Skip to comments.Drug policy should focus on helping addicts, not jailing them
Posted on 07/04/2006 5:20:13 PM PDT by neverdem
Two years ago, my 23-year-old brother became addicted to painkillers after breaking his leg and undergoing several operations to repair it.
Last year, while he was checking into rehab for abusing OxyContin, I was drafting a chapter in my new book calling for drug legalization. It was a difficult moment to believe in individual liberty: I felt firsthand the effects of what it's like when people make bad decisions. I saw how hard my brother struggled to get clean, first moving forward and then backsliding again into substance abuse.
One of the more compelling arguments for the war on drugs is that if we allow people to freely buy and use all sorts of currently illegal drugs, some people will end up becoming addicted when they otherwise would have been deterred by criminal penalties.
This, however, is a false choice: It ignores the fact that many people are - as my brother was before treatment - already addicted to harmful substances. Local, state and federal governments directly spend more than $40 billion a year on what's typically called the war on drugs.
Virtually all of that money is spent on trying to interdict drugs as they enter the country or arresting drug users and drug sellers. Our current aim of preventing people from becoming addicted to harmful substances misses the mark.
A better focus - and one that would eliminate the violence and crime associated with black markets and reduce the social harms of addiction - would be to ask: What's the best way we can encourage people who have drug problems to seek treatment?
Baltimore has been a prime example of how successful we can be when we stop worrying about drug abuse and start worrying about drug abusers.
In 1999, Baltimore and the Maryland General Assembly began a...
(Excerpt) Read more at baltimoresun.com ...
(The Palestinian terrorist regime is the crisis and Israel's fist is the answer.)
Why do we owe this to anyone?
Drug addicts should be helping me, I feel. When I mess up, they should bail me out. That sounds fair.
"It ignores the fact that many people are - as my brother was before treatment - already addicted to harmful substances."
This is confusing, was his brother ALREADY a drug addict, before he had the leg problem? Or does he mean the rehab cured him?
The failed war on some drugs is a farce.
There is a difference between someone who gets hooked while using illegal drugs recreationally and one who becomes addicted to prescription medicine while recovering from a medical injury, espeically if the firm which produced the drug didn't warn that it could be addictive.
I'd go so far as to allow 10,000 addicts to kill themselves with as many drugs as possible rather then seeing 1 more pre-dawn no-knock raid on the wrong house by an out of control para-military civilian police force searching for a bag of weed.
It's like "encouraging" a bear not to **** in the woods. It's madness, classic victimology to apologize for drug users.
Plus its a program that lines the pockets of organized crime.
This is confusing, was his brother ALREADY a drug addict, before he had the leg problem? Or does he mean the rehab cured him?That's what every drug researcher and addictions treatment person is gonna tell you. In theory, there's a one in ten chance that anyone is addicted to something... just blind luck that most of us never find out what it is. And, a person with one type of addiction is likely to have others. It's why alcoholics also avoid narcotics, and narcotics addicts don't drink.
"Two years ago, my 23-year-old brother became addicted to painkillers after breaking his leg and undergoing several operations to repair it."
"It may have taken several bad decisions and two rounds of rehab, but today my brother knows more about personal responsibility..."
He became addicted after the injury. He needed two courses of rehab because he relapsed after the first.
He decided to take the stuff again. Using "relapse" or even "slip" attempts to avoid personal responsibility......"relapses" are addicting, too, as is a poor little victim type sponsor or therapist.
Both individuals have used a drug illegally to their detriment.
I see no reason to draw lines of demarcation.
Each should be offered treatment before jail time.
I agree completely.
Treat them both the same. They are actually the same people, just at different places in their addiction.
If you make addicts' landings soft and charge the costs to the taxpayer, you should not be surprised if you see more addicts and more frequent relapses.
I would make a deal with drug addicts....The government will leave you alone to do your drugs.... but they will not chase you down to put you into rehab.
Yea, well, that would matter, if the cost of being addicted were actually significant, in a legalized regime, such as occured in the US between the Civil War and World War I.
The best we can do is look for a comfortable middle ground. By comfortable, I mean a balance of:
education of the hazards of drugs for our youth
lowest cost and danger to our citizens as a whole
respect of individual freedom and personal responsibility
We are not going to completely eliminate drug abuse.
Seems to me the magic formula for this problem as with most other social problems is to make the problem more of a pain to the addict than it is to society. (a take on the personal responsibility angle)
The War On Drugs has become a cancer on America.
I think child molesters should be rehabilitated, too, rather than thrown in jail or constantly tracked down like a North Korea missile.
The war on perverts has become a cancer on America.