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Thomas Clark
Thomas Clark
1 year ago

Now you all know why Jordan Peterson is hated. What a threat someone poses when they work to help strengthen individuals rather than telling them they are weak and helpless … and that the “system” is to blame!

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

The thing about fentanyl that most people do not understand is that it is extremely addictive and even more dangerous. It kills its users frequently. This is nothing like smoking a little marijuana or doing a line of cocaine. It is bad enough that communities and law enforcement are more concerned about it right now than even Heroin or Meth. The body count has reached over six figures last year alone and it seems like few people in Washington or state capitols even care.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Dick Illyes
Dick Illyes
1 year ago

It is time to take the profit out of addictive drugs. Users become pushers to help pay for their habits, and the Cartels are making huge amounts of money and taking over countries.
Let addicts go to any physician and get a prescription for their drug(s). The drugs cost very little to manufacture and the low cost would allow addicts to stop stealing and dealing, and defund the cartels.
This would also put them into contact with health care professionals who could help them if they decided to get clean.
Until we defund the cartels nothing will change.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Dick Illyes

I have long advocated for such. The war on drugs was lost long ago and now the trade has created corruption wherever it goes. Of course, an understanding that addiction is a means of slow suicide underlies use. But more openness might open the doors to understanding why the individual is going down that path.

Louis Candell
Louis Candell
1 year ago

Mr. Siegel’s makes some valid points concerning the failure of harm reduction policies but his call to somehow make drug users appreciate that they are abusing themselves and transgressing “their own innate sense of decency” is no less a pipe dream. The overwhelming majority of addicts have already permanently lost any sense of personal dignity.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

Remember that scene in Cimino’s 1978 film ‘The Deer Hunter’? You know the one.
De Niro’s Michael sits there at his captor’s table and spins the partially loaded cylinders in the gun they hand him. He puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger. He survives…they add another bullet…and he does it again. Everyone screams (including the theater audience).
Now Michael does this in an insanely desperate attempt to escape. But he recognizes, absolutely, that the gamble he is taking is increasingly a suicidal one. Still he does it again, because he believes the terminal risk is worth the potential freedom.
Now imagine a world in which, for some bizarre reason, that same game became an addicting choice. Imagine millions of Americans, every day, taking their handguns, partially loading them, spinning the cylinder, and pulling the trigger. The death toll would be immense. Maybe more immense than what we see with opioid overdose.
What would Harm Reduction do?
Would we jigger the trigger mechanism to reduce the velocity at which the hammer impacts the shell? Would we mandate that special bullets be made with a lesser powder load such that a bullet fired wouldn’t necessarily ‘blow someone’s head clean-off’? Would we make the cylinders harder to spin? Would we build shooting parlors with big guns and massive cylinders holding few bullets so the ‘deer hunters’ can get their kicks with a lower kill rate? Would we pay doctors to stand-by for emergency surgery (blood transfusions at the ready?)
Or would we finally say, if you want to commit suicide who are we to object?
The thing is, it is the user’s choice (at least initially) to perform a suicidal act. It is a death choice made NOT to escape a Viet Cong prison camp, but because the Chooser sees it as a preference to a life un-drugged, un-high, un-stoned. Rather they choose oblivion.
Harm reduction normalizes the abnormal, enables the suicidal, tolerates the intolerable. This perversion we’ve pursued to reduce social harm and national body counts has instead increased both….as it would, now that the State has acted to enable and embrace the self-destructive. If the possibility of a sordid death in some back alley, needle hanging from my arm has not dissuaded me from fentanyl-flirting, the States creation of ‘safe spaces’ with clean needles, narcan, and EMT’s in white lab coats ‘standing by’ has handed me the engraved invitation.
Why the hell not? The State will catch me when I throw myself into the abyss from the cliff’s edge they made so attractive.
No! Instead we make choices; choices have consequences. Consequences, if we survive them, push us to be better. Either that or we die. And so we move on. If society does not recognize and incent the difference between good and bad behavior, moral and immoral choices, right and wrong decisions then life becomes shorter, nastier, and insanely more brutish.
Compare the San Francisco streets of 1962 to those of 2022…watch your step, download the human feces map before venturing out, keep your car unlocked to minimize the chance that you’ll return to find your windows broken as addicts scramble for the change in your console. Which street would you rather walk?
Tens of thousands couldn’t wait to get there 60 years ago; 60 years later tens of thousands can’t wait to get out. Freedom from these State-sponsored Sloughs of Despond… California Dreamin…

