20 Feb 2012

War on Drugs

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One of my commenters responded to my expressing support for legalizing drugs:

Lets assume your motive is constitutional and not because you are a drug user. I think then we can agree on a few things:
1) Most of the drugs that are now illegal are harmful and possibly fatal to use as prescribed. I doubt you believe crack is good for you so I’m going to assume you agree with this.

2)If someone forced my to take crack (or cocaine or heroin etc) they would be assaulting me perhaps even guilty of attempted murder. Again it is a no brainer so I will assume you agree.

3)A child under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to things an adult can consent to. If someone gives my child drugs and my child cannot consent legally then they are “forcing” my child into a harmful/deadly act. Again, a no brainer. About now you are beginning to see where I’m going with this and are looking left and right for a way out.

4)Anyone who tries to kill/assault/attack my child has stepped over a deadly line and I have a constitutional right to protect their life and use deadly force. I assume suddenly you aren’t agreeing with libertarian interpretations of the constitution and want to disagree with me even if it forces you to flip-flop on your beliefs. So that’s it! I will agree to accept that drugs should be legal and we have a constitutional right to put poison in our body if we choose AND you agree that I have a constitutional right to protect myself and my minor children and I can constitutionally use deadly force . Yes! I am saying legalize drugs and tell parents they can shoot anyone selling, sharing or giving their child drugs. All in all I think it is a good compromise, what do you think?


Like most people who attended college when the Baby Boom generation was young, I did heaps and piles of all kinds of drugs. I’m now getting on in years and am long past all that. I have long since quit smoking, and am obliged to watch my diet fairly carefully. I wish I could do all the things I used to do at age 20 in exactly as carefree a fashion now as then, but there is no possibility of such a thing at all. I do get plenty of drugs, though. I have several prescriptions for regulating blood pressure and so on that I have to take every day.

I have enough experience of life to know perfectly well that some people will kill themselves using drugs recklessly and excessively. But I also know that actually an even larger number of people will inevitably proceed to ruin their lives and kill themselves with alcohol.

We recognized, long ago, that alcohol prohibition didn’t really stop people from drinking. It merely created a hugely profitable black market and caused a nationwide wave of crime and violence. Legal alcohol is associated with harm, but in fact produces much less harm.

The question of your children is a red herring. Has anyone recently forced any of your children to eat free pâté de foie gras or nefariously and at gun point made them consume Godiva chocolates?

If you raise your children properly and they do not inherit special weaknesses and neuroses, they ought to be able to drink alcohol and use drugs responsibly and without major untoward consequences at appropriate ages and occasions like most people.

If drugs were not especially forbidden, there would no drug dealers for you to shoot.

6 Feedbacks on "War on Drugs"


Indeed someone did give drugs to my child. This first happened about 30 years ago and it was for the usual reason, i.e. to have sex with her. I did not know it or perhaps I would have killed the little bastard then. Some years later when she was over 18 she choose to move out and her and her boyfriend went to a large city some miles from my home. After a couple of years during which I saw her infrequently but enough to realize she was doing what you enjoyed so much in your youth. Then one day I got a call from a older lady she worked for telling me she was homeless and on the streets and hooked on heroin. She told me where I might find her and I made the day long trip to do that. Sure enough she was now totally controlled by drugs and I spent the next 6 years trying to get her cured. She was never really cured but stopped taking heroin. About 8 years ago she called and asked me to come and get her, she had enough of the shithead boyfriend. All she wanted from me was a one way bus ticket to a different place away from the jerk so I obliged. Within the week the jerk offed himself in an “unfortunate” overdose. The police determined he was the victim of unusually strong black tar heroin from Mexico. Gee! that was too bad. But it was a close call and at least my daughter survived but her life is destroyed. The intelligent beautiful young lady who caused her teachers to brag about her and had so much promise was gone and in her place was a morose, no longer functional drug despoiled shell of her former self. She lives 1000 miles away and I visit twice a year. She will never enjoy life as an intelligent self supporting adult. Aren’t illegal drugs wonderful?

