FOLLOWING in black was published in the April 2007.  A response is printed below in blue.

DRUG LEGALIZATION SCHEME - Legalize everything.  Users of incapacitating drugs can give up their kids and their assets and live
in a "gated community" (jail) where they can have all the drugs they want, ruin their bodies, die, etc.  They're addicts, they won't care.
If they want to clean up they can, when they're clean they can leave.  Users of pot & alcohol can give up their drivers licenses.
Something like that.  What we do now is ridiculous.  This plan is ridiculous too.  Shoot em all has been tried and does not work.
Something should be tried that has some relation to the facts.

This 'gated community' and 'surrender driver's licenses' approach is a bit disappointing.  Americans will never deal with drugs constructively until they face the fundamental truths - "the facts" - about drugs: 1. There is no fundamental pharmacological difference between legal and illegal drugs - the difference that prohibition ideology depends on is pure malicious invention.  2. No drug has any power over a user that the user does not give to the drug.  3.  Consequently, the majority of the users of every drug do not use it excessively, harmfully, or dangerously.  4. Therefore, 'addicts' are not relevant to drug policy governing the majority.

Persecuting the non-addicted majority of the users of each drug does absolutely nothing to prevent addiction by the minority of the users of that drug because the causes of the minority's addiction are pre-existing conditions that are not common to the rest of the users and are unrelated to the specific effects of any given drug - or other, as commonly, non-drug related self-destructive behavior.    Most Americans have historically (almost) always understood that about alcohol.  Americans have to learn that what is true about alcohol is true about all drugs and that the prohibitionists who have been using the mainstream media to tell them otherwise are lying in order to pursue their own addiction to the most powerful drug known to humanity - the drug of power over other people.

Because the addiction to power is fundamentally destructive of the moral principles of a civil society and is not curable, the solution is to abolish prohibition and prosecute and convict prohibitionists of treason and execute them by public decapitation (Vive le guillotine!).   Then establish a regulated market, with accurate, rational consumer education at the point of purchase (instead of brainwashing school children to buy into authoritarian ideology), set prices low enough to prevent the crime causing black market, while taxing it enough to pay for treatment for the addicted minority, leaving the non-addict majority with the same level of social acceptance and respect now enjoyed by the non-alcoholic majority of alcohol consumers.  Any imperfections in such a system are an affordable price for Liberty, Justice, and rational harm-reduction.

I expect that you're commenting on the issue in response to the mainstream media's approximately once a decade review of the issue, where, at least some of, their writers confront the fact that 'supply-side reduction' is a total failure (and maybe even that it is predictably absolutely certain to always fail), so they then they talk about the feeble, pathetic and irrational attempts at 'demand-side reduction'.  The truth here is that there is absolutely no excuse to attempt to reduce the demand among the non-addict majority.  The use of psycho-active substances is a legitimate exercise of the right of Liberty.  That fact that so many people do it is a repudiation, by voting with our neurochemistry, of the unsatisfying consumerist way of life that our fascist plutocratic rulers need us to be addicted to, as well as the unsatisfactory performance the drugs they allow legally.

So there!  Tell that to your right-wing customers.   Harrumph!

Greg  Franck-Weiby

My suggestion of gated communities had in mind the meth people, with whom I've had some contact lately.  They are tough cases, no?

Ya, but they'd be tough cases even if they weren't doing meth.  Meth just accelerates and exaggerates whatever one is doing, but it is still a difference in degree rather than kind.   I've known cranksters who were the scariest people I've ever met.  I've known people fully addicted to meth who've successfully stopped use without legal or therapeutic intervention.  The difference is in the individuals, not the drug.   (As for having had some contact with tweakers lately, what comes to mind is the aphorism that 'a conservative is a liberal who got mugged - while a liberal is a conservative who got busted'.)

Of course, my 'fundamental truths'  are generalities.  My sense of drug use patterns is that the portion of the users of any drug who consume it excessively with harmful effects (the actual legal and medical definition of 'drug abuse', as opposed to the prohibitionists' definition of any use of a forebidden drug without regard to quantities used or whether there are any actual harmful effects in any case) ranges from 10% (e.g. Cannabis, cocaine, and alcohol) to 25% (e.g. heroin).   However, with meth, it might actually be closer to approaching half of the users.  I figure that's because the most powerful drugs appeal most to people who already have extreme damage to begin with.  Of course, there is one exception to the 'only a minority are addicted' rule, i.e. nicotine - 97% of tobacco users are clinically addicted.