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
1 year ago

No one seems to care about reducing the harm caused by opioid (and now benzos, and next gabapentin!) hysteria to the millions of Americans with chronic pain, or controlling stimulant prescriptions to the few millions suffering from chronic fatigue disorder.
These are physical conditions, and yet one can no longer get these meds from the treating physician. Instead, you must be screened and managed by a psychiatrist, many of whom don’t understand pain and can’t wait to slap a psychiatric diagnosis on anyone who walks through their doors. Especially women. Especially people who are knowledgeable about their diseases because they had to spend years figuring it out after dismissal from ignorant physicians.
I don’t know of a single violent crime caused by benzos. In fact, I suspect a few thousand “loved ones” are alive who wouldn’t be otherwise because of the stress reduction they provide. And these busybodies, not satisfied w/ haranguing doctors from providing opioids (shades of COVID), and then going after benzos, now want to claim that GABAPENTIN!–used for nerve pain and dysautonomia–might somehow be “addictive,” and thus needs to be controlled too. At least they haven’t been able to make Kratom illegal, yet.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

I had no idea that people were going after gabapentin. Thank you for letting me know.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
1 year ago

Jacob Siegel wins again. Another brilliant piece by the best writer on the internet.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

As an American I would vote for whichever political party decided to help the homeless and the addicted. Unfortunately, there is no animus from either Republican or Democrat parties to fix these problems. I rather suspect it is because there is no quick profit to be made from doing so.

Christopher
Christopher
21 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Help the addicted and homeless? Tossing even more money down a rabbit hole won’t get the horse to drink.

Curious Person
Curious Person
1 year ago

I appreciate Mr. Siegel’s concern about the rise of the therapeutic attitude and the general decline of personal moral responsibilty in our culture. However, I take exception to the notion that the harm reduction approach toward peccadillo offenses is a significant cause of our social decay. In particular, the rise drug use and drug abuse in America is a symptom of our social disintegration, just as alcoholism is a symptom of cultural disintegration on Native American reservations. I consider drug use a peccadillo because it does not directly harm other people.
In my view, harm reduction is an approach that, as the name implies, reduces the social harm resulting from whatever problem it addresses. In the specific case of opiod use, arrest and imprisonment used to be the preferred treatment for heroin addicts. While that got them off the streets and out of addiction (usually cold turkey), it also caused further social harm by breaking up families, reducing the ability of released convicts to obtain employment, and costing the state large sums of money to pay the necessary police and prison guards, and to feed and house the inmates. Methadone clinics, as a harm reduction tactic, have been highly successful, particularly when linked to personal counseling, group counseling such as Narcotics Anonymous, and job training/job placement. All of which work toward increasing personal responsibility.
I like most of Christopher Lasch’s writing and wish he were still around. If he were, I doubt that he would be complaining about harm reduction strategies. Incidentally, I walked through the Tenderloin in San Francisco late one night in 2019 and it was very disturbing and sad. And what disturbed me most is that any society would allow such hardship and yet consider itself civilized.

Jennifer O'Brien
Jennifer O'Brien
1 year ago
Reply to  Curious Person

I’m agnostic on the details of how to treat opioid addiction (I just don’t know enough about the subject to have a strong opinion either way), but I’m uncomfortable with the concept of “no indirect harm”. Firstly addicts do do direct harm to others in various ways. Secondly, the indirect harms of addiction to – for example – the dependent children of addicts are still ferocious. I may be particularly sensitive to this as my childhood was blighted by my mother’s alcoholism. I can’t begin to describe the toll of ‘indirect harm’ on all her family (she died in her 40s in an alcohol-related accident). Whatever the pros & cons of specific harm reduction policies in particular circumstances, the “be proud of using safely” rhetoric quoted in this article stuck a raw nerve, because it minimises the dehumanising degrading horror of addiction.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

