Sunday, July 29, 2018

Drug prohibition won't end abuse

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 27, 2018)

One of the latest excuses for more government interference in your life is the "opioid crisis".

Yes, people abuse drugs, including opioids. This is nothing new; they have done so for centuries.

Abusing drugs is a dumb vice, but drug prohibition is far worse-- it is wrong. Laws and punishment will never end drug abuse. The desire for the feeling drugs create is too much a part of being human. If it's not one drug, it will be another. Sadly, when use of the safer drugs is as illegal as use of the more dangerous ones-- the penalties being similar-- people choose the stronger, more dangerous drug. This is a natural consequence of Cannabis prohibition. Marijuana is not a "gateway drug"; people who are going to use drugs anyway usually also use marijuana, but most marijuana users never use anything stronger.

Those who support anti-drug laws are only looking at one side. They see the harm drugs can cause, but blind themselves to the harm caused by prohibition. The stupid and evil War on Politically Incorrect Drugs destroys even more lives than the drugs.

Cancer patients and other sufferers of chronic pain are also victims of these policies. Does anyone believe their unnecessary suffering is a reasonable price to pay to protect other people from themselves? Any such belief is based on feelings, not reason. Government is not your doctor and shouldn't be influencing medical decisions. Get government out of medicine: demand a separation of medicine and state.

While it's sad to stand aside and watch someone harm themselves, with drugs or anything else, you've got to let people make their own mistakes. Otherwise you are enslaving them as surely as any addiction. Try to talk them out of it; help if they ask you to, but you have no right to force them to live as you believe they should. It's wrong to cause harm with fines or prison, even if you believe you are saving someone from harming themselves or others. It's the difference between seeing someone hit by a car, and intentionally running them down.

You also have the right to protect yourself from those who violate your life, liberty, or property, but this right doesn't include punishing people for things which might happen someday.

This misguided drug war has become an important welfare program for people who can't make it outside government jobs; it won't be allowed to end no matter how many lives it destroys. That's the real crisis.

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