from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prohibition ( Latin prohibere , to prevent) describes the prohibition of certain drugs . The aim of prohibition is - as a rule - to protect the population from the negative effects of the prohibited substances; These goals can be religious , political , economic or health care (e.g. addiction prevention ) defined and motivated. Prohibition is thus in conflict with freedom and personal rights , such as personal self-determination, free access to markets, etc.

Since the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs , which the United Nations was signed in 1961, many drugs are subject to a global prohibition. Any non-medical or non-scientific use is prohibited. Countries with traditional drug use, such as opium smoking in Asia , coca chewing in Latin America , but also cannabis use , were granted transition periods of up to 25 years. Exceptions are in particular alcohol , nicotine and caffeine , since they are classified as folk drugs .

The ban is to be enforced through seamless bureaucratic monitoring and planning of the cultivation, trade and use of psychoactive substances for medical and scientific purposes. Beyond this narrow framework, the handling of these substances is prosecuted as a criminal act .

In the war on drugs , there can be cross-border police operations with a military character. So was z. For example, Operation Solare was completed in September 2008 after a period of 15 months, with anti-drug units from the United States, Mexico , Italy and Guatemala against the so-called Gulf cartel and the mafia organization 'Ndrangheta in the Calabria region of Italy proceeded in a coordinated manner.

In such actions z. For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), founded in 1973, also - mostly observing and advising - outside of US territory .

Alcohol prohibition

In Germany, the term is mostly associated with the prohibition in the United States 1920–1933 on alcohol . In Spanish speaking countries , the same ban is called Ley Seca .

However, alcohol bans have existed and continue to exist in numerous other countries. In some countries with a majority Muslim population, the trade or consumption of alcoholic beverages is still prohibited today due to the ban on alcohol in Islam ; it was introduced in Brunei in 1991.

In particular, there were temporary prohibitions on alcohol - in addition to the United States - in the following countries and regions:

Even the repeal of prohibition has often not led to the complete release of alcohol, and there are also restrictions on consumption in countries without prohibition.

Often there is a ban on alcohol consumption in public ; Minors are excluded from consumption by youth protection laws; the amount of alcohol that can be bought may be limited. Closing hours must be observed for public bars and, as a rule, a bar license (see restaurant license ) - also for one-off events - is required, which can be issued in Germany by the trade registration office of the responsible municipality.

Market Events: Effects of Prohibition

Supply side

Market entry and exit

The ban is a major intrusion into the market . A ban or restriction and control of the existing supply structure are market barriers erected. Existing licenses will be withdrawn from previous producers , dealers and warehouse staff , severely curtailed or the licenses will now have to be acquired.

Depending on the degree of prohibition, this leads to the shrinking or complete collapse of the legal market. The ban thus acts like a barrier to entry . If legal market segments remain, this can lead to legal oligopolies and monopolies on the supply side. There are price increases because the reduced offer or the reduced number of providers drive up prices. Existing impoverishment trends of consumers to be strengthened, provided that due to their dependence - as in principle addicts  - the market can not rely. Your addiction works as a market exit barrier , which stabilizes the level of demand .

Illegal trafficking

As long as there is still a demand for the banned consumer goods, there will be a black market for these products. Because of the criminal prosecution , the goods are sold with a high risk premium on the actual purchase price due to cartel-like trading structures .

Even if the demand falls because of the ban or because of rising prices, providers will now appear who are ready to continue their previously legal business illegally. On the other hand, new providers are lured into the market by the extra return of the risk premium. This means that previously legal providers act illegally and profit-oriented people familiar with illegal business are entering the black market.

There are numerous organizational adjustments. In order to overcome border controls , there is professional smuggling ; Production stages are being relocated inland to avoid border controls. Since this black market is not subject to any kind of antitrust supervision , there are horizontal and vertical oligopolies or monopolies that are controlled by organized crime . These organizations penetrate the markets or organize them from the start. Such structures are usually established, secured and expanded through criminal means using or threatening violence.

Ultimately, these criminal structures invade all vertical and horizontal production contexts; even many small farmers in the classic drug-growing areas are under their control and no longer act as self-determined market participants.

