Giving up the war on drugs?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 11, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: In the "Impact Segment" tonight, giving up the war on drugs, some Americans want to do it and in Canada the situation has reached a level of absurdity.

In Vancouver, perhaps the most permissive drug city North America you can now get a crack pipe for 25 cents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A not for profit organization has installed crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver's troubled downside east neighborhood. The Portland Hotel Society is operating a pair of machines which dispense Pyrex glass pipes for 25 cents apiece.

Many programs provide pipes for drug users but generally on a one pipe per person day basis. The group says allowing users to buy as many pipes as they want will curb the spread of disease as fewer pipes will be reused.


O'REILLY: With the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado can crack pipe vending machines here be far behind? Joining us once again from Washington is Charles Krauthammer.

So there is a lot of things in play here with this drug war deal. I mean, there is the criminality of it. There is the addiction quotient. We just saw Philip Seymour Hoffman kill himself with heroin. There is permissive atmosphere in cities like Vancouver and Amsterdam in Holland and Portugal. How do you see it?

KRAUTHAMMER: You know that's a hotel in Vancouver you really want to check in with the family, isn't it?

O'REILLY: No. I mean and it's disgusting.

KRAUTHAMMER: But that's the point.

O'REILLY: Vancouver is a beautiful town, have you been?


O'REILLY: It's beautiful. And this drug culture there has ruined the downtown area. Just as it did in Zurich, Switzerland -- go.

KRAUTHAMMER: But that's the point. It's precisely because you wouldn't want to check into that hotel. And you wouldn't want to hang out in that neighborhood. And you wouldn't want to live in Zurich or even in Amsterdam where they have needle exchange programs because they don't work and they kill people in the end. You know it looks like compassion I can understand the motives. But when you are dealing with drugs of this kind and we saw what it did to Hoffman. We have seen what it has done to a whole array of celebrities and non-celebrities.

This stuff kills. It kills slowly, it kills quickly. And what a society has to do despite the fact that it causes corruption, it causes huge expense, it causes hypocrisy, it enriches drug lords, you've got to admit all the negatives of the war on drugs, nonetheless, it keeps the number of people who suffer lower than it ordinarily would be.

O'REILLY: But the argument against your philosophy is harm reduction. I'm sure you have heard that harm reduction. This is being led by the "New York Times" and other liberal media organs. That the U.S. prisons are full of people on drug raps.

So if you legalize the whole thing and regulate it number one the state gets more money and taxation. Number two, you take the criminality out of drug use even though it's an addictive force you have 10 percent of the population addicted to alcohol.

So the liberals don't seem to think that that's a bad thing to add to that because that's what would happen. And then children would just be devastated. But it's an overall message to the society that -- do what you want. Do what you want. We'll let you do whatever you want. Isn't that right?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look. I don't know -- there are some people who think that if you legalize it, you regulate it, it will cause less harm. They are living on the moon. If you legal -- if you have stores for heroin, stores for crack, stores for, you know, psycho active hallucinogenic drugs which can alter your life especially if you are a teenager, you know that's going to increase the use and it will increase the use inevitably in young people.

There is simply no getting around that. The one place where you want to do prevention is the young people. Once you've got an addict, there are all kinds of arguments about what you do when you have an addict do. You do maintenance with methadone? Even that isn't extremely effective. There is nothing that is ultimately extremely effective.

O'REILLY: You know there is one thing, in Singapore, which has no drug addiction at all, zero.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, they -- well, they hang people.

O'REILLY: The dealers? You know what they do with the users?


O'REILLY: Mandatory drug rehab. If they are found with hard drugs, 22 months they go for in-patient rehab they cannot leave. That's taking away the marketplace.

KRAUTHAMMER: There is no market.

O'REILLY: There is nobody to sell to. That's how they solved it in Singapore because it was such an intense problem coming over the Causeway from Malaysia.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think what they -- what the Singapore legal system does is something in extremity we wouldn't go to. We don't hang drug dealers. I don't think we should. I am against the death penalty even in more serious cases.

But in a society where you don't have that, then you have to decide where you are going to intervene. And I think having them arrested and making it illegal is absolutely essential. Because once these things are proliferating and we will see in Colorado and in Washington state we're going to have to study this over a few years. Is there an increase in the use of marijuana among the under aged who are not supposed to have access?

O'REILLY: Sure there will be.

KRAUTHAMMER: You and I know are going to get access --


O'REILLY: Absolutely.

KRAUTHAMMER: -- the same way they get access to beer and alcohol? Of course. Is there going to be an increase in traffic accidents? All of these things are worthy of study. But you wouldn't -- should never contemplate the legalization of this hard stuff that can kill. Smoking dope won't kill you, it makes you stupid and it wastes your life.

But this other stuff will kill and you cannot have a civilized society that allows that to be open and market it, even if it's regulated.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles. As always, we appreciate it. Charles big best seller "Things that Matter" remaining a huge success in the marketplace.

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