Suprisingly I know you are right, I admit you are right that constitutional the federal government does not have the right to tell us what we can eat, smoke, drine or stick in our veins or other places. I simply want the right to shoot the little bastard if it ever happens again. I have grandchildren whom I adore. I’m old and not in the best health. If someone gives one of my grandchildren drugs I may well shoot the bastard and test my theory in court.


It is regrettable, of course, when a member of the criminal lower-class recruits a young person to join a life-style devoted to intoxication and transgressive and irresponsible behavior, but the identity of the intoxicating substance doesn’t really matter. Girls were seduced centuries ago by gin.

I think that the illicit status of drugs actually adds to their allure. In the 19th century, cocaine, marijuana, opium, and heroin were all perfectly legal. We have accounts of poets and artistic bohemians playing with opium and of arthritic old ladies nodding off in their rockers as they sipped away their laudunum, but there was no drug crime. There was opium in patent medicines used routinely and cocaine was a popular additive in soda pops. The old-fashioned soda fountain became an American institution because people used to drink a coca-cola (with cocaine in it), instead of coffee, as a routine stimulant.

The crime comes from the Prohibition, not from the drugs.

Government, and the rest of us, cannot save people determined to ruin their lives with alcohol (and other intoxicants) from themselves. I had a number of alcoholic friends and relatives (including my mother) who dramatically shortened their lives. I’m afraid that I do not believe in external, coercive solutions. People who want to stop can stop. People who want to go on living can stop. A lot of people don’t want to.


There is an important difference between what I am saying and what you are justifying. Indeed girls have been seduced by gin. I assume you realize that you can consume alcohol safely. How do you use crack or heroin safely? I would equate crack with the alcohol made by moonshiners who inadvertently allowed toxic poisons to get into it. Or someone who drank antifreeze.

The point I was making was that in general drugs are used as a reliable way to have sex with young girls and as a unfortunate side effect these people became hooked on a deadly substance. Not talking about pot or alcohol but a truely deadly substance. You honed in on the reason not the effect.

“The crime comes from the Prohibition, not from the drugs” Would you then say I have the constitutional right to give your young daughter (or anyone) Strychnine??? After all the real crime would be in prohibiting me from giving someone strychnine.

Understand that I accept our constitutional right to take crack or heroin or rohypnol or strychnine, where we seem to differ is I do not believe I or anyone has a constitutional right to give it or sell it to anyone else. Further I believe if someone does give drugs to a minor either with their knowledge or not that they have committed assault.


Also I would like your opinion on a unintended consequence of your belief that the prohibition on drugs should be ended. Should we then allow all prescription drugs to be purchased over the counter? I actually see a real and useful social benefit if we were to do that. In Mexico you can go to the pharmacy and ask for some antibiotics and they will sell them to you without a prescription. A fast and cheap way to deal with Montezuma’s revenge. If not why would you advocate for prohibition of prescription drugs?


When the prohibited substance again becomes legal, it is supplied conventionally by business corporations with something to lose via lawsuits in the case of unsafe or defective products. Large corporations don’t sell whiskey that makes you blind.

Heroin, btw, was invented by Bayer, the German aspirin company. In the 19th century, you could walk into any pharmacy and buy as much as you wanted. People certainly can use heroin safely. It is even possible to use heroin regularly, with care, without becoming addicted. The disadvantages of heroin addiction, moreover, are commonly drastically exaggerated. Heroin withdrawal is unpleasant, but it is really a lot like suffering from the flu. Several well-known writers, e.g. William Burroughs, kicked the habit and then blithely became addicted all over again repeatedly, knowing perfectly well what to expect.


Recently in the city where I live a 48 year old man beat his 71 year old mother with HER cane because she wouldn’t give him her ATM card so he could buy drugs. THAT is what withdrawal looks like. I could actually go on with stories of my own daughter who went through withdrawal in a hospital and some of her friends who had horrible experiences. I can tell you about one of her friends, a 17 year old beautiful young lady who took 7 days to die in the hospital in a coma. I can tell you my daughter was a straight A student who could have been a doctor or a teacher and today at 40 she cannot hold a job or support herself. Not everyone who “survives” an addiction is a success story.


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