The statistics tell the story about the real drug problems in America. They are all over the internet and come in all tastes of politically tongued preference. The truth is. Alcohol abuse and crimes committed while on alcohol are number 1 in the USA. The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S.
Mark Kleiman on why we need to solve our alcohol problem to solve our crime problem
Mark Kleiman: Drugs are an important part of the question if you include alcohol as a drug. Take any dimension of the problem you like, except for source country violence. All illegal drugs combined are to alcohol as the Mediterranean is to the Pacific. We have our whole navy in the Mediterranean. And that’s true both of the drug policy machinery and those who are fighting the drug war, and of the drug reform movement, which, it seems to me, neglects the problem with the one drug we’ve legalized. Any sentence about drug policy that doesn’t end with “raise alcohol taxes” is an incoherent sentence.
There’s no question that the upsurge in heroin usage in the 1960s was a big contributor to that phase of the crime wave. I don’t think there’s any evidence that increasing marijuana use had anything to do that. Then for the 1980s and early 1990s, Blumstein is absolutely convincing about the correlation between the spread of the crack trade and the spread of homicide.
Yes, that would have looked very different if cocaine had been a legal drug. I think it’s a perfectly fair point. On the other hand, we would have had a wave of violence around the combination of cocaine and alcohol.
Matthews: Is that because of the combination of lower inhibitions and increased energy?
Kleiman: Yes, and it turns out there’s a molecule called cocaethylene that’s the product of having both alcohol and cocaine in your bloodstream, and if you administer it to rats, they get more aggressive.