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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Barney Frank Says Heroin Should Be Legal

The former House Democrat says drug prohibition is the problem, not the drug.

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Frank loves liberty, not heroin Photo via

By Victoria Kim

06/28/13

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Barney Frank believes heroin, cocaine and many other drugs should be legalized—but not because he wants to go out and stock up. The former state representative told The Huffington Post that he is against the idea that people "should be locked up for putting anything voluntarily in his or her own mouth," unless the drugs make them "misbehave badly." The Massachusetts Democrat says he has neither tried nor been tempted to experiment with the illegal opioid, but he makes the argument that heroin users' criminal behavior is caused by their need to obtain the drug illegally, but not by the actual drug itself. "What makes people misbehave is the need to steal money to buy heroin," he explains. While there are some drugs that might directly cause people to misbehave, he does "not believe heroin is in that category." And he makes the same argument for cocaine: "There are a lot of very high-functioning people in this society on cocaine. Cocaine is the rich people's drug." The former Congressman has advocated for drug legalization before: he filed legislation to legalize marijuana in 1972 and was among the most vocal proponents for pot legalization in Congress, alongside former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul once argued against the prohibition of heroin at a 2012 Republican presidential debate to applause from a South Carolina audience. In 2011, the "odd couple" introduced legislation to effectively end federal marijuana prohibition.

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