Drug policy needs a total rethink. The way we respond to addiction guarantees the worst possible outcomes. The focus must change from criminalization to harm reduction.
The two major parties react to drug addiction in totally predictable ways.
The GOP says jack up penalties.
The Democrats see the problem as an opportunity to do what they live for, expanding government. More counselors, more prosecutors, more public defenders, more police, more judges, more programs, more huge government funded studies, and who can oppose the tax increases needed to address such a terrible problem.
There is a radically different libertarian approach, harm reduction. Let’s let an addict go to any physician and get a prescription for his drug. The drugs cost next to nothing to produce, and addicts could afford to maintain some semblance of a normal life at no cost to society.
Current policy creates armies of pushers, makes the worst people in our society filthy rich, explodes the cost of government, and destroys those caught up in addiction.
I have personal experience with addicted employees. In the last few years two employees, both high performers, an engineer and a technician, became addicted. In both cases their work didn’t suffer, but their lives went down rapidly.
The engineer left his wife and started living in his car and cheap motels. His unpaid bills became a problem that he was unable to hide. Nobody knew what was going on until he made local headlines when he died from a bad batch.
The technician began stealing equipment to feed his habit. The theft was hard to detect at first since equipment that had not been secured and was used infrequently went missing. As security measures were taken, a company truck full of equipment went missing with the employee. Withdrawal was so intolerable that he destroyed his job and damaged his friend and employer for a fix.
The major argument against harm reduction instead of criminalization and government programs seems to be that drugs are so terrible that no public policy should tolerate them. This overlooks the fact that they are already everywhere, and criminalization is actually promoting addiction by creating armies of pushers.
Where is the fairness in taxing people who stay off them to pay for chasing and locking up those who don’t?
How is it better to destroy those caught in addiction rather than letting them handle their situation as cheaply and safely as possible?
Let’s make it easy and cheap to legally maintain an unfortunate habit. Take the profit out of it, and let addicts live as normal a life as possible until they become so sick of it that they do what it takes to get clean. Harm reduction is the only effective solution.