The problem with decriminalisation / legalisation and destigmatisation of drug abuse is that drug addiction is really bad for people, and, perhaps more importantly, for the people around them. Society cannot be neutral about the use of drugs which can cause users to become unproductive, unemployable, bad parents, violent, or mentally ill.
Add to the list “reproductive”. They spawn children into this toxic mix as well.
50 years ago we essentially got rid of involuntary commitment largely because of the public outcry over psychiatric hospital abuse. Whether that uproar was real or was caused by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a question that will never be known. What is known is that we have now gone too far the other way.
A wealthy nation cannot call itself civilized when it allows obviously crazy (“mentally ill” sanitizes it too much) and addicted people to roam its streets and terrorize the functional members of society. We are wealthy enough to fix this, and we ought to do so.
Once upon a time in London, it was not safe for any person to walk the streets without being attacked by bad men, drunks, drug addicts, anyone who was physically powerful. The Peelers were set up to protect ordinary citizens and they morphed into the modern police force.
Today, those ‘bad’ men are no longer bad. They are victims. They are black and poor and, of course, have mental problems. Ex-aspiring politicians like Angela Davis in California believe that prisons should be abolished and the police should be disbanded. Then there will be true equality in the world.
Except that the new ‘equality’ will mean that the strong (drunks, brawlers, drug addicts, people with guns) will attack and kill the weak. So the weak will need more weapons in order to survive. There will be shoot-outs far worse than the one in OK Corral and nobody will go to prison. Psychiatrists will make even more money treating these ‘mentally ill’ people.
Surely, it must be obvious that treating violence, rape, drug abuse, mayhem, etc, as illnesses will result in an ever-increasing number of patients until everybody will be ill, even the psychiatrists.
I feel gloomy today.
Well at least a bunch of these liberal idiots will end up casualties.
If addiction is regarded as a disease compassion is appropriate.
But we have gone through a period when extreme measures have been imposed on the sick and the well during covid to prevent the risk of infection to the vulnerable. Ought not the leftist solution to drug addiction perhaps mirror this. So banning drugs should be the policy solution lest they infect the vulnerable, and like covid blacks seem in the US to be more susceptible to the infection of addiction so strict enforcement of drug policy might be seen as an anti-racist measure. Strict curfews and isolation for those addicted should be the policy of choice in Democrat areas.
Curiously, the left and Democrat politicians don’t seem to see it this way. Instead they pursue a libertarian “let every man enjoy his addiction and trash his community” approach.
Democrats need to work out if they are proper authoritarian leftists or “let it all hang out and hang the public good” right wingers when it comes to addiction.
Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971 to go after the blacks and the hippies. 50 years and trillions of dollars later, it’s just as easy, if not easier to get drugs that cost no more, or even less, than they did before. Worse, they’re even stronger and far less reliable as to what you get when you buy them. That’s why many of the overdoses. If you can’t even make a dent in something after all those years and all those dollars, then it’s time to admit it’s not going to be won, or at least not by the tactics used so far.
Once again, the immutable law of unintended consequences reigns. I remember when the “mental institutions” were shut down nationally. We used to put people with mental issues into these facilities to protect them, and society, from the carnage. However, it was deemed insensitive and inhumane to keep these people “locked up” against their will.
Now we have entire districts filled with open air crime and mentally ill people wandering the streets, “in the name of compassion.” Surely, we can devise a system that meets in the middle, but that doesn’t seem possible today.
I take a NY subway filled with drug-addled zombies that everyone just ignores until they wreak havoc. Social breakdown as “compassion,” how did we get here?
Presumably ‘the war on drugs’ has two aspects: the war against drug use and the war against drug supply. The author makes his point well regarding treatment. Has the other part of the war failed too? If the supply business model is also being left to choice then no matter how many addicts are helped to become clean there is an endless market for new “business”. Is that too deemed an unwinable war?