The truth is we have no idea how to treat addictions. Addicts are in the process of slow suicide and all associated with them will eventually grieve. We can understand how addiction starts and give warnings but once in full bloom, we fail to end it. It is obviously possible to escape addiction but generalizations of methods are elusive.
But is it really human kindness to allow the streets to claim their victims? We need to seek better ways to actually help them. Clearly moralizing along with tolerating isn’t the answer. Perhaps resident clinics with government furnished drugs/alcohol along with suitable services?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Curious Person

“I consider drug use a peccadillo because it does not directly harm other people.”
Try living next door to junkies.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Curious Person

Drug addiction doesn’t cause others harm? Not the other family members or children of the addicted? Or the neighborhoods in which they use?
Yet you lament the outcomes of the war on drugs, with its breaking up of families and reducing the prospect of employment. Sounds like the results of both strategies are identical. Both lead to destruction.
As far as society being blamed, I would agree. Life has always been challenging, but a society that focuses completely on the twin religions of consumerism and narcissism is bound to have these results.

Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

I share the same sense of queasiness with open injection sites. On one hand, harm reduction strategies can achieve measurable public health goals. Programs such as clean needles can reduce the spread of illnesses such as HIV (Indiana failed to do so under Mike Pence in 2014) or Hep C. On the other hand, these strategies are very difficult dinner table conversations. It’s difficult to explain to children why the government funds (or taxpayers fund) such lifestyles without morphing into an extremely cynical understanding of addiction. It’s arguably cheaper to control the injection than to arm various agencies against it. But by doing so, you capitulate to an issue that signals utter defeat. However, as critics of the war on drugs say, previous strategies were an unmitigated disaster.

The Vancouver project was very interesting but its relative failure to successfully break the cycle of addiction needs more investigation by its advocates. Like the author, I yearn for a nobler strategy that sets people’s ambitions beyond the next high. However, like the author, I have no idea how to do that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Garrett R
Cristina Bodor
Cristina Bodor
1 year ago

Brilliantly sharp!

Cristina Bodor
Cristina Bodor
1 year ago

Brilliantly sharp!

Mark Shulgasser
Mark Shulgasser
1 year ago

The vile farce of harm-reduction programs is that the harm, i. e. fentanyl, is liberally imported into the country by the Democrat Party, which allows it into the country via the open southern border. How exactly the Mexican cartels fill the coffers of the Dems has not been uncovered, but clearly they do. The same party then with diabolical cynicism sponsors ‘harm-reduction’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Shulgasser
M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago

This is one of the best things I’ve read on harm reduction. I’ve never seen anything else that really articulates this element of harm reduction strategies.
I think most people can see why some harm reduction approaches could be useful. IN some cases, like needle exchange, they might simply help prevent infection problems that will burn through drug users and even end up affecting others. And most people understand that it could be difficult for people to stop using drugs while underlying issues go unaddressed.
But like many social policy approaches, when you start moving from evidence based policy to ideology based policy, things easily go awry.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

Singapore has the lowest rate of drug addiction in the world. Funny how the addiction-industrial complex doesn’t want to solve the problem by emulating others who have successfully solved it.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/singapore-is-winning-the-war-on-drugs-heres-how/2018/03/11/b8c25278-22e9-11e8-946c-9420060cb7bd_story.html

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
1 year ago

Point well taken about nudging & amelioration being different ends of the same telescope. However “harm reduction” is broader and older than recent events; it is at the core of utilitarianism (as one of the key modern moral alternatives). One might wonder however if harm reduction as a moral (and political) end means aggressively assuring that everywhere is some sort of “safe space.” (In other words, is the alchemy inevitable?)

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cavanaugh
nigel roberts
nigel roberts
1 year ago

BEING JUDGMENTAL is now the worst of all sins even though some good old fashioned judgmentalism and tough love may well be the best solution to this otherwise intractable issue.

John Sherbioni
John Sherbioni
1 year ago

We create our own reality and walk into the picture we hold of the future. Try being a senior citizen who has made the effort to ensure that generations following them would be able to enjoy a life that was interesting and gave some sense of self-worth. Now we have to be concerned that someone who is doing something that profoundly affects society as a whole is justified. You can’t have a working society and have its members tear it apart at the same time. We make choices and in the old days, the church helped those who needed it now we all pay the price for choices made by those who have not even considered the end result of their path. Remember this tune?
That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
We make choices and when we don’t consider the big picture we destroy that which we hold important for the sake of a “hit” for whatever reason.