More reason why narcotics should be legal.... We spend an unfathomable amount of money arresting and imprisoning harmless people as part of a (failing) drug war that causes the types of things mentioned below...
That's a tremendously flawed viewpoint. There's nothing 'harmless' about the people distributing drugs like Fentanyl, Cocaine, Heroin, etc. Presupposing we took an 'everything is legal til proven otherwise' start point, these are substances that would never pass tests for human consumption outside of supervised clinical settings. There isn't a way to safely, responsibly abuse these drugs outside of a clinically supervised thereapeutic setting. They are *designed* to be as addictive as possible, and to affect people in ways completely incompatible with normal responsible functioning as members of society. Even in a clinical setting many end up hooked and dependent and will commit crimes to pay for addictions. It even happens with things that can be purchased legally over the counter, such as painkillers with codeine.
Some substances - marijuana jumps to the top of the list - are currently illegal and shouldn't be when all factors are reasonably balanced. As I sit here sipping a rum and coke, I see no reason why there ought to be a legal difference between myself, the guy outside having a smoke, or the guy smoking or vaping a bit of weed. I've practically never seen someone become violent when just using marijuana alcohol's another story. Commercial tobacco is much more dangerous from a public health standpoint. If we wiped the slate and went for a fresh start from first principles, tobacco as it's currently packaged and sold in cigarettes probably wouldn't make the cut, or if it did the taxes would be tremendous.
But for the hard synthetic drugs, again wit the exception of careful clinically supervised painkillers (still overprescribed), the redeeming qualities are not there sufficient to overcome the public health concerns. No government could in good conscience legalize the peddling of methamphetamine or fentanyl. These drugs are *inherently* harmful, both to the user, and to the communities that addicts prey on.
Addiction is primarily a health issue, though with some criminal fallout. Trafficking, however is inherently predatory, almost inevitably violent, and is inherently harmful to the society it exists within, without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. I am not a tough on crime' tye, but I beleive we shoul dbe much more punitive on higher level drug trafficking, and much more belligerent about going after assets so it doesn't pay. We need to fight demand as much as possible with a sensible public ealth approach to addiction, and we need as much as possible to fight the attractiveness of dealing. Some of this, certainly, has to come with offering viable economic alternatives. Jobs and education have got to be there and we need to try to catch more of these kids earlier before they get too far into that.
Just because an effort against something has not resulted in victory, does not mean that the optimal idea is to give up and to concede defeat to something terrible. We haven't given up on fighting spousal abuse or rape, even though thsoe are perennial issues that we will never make go away. We don't stop trying jsut because there's always that next person who's gonna do something heinous.