The argument typically made in favor of prohibition is that drugs have to be illegal in order to protect those members of society who are the most vulnerable to abuse and addiction, especially children. This argument ignores the obvious fact that the War on Drugs has failed to protect children -- indeed, children can obtain illegal drugs in the schools themselves -- and the students selling them carry guns. This passage from The Noble Experiment, by Yale Economics Professor Irving Fisher, published ca. 1930, demonstrates that the "save the children" argument for prohibition is not only overly simplistic, but may indeed be a mirror image of reality:
TESTIMONY OF SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS (P. 42)
Colonel William L. Barker, head of Northern Division, Salvation Army, and organizer of the Salvation Army Unit in France during the World War, testifies that Prohibition is demoralizing boys and girls. In the St. Cloud, Minn., Daily Times, February 9, 1925, Colonel Barker said:
"Prohibition has diverted the energies of the Salvation Army from the drunkard in the gutter to the boys and girls in their teens. The work of the Army has completely changed in the past five years since the drug era came into being, and Prohibition has so materially affected society that we have girls in our rescue homes who are 14 and 15 years old, while 10 years ago the youngest was in the early twenties."
ARRESTS OF MINORS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. (P. 39)
While in other cities there is a paucity of authoritative statistics on the subject of drunkenness among the young, apparently the largest increase has taken place among those from 15 to 25 years. Juvenile court records are of little value because they deal with the very young who have not yet come into much spending money and who have not developed enough initiative to forage for liquor. The Police Department of Washington, D.C., however, has classified its arrests for drunkenness by ages, and its figures are illuminating. Saloons were officially closed in Washington as a war measure near the end of 1917. Arrest of minors (under 21) for drunkenness average 46.7 a year for the eight saloon years, 1910-1917. The number was 36 in 1917. In 1918 and 1919, there was a considerable rise, followed in 1920, the first year of constitutional Prohibition, by a drop, presumably due to a temporary scarcity of alcoholic beverages. In 1921, however, there was a big rise which wiped out the 1920 drop. The increase since then has been almost constant, with the result that by 1926 the number of minors arrested for drunkenness had reached 340. Arrests of persons of all ages for drunkenness rose in 1926 not nearly so high above the pre-Prohibition level, thus demonstrating that, relatively as well as absolutely, arrests for drunkenness among minors in Washington increased enormously.
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