it helps to show the the state as the criminal entity that it is and how the state twists the definitions of criminality to its own benefit, demonizing its victims.
the topic is illegal drugs. people have a right to use drugs, of whatever type, they so choose. as a matter of fact, they have the right to ingest any substance, no matter how strange or harmful it may seem. the reason this is so is because each individual is the owner of his body. no other can claim ownership over another person. no other can control another person. they may be able to coerce, but all have a choice, even unto death. as the owner of property, the most basic unit of which is the body, each has the right to do with it as he sees fit. of course, all actions have consequences and this is why all must bear the burden, ultimately, of their choices.
because all value is subjective, one cannot make blanket statements about drug use being "bad"; only that drug use is bad according to their subjective values. the vast majority of people value health more than pleasure for the most part, though this is hardly universal. there are many who value pleasure more than health, even more than life itself, to the point where they would risk dangerous addictions in order to use hard drugs. these people don't sit down and reason it out, keeping a list of things they value more than others, but it is apparent in their actions, whether they are aware of it or not. for them it may also be an issue of time preference, i.e. they prefer to feel good now and pay the price later, rather than abstain now. this is not an issue of morality, but personal preference. some may engage in these activities with incomplete understanding, but this, in itself, is indicative of subjective value and/or time preference in preferring to forgo research for more immediate gratification.
it is the very idea of subjective value and the ownership of the self that make laws against drug use both nonsensical and immoral. no one has the right to force another to conform to one's subjective preferences, since no one has the right to the person or property of others, but it also doesn't make any sense to do so. it can never result in any good and opens the door, by setting precedents, to all sorts of preference-forcing through law.
many will use the excuse that drug use leads to crime. first, most drug related crime exists because drugs are illegal and the trade in them is therefore without access to any justice system, since the monopoly system outlaws those who may seek such arbitration. this forces drugs into the chaotic underground where only might makes right. but even if crimes are committed while offenders are on drugs, why does it matter? a crime is a crime, whether you're on drugs or not. regardless of the state of one's faculties, assuming they are voluntarily altered, does not change the fact that justice must be sought for violations against the rights of others.
the same people who argue for prohibition of drugs because of the crime argument rarely argue for the prohibition of the most common drug, alcohol. we saw in the 20s and 30s what that resulted in and it's the same thing we see now with other drugs. prohibition never works for the good of society.
those who believe in the right to one's body (which, in the end, is everyone), must, in order to remain consistent, argue for the legalization of all drugs. the state is the rights violator, or the criminal agent, in the war on drugs. all peaceful, non-force initiating people are its victims.