Governments criminalize the distribution and use of drugs in order to protect their citizens from harming themselves and claim that the ill effects of drug-taking justify government actions that deny freedom of choice in this particular sphere of activity. This is, at best, a dubious argument. In societies such as those of the United States or Western Europe that on the one hand extol their belief in the freedom of the individual and leave a wide range of choices up to him or her and then, on the other hand, clamp down fiercely on one particular activity, precise justifications need to be made to explain such a specific prohibition. Other arguments are involved, for example, that it would be a mistake to legalize the smoking of the comparatively harmless drug cannabis since this, inevitably, will lead to the abuse of more harmful drugs such as cocaine or heroin. The debate about drugs—prohibition or legalization, how to fight the worldwide drugs war, whether it makes more sense to take the battle to the drug producers or the drug consumers—has become of major political importance in many countries around the world and raises strong passions, both moral and economic. In the end, however, any policy has to be judged by its results. Two questions need to be addressed. First, does prohibition stop people obtaining the drugs they wish to use? The answer to this is very clearly no. Second, does the policy of prohibition lead to a massive level of drug-related crime? The answer to this, equally clearly, is yes. Moreover, the level of drug-related criminal activities is so great that it would appear to do more damage than the damage to individuals that the criminalization of drugs is designed to prevent. There is another consideration. Given the huge costs of the war against drugs, the limited success that the drugs war appears to be achieving, and the fact that those who are determined to use drugs do so despite all the prohibitions of the law, it makes sense to compare the war being waged on drugs with the different approaches of governments to the consumption of alcohol and the use of tobacco.