The war was lost long ago and drugs are cheaper today than ever before. New addicts arrive from older ones profiting from a weakness. Those that dabble in drugs for fun need to be aware of their risks, but few really are. Education is critical.
That would first mean Xiden and the commiecrats would be willing to close the borders…
Yep. I’ve been banging on about this for decades. A druggie’s rights and freedoms should be diminished for their own sake (and ours) when they’ve diminished themselves chemically (for whatever reason). I blame the idiot libertarians and their nonsense mental models about the perfectly rational human and the perfectly isolated human. “But this dangerous”. But this is right.
40+ years an often active Libertarian and I’ve never met one that said people were perfectly rational or perfectly isolated. There have been people who just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time, but Rand wasn’t a Libertarian. She disavowed us and we disavowed her a very long time ago. But I’ve read plenty of people who claim they have met Libertarians like that. Is it possible that there’s a myth or set of myths out there that don’t actually have any grounding in reality?
Let’s let addicts go to any physician and get a prescription for their drug. Take the profit out of it, get rid of the cartels and pushers, and put addicts into contact with medical professionals who can help them if they want to get clean.
The drugs cost next to nothing to produce and addicts could maintain somewhat normal lives. The endless thievery to maintain a habit would end. Pushing your friends into addiction to help fund your own problem would end.
Taking the profit out of it is the only way it will ever end.
That won’t work. There are drugs most everyone can handle – think weed – and then the rest. People doing the rest will never pull their own weight.
It’s not a case of them pulling their own weight, but removing the profit incentive for gangs, the addict doesn’t have to resort to thieving to find their habit and they will constantly come into contact with support if they decide to get clean and turn their life around
At least it would take the money and the violence out of it. And back in the days before Prohibition (not just alcohol) there were many addicts that pulled their own weight and had regular jobs and all that. They just spent a part of their earnings on drugs.
Those interested in this subject should read: Radical Help: How We Can Remake the Relationships Between Us and Revolutionise the Welfare State by Hillary Cottam
As long as we continue to prefer health and social support for people in ways that suit ‘the functioning of the state’ (spreadsheets, accountants, business, one fit for all etc) no progress will ever be made in these issues and lots of money squandered.
After many. many years and watching tons of money disappear into rehab services, I conclude only the addict can stop and only when they decide. Until then they are on a path to certain death often a tragic one. The only way I know to help them is in an institution with no walls. Addicts enter and all of their drugs are available. They get a bed, food, drugs. In return they keep their area and themselves tidy. If they leave they can’t return to this nirvana fir 30 days. Meanwhile counselling is available round the clock. They can stay until they die or decide to leave. Try as we might, these addicts are quite ill and we don’t know how to help them recover. But we can reduce their cost to society and themselves with hopes they will find a way out. One day I hope some place will be brave enough to try such an approach.
If you had stopped with the subtitle, it would have been brilliant. I understand the need for fill, but the rest was fill compared to that insight.
Well the Portugese have had an interesting take on this since 2000.
The Portuguese Drug Policy Model (PDPM) abolished the distinction between hard and soft drugs and “decriminalized the public and private use, acquisition, and possession of all illegal drugs, as long as they do not exceed the amount required for an average individual’s use for 10 days (Law n. 30/2000, November 29, 2000).”
This moved the drug addiction problem from the public order to the public health domain. Money and effort was put into harm reduction, education of schoolchildren, outpatient treatment units etc.
Initially they saw big reductions in HIV, Hepatitis B and C, incarcerations in prison, usage rates and drug deaths however, these optimistic outcomes have not been entirely sustained over 20 years for all sorts of political and financial reasons as outlined in these 2 good articles :
From a cost benefit point of view I remember one analysis (lost somewhere in my deep litter filing system) which indicated that this sort of holistic, health approach, in the long term (20 years +) was a darn sight cheaper than tossing a lot of people into prison and having them repeatedly rotate through the criminal justice system.
Lock them up. Make it a nice lockup…