August 16, 1990

The War On Drugs

Someone has to take care of the children and idiots.

The above statement was made, many years ago, by the pharmacologist Louis Goodman, when I suggested that it might be a good idea to let people use whatever drugs they liked, in any way that they chose.

I am often torn between thinking, on one hand, that if someone wants to commit suicide, let him! On the other hand, if death can be stalled, maybe a drug addict will come to his senses. Some have.

In most Judeo-Christian cultures, suicide is either frowned upon, or viewed as a mortal sin. In our country, it's even illegal to commit suicide. If you're successful, you can be punished! In Japan, suicide is considered the honorable thing to do under certain circumstances. Most cultures, however, do not consider the act of destroying yourself as suicide if it takes more than 24 hours.

There are many ways of committing slow suicide. Overeating is a very slow method. Tobacco or booze is faster, while heroin, cocaine and other drugs are much, much faster. If you add AIDS from a contaminated needle, it's faster still.

I feel frustrated and helpless when I see friends puffing or drinking their precious lives away. I don't know any hard-drug addicts, although I have known a few ex-addicts. There aren't any hard-drug addicts in my age group --they all die young. They will never know what I know: that middle age and most of the later years are the best years of all.

I watched, on TV, while troops poured gasoline on a pile of packages of heroin or cocaine and set it on fire. It seemed like a waste to me. Why not take those drugs and give them away free to addicts? In that way, we would undercut the profits from the sale of drugs and hasten the demise of the addict. It would eliminate an unproductive segment of our society, prevent a substantial amount of crime and reduce the population size.

There are too many people in the world as it is. Why try to save people who don't want to be saved?

This is not our traditional way. In our culture, we send the youngest and healthiest to die in war, while we do our best to prolong the lives of the old and infirm -and the ones who are trying their best to kill themselves. Of course, the drug user doesn't think that he's trying to kill himself --he's just doing pleasure.

The English gave up trying to save the addict a long time ago. There, an addict can register as an addict and get free drugs. The scheme had some problems, such as the evangelism of addicts. Nevertheless, it seems to work a bit better than what is being done, or not done, here. And it does reduce the number people stealing to get the money to pay for their habit.

Most street drugs are relatively cheap to make. That's what makes their sale so profitable. If we decided to give drugs away, it wouldn't cost much if the they were purchased directly from the supplier, when the confiscated supply ran out. This would eliminating the middle man --who the world would be much better off without! It could all be done legally and we would be helping out the economies of our neighbors to the south. For sure it would be cheaper than what is being done now, and a lot cheaper than what is being proposed.

It is the same problem we are faced with when a badly deformed child is born. Should it be allowed to die, should it be deliberately destroyed, or should every effort be made to save it?

Education has been proposed as a solution and it might work. It seems to be having some effect on reducing cigarette smoking. However, there is really no way to reach hard-core fools.

For the sake of argument, I propose that we try to PROTECT THE CHILDREN AND LET THE FOOLS DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.

Let every drug (not just pot) be legalized. Intravenous or smokable drugs could be sold in pharmacies along with the paraphernalia for administering them; along with appropriate warnings.

Legalization would just put everyone at the mercy of the pushers --the drug salesmen. To make things tolerable for the non-user, we should ban advertising in ANY form, of ANY drug(even beer and aspirin). No more drinking or smoking on TV. There would be no TV programs like Cheers that portray the use of drugs as the thing to do. Hopefully, this might make our culture less of a "drug culture".

We should tax the hell out of all non-medicinal drugs. Price them just low enough so that moonshining isn't profitable; thus, like the lottery, letting the fools pay for part of the cost of government, prisons, hospitals and other things. Since drugs will remain expensive, addicts will have to be given free drugs to keep them from stealing money. Free assistance could be offered to anyone who wanted to kick the habit. No public money should be spent trying to convince addict to quit. If private organizations want to do it, that's fine.

Giving or selling ANY non-therapeutic drug to a minor(including one's own children) should be a felony, punishable by a minimum of one year in prison; with a second conviction punishable by life imprisonment or death --it should be a real deterrent. The problem of ceremonial wine and religious freedom could be solved by using non-alcoholic wine when children are involved --where is it written that ceremonial wine has to have alcohol in it?

Similar inexorable punishment should be mandated for the felony of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug.

Would legalization etc. be a good way to do it? No, it would be a lousy way! A better solution would be to infuse people with good sense and an instinct for self preservation. Unfortunately, we don't know how to do this. The program that I propose may be the only reasonable option. For sure, nothing that has been tried, to date, works. You cannot stop a fool who is bent on either throwing his money away or on committing suicide.

Our country hasn't won a war since World War II. The best we did was the Korean war, which ended in a draw. The War on Poverty and the War Against Cancer were both lost. I am skeptical when the government declares war on anything. --A War on Drugs? Ha!

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