What is the best way to limit the risk of recreational drug use?

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Offline briligg

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If you've seen my previous question in this forum, you already know what i think - legalization, and a comprehensive regulatory system. But how can legal recreational drug use be made as safe as possible?

I am Canadian. In Ontario, where i grew up, alcohol was only available from government-run stores. Although outright government ownership isn't necessary, there are some good things about that system: all stores and all staff have to meet stringent government standards. That would be a big help in managing the risk of drug use, which is a whole lot more complicated than alcohol use. In my mind, to be a manager of such a store, or to be a server in any bar offering drugs, should require extensive training. It should be required of you to take a certain degree of direct responsibility for the health of your clients, making sure they understand the ins and outs of drug use, and keeping watch over those who use patterns are risky. Drugs sold should be categorized according to the dangers involved in their use, and different rules should apply to each - the risky ones should only be available by asking at the counter, the taxes on them should be way higher, the safe ones should be actively promoted as a better choice. All purchases should be recorded to a database and tracked. There are all kinds of things that can be done in terms of regulating the packaging, labeling, marketing, and client care to minimize the risks of drug use.

And, it should be noted, many currently illegal drugs are a lot safer than alcohol. Only a few would require rigorous monitoring. The point of legalization is to prevent people from buying drugs on the street. Legal drugs can easily be made safer than that, but some hard drugs do need to be offered, or the black market won't go away. Here's my list:

Depressants: marijuana (plant material)-- benzodiazepines (bretazenil), GHB, and kava kava, all sold as drinks -- opium (the natural plant latex).

Stimulants: coca leaf, khat leaf (only leaves sold) -- methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, MDMA,  modafinil, all sold as drinks -- amyl nitrate, in small sniffing vials

Hallucinogens: LSD, psylocybin mushrooms, salvia, blue lotus, all sold as drinks --  DMT (dimethyltryptamine), as a smokable product

NOT sold: no concentrates - no pills, powders or blotters. No cocaine or methamphetamine - the amphetamine stimlants available offer a comparable, but safer high. No barbiturates - bretazenil is much safer and equivalent. No heroin - the opium available is also a lot safer (to me, this is the most controversial offering, but i think it is defensible)

One more thing - Addiction happens when people with inadequate coping mechanisms experience stress above a certain level. These people turn to drugs as a coping tool. I believe population studies establish this pretty well. It is true that sufficient exposure will cause physical addiction, and that in some cases addiction becomes extremely chronic. To be sufficiently exposed for this to happen, it is necessary to use that drug heavily enough that it changes your brain permanently. That isn't hard to avoid in the vast majority of cases. Legalization would not increase the incidence of addiction.

So. I have a big thing about this issue. I have all kinds of ideas, the main ones being summarized here. I need more information on all kinds of medical and technical aspects of this, and i could use more ideas, too.

Can you weigh in?
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. - Carl Jung