Demand side

Adjustment of demand

As a rule, previous consumers follow prohibition; however, the degree of compliance depends on the public's acceptance of prohibition and the options available to legal substitutes, forms of consumption and forms of administration. The pressure of persecution and surveillance also plays a role in enforcing prohibition:

  • In the case of drugs that are widely accepted by the population, the ban leads to a degression (reduction in use), provided the monitoring pressure is sufficiently high. Many citizens also adhere to prohibitions that they do not recognize. Examples are alcohol prohibition in the United States or beer prohibition in Iceland .
  • In the case of drugs that are not widely accepted by the general public, the ban may even lead to a progression (increase) in use, since the ban attracts more attention and adds the attraction of the forbidden or even a snobbery . In Germany, cocaine was initially considered a drug for the in- crowd and the better-off and then conquered new, broader consumer groups. Both in the Netherlands and in Italy and in some states of the United States de facto to decriminalize the possession and consumption of cannabis products have led to a reduction in consumption. [Missing sources, statistical material required]
  • On the other hand, when approved products are released, adjustment shocks occur. In Finland, for example, triggered by the deregulation of the EU , the number of alcohol deaths initially rose when the prices of alcohol products fell and the dose for an individual consumer was no longer regulated by price.
A form for a doctor's prescription for alcohol: "Medicinal Alcohol form"
  • An addiction relocation takes place in a legal substitutes or by bypassing the ban illegally or legally and changed the dosage forms. For example, alcohol prohibition in the United States increased sales of medicinal (absolute) alcohol by 400%. During this alcohol prohibition, about twice as much distilled high-proof alcohol was drunk as before and after the ban, as this (in relation to the alcohol content) is much easier to secretly produce and smuggle than, for example, beer or wine .
  • There is a shift in consumption into the private sphere. In the United States, there were illegal bars called speakeasies that only members could enter.

Risks for the consumer

The original motivation to protect the population from drugs through prohibition is reversed for the remaining users who do not submit to the ban.

Illegal consumption is beyond government, medical and social control. The consequences are, among other things, an increase in the risk of poverty due to dependency and an increasing number of property crimes due to drug- related crime . The impoverishment of those affected by the high costs of procuring the addictive substance increases.


In particular, the dosage risk increases. Alcohol prohibition led to an increased supply of hard spirits instead of low-alcohol beverages such as beer and wine. With the hemp prohibition there was an expansion of the breeds with regard to the active ingredient content. The same applies to the so-called " hard drugs " such as u. a. Heroin. Many fixers unintentionally set themselves the so-called golden shot , as the purity of the drug sold can fluctuate widely, which can lead to an unintentional and sometimes fatal drug overdose .

Food safety

The food safety from there without taking, food regulatory control , medical monitoring or drug approval the possibility of manipulation is facilitated, for example by impurities as well as complete spare part or admixtures of similar in external appearance or effect substances (see Drugchecking ) . Either these foreign substances are inadvertently added, as in the case of parts of the poisonous methanol in high-percentage alcohol from fires in the event of incorrect unprofessional distillation , or deliberately through the addition of extenders to increase mass and volume.

In the United States, the amount of improperly distilled (toxic) alcohol quadrupled from 1% to 4%. In India, hundreds die or go blind every year from the consumption of illegally produced alcohol.

Even with comparatively less harsh drugs such as cannabis, extenders such as Brix, hairspray or even lead can cause serious damage to the health of the consumer.

In addition, addictive drugs can be added, for example strychnine is used to subjectively enhance the effect of heroin , so that the actual active ingredient content can be kept lower by stretching and the profit maximized.

Another factor that should not be neglected is the assessment of the penalty for violating the Narcotics Act, which specifies a penalty based on the active substance content of its illegal goods. B. with cannabis the THC per unit weight for pure goods is significantly higher in percentage than for stretched goods, which is why there is a further motivation to stretch the drugs, especially when distributing them to end consumers.


Last but not least, contamination, especially in the microbial area , is frequent due to unsanitary production, transport and delivery forms. Increasing persecution pressure increases the health risk in pure consumer activity, starting with the lack of health checks by illegal catering establishments and their staff to the multiple use of dirty consumer tools under unsanitary conditions. The likelihood of developing jaundice and similar diseases is significantly increased.

Prohibition laws

See also


Web links

Commons : Prohibition  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Prohibition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  2. Cien años de la ley seca: ¿vuelve el puritanismo de entonces? Accessed May 11, 2020 (Spanish)
  3. Russia Beyond (German) from August 16, 2014 (accessed January 16, 2020)
  4. German Hemp Association - Extenders in marijuana - How to recognize them and what risks they pose