The Altered State
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Today we travel to a future where all drugs are legal. Just roll up to the store, and get yourself some cocaine! We start with some history: for centuries a world without drug laws existed. Mark Kleiman, a professor at NYU who studies drug policy, explains that fear of drugs, and the desire to regulate them, really started in the last 1800’s. The rise of industry, advances in chemistry, and the invention of the hypodermic needle all fueled a rise in drug use and in drug fears. Today, of course, some drugs are legal and others aren’t. Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and pharmaceuticals are all legal. You probably already know what’s not. But why are certain drugs legal in the United States and others not? The answer isn’t really science or public health research, but rather historical precedent and racism. Maia Szalavitz, the author of a book called Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, walks us through some of the racist campaigns against drugs that linked most of them with “violent”…