Americans died because of illegal drug use in the US? American illegal drug users - too stupid, lazy and chicken to change their reality, so they take illegal drugs to try and escape their reality for a few minutes and thereby fund some of the most heinous criminals the world has ever known.
Spot on analysis, Blueunicorn6.
People have been using drugs(including alcohol) for thousands of years. Animals consuming substances to change their reality is a part of nature. Not only in humans, but countless other organisms. Outlawing it is like trying to outlaw sex.
Outlawing something that grows in the ground for pennies only ensures this unstoppable market is supplied by violent criminals selling dangerous, dirty products (drug dealers are today's violent bootleggers hawking bathtub gin). Legalizing ensures clean, safe products sold by legitimate nonviolent businesses. Look at the liquor stores and distilleries of today versus bootleggers. Also look at the clean, nonviolent drugstores of the 20th century that sold cocaine and heroin over the counter.
Yes, some people were addicted but nobody had to steal to support their addiction or use dirty drugs. In 1900, a middle-class housewife could have afforded a cocaine addiction and openly discussed it with her doctor as a medical condition. Today, that addiction would cost tens of thousands every month. As a result, an addict will steal $100,000 in property, fence it for $10,000 and pay a violent dealer for a dirty, unknown drug that could harm them for life. They don't ask for help with their illness because they would be looked upon as criminals or scum.
And the majority of true addicts are not “too chicken” to change their reality. They have psychological issues that make reality a terrible place. Often as a result of child abuse or trauma. Even though prohibition has made them more expensive than gold, drugs are still cheaper than paying $150+ per hour for real therapy. I have experience working with substance abuse patients and still have friends that are certified abuse counselors. Putting these sick people in prison does nothing but make their reality worse and only ensures they will start using within hours of release. It's easy to look at an addict and call him/her scum or chicken that should be caged. It's a bit harder to actually talk to them and find they were abandoned and used by their family and "friends" all their life- discarded like trash into the street after getting old enough to refuse being sold to "dad's" friends (a true story that still haunts me).