I have to admit that, years ago, I entertained 'libertarian' fantasies of dealing with all behavior that violates the rights of an individual (including advocating laws that violate the rights of individuals who have not violated anyone else's rights) by condemning violators to permanent 'internal exile', i.e. fence off a large area of land nobody else wants somewhere in the intermountain west, bounded by electronic fences.  Each convict would have a chip implanted in his brain that would cause severe pain if he got within a hundred yards of the fence, and cause his brain to explode if he got within ten yards of the fence.  He'd be given basic survival skills training and then dropped by helicopter into the middle of the area with some basic tools and a couple of months of supplies.  Of course, it would be essentially a death sentence for most, because a few of the most aggressive predators would gang up on the new comers.   The isolation, insecurity and violence would probably cause a lot of the few survivors to commit suicide by deliberately charging the fence.  &c.

Of course, both this and the drug prohibition we have now are emotionally violent attempts to escape dealing with the real problems.  The real problem is that there are a lot of people toward the end of the spectrum of dysfunctional, due to developmental damage, physical, mental, emotional damage, from malnutrition, environmental neurotoxins, physical, emotional, sexual abuse, or just plain dysfunctional authoritarian child rearing practices.   'Conservatives' deny the problems by pretending that the symptoms (e.g. drug addiction) are the cause (no drug, no addiction, right?  wrong - the compulsion to self destructive behavior affecting others is still there and acted upon) - which is just drooling idiot childish stupid.

'Liberals' can (sometimes, often?) accept that addiction is a symptom, but they're generally clueless about the depth and nature of the causes.   Even when they have some hazy idea of what solutions might be, to get electoral power, they have to put on a show of being fiscally responsible, so they accept that we can't afford to pay to heal the problems that exist regardless of whether drugs exist.  So, they accept the 'strategy' of violently suppressing those individuals who respond to their problems with violent behavior.

Ultimately, the deepest causes probably really can't be solved - e.g. that most human beings now are abnormal for human beings because we've grown up in non-functional nuclear families instead of the extended families we evolved with, because of population density stress (population densities several orders of magnitude greater than what we evolved with and which continue to increase faster than it's possible to adapt to), because beings that have always had a single life time occupation are now casually discarded by an unsustainable economy rapidly changing in a futile attempt to survive, while subjecting us to literally countless industrial neurotoxins that never existed before, &c.,&c., &c.

The "regulated market, with accurate, rational consumer education at the point of purchase (instead of brainwashing school children to buy into authoritarian ideology), set prices low enough to prevent the crime causing black market, while taxing it enough to pay for treatment for the addicted minority..." I mentioned is a general concept I've occasionally advocated over the past decade or two.  It would consist of a 'non-medical drug dispensary' system.  Because people can brew/vint their own alcohol and grow their own Cannabis, (and theoretically also their own tobacco), and hunt for mushrooms in the wild, the system probably wouldn't apply to those drugs, and it wouldn't be politically possible to establish if it covered caffeine and theobromine.

The way it would work is that, at the same age when someone can get a driver's license, they can register with the non-medical drug dispensary system, getting a card and an iris print ID in a database for the whole system.  At that point, part of the process of registering would be taking the equivalent of a driver's ed class, just outlining the psycho-pharmacological science of what drugs are, what they do, why people really use them, and why everybody is concerned enough about it to regulate it.  Then, when an individual wants to buy a dose of a given drug, he has to get an endorsement on his card for that drug, taking a short course on the details of that particular drug, what people desire it for, what its effects and side effects are, effective and dangerous levels of dosage, statistical probability of becoming addicted, risk factors observed in those who do become addicted, &c.

Then they can buy enough to use themselves (each dispensary being linked to the whole system's database would allow ensuring that a registered user can't buy enough in one day by buying personal use doses at several different dispensaries, to be able to resell, say, to minors).   If somebody wants to take a really big dose, maybe there can be a place on the premisses, to make sure they're the ones taking it, that they aren't going to go driving, that medical assistance is at hand, &c.  If somebody comes in really emaciated, then, OK, sure, we'll sell you your dose, but first we'd like you to talk to the nurse about how you're doing generally.   Referrals to various kinds of treatment, and even life-style alternatives, would be available - maybe recommended, but not coerced (it'll only work when the individual is ready for it to work anyway) .

The advantages of such a system are that, 1. people don't start using a given drug without knowing what they're getting into, on the basis of scientifically accurate information instead of flaming irrational ideology, 2. they don't have to commit black market crime to buy the drugs, 3. you've got some idea of who and where they are and whether they need help, and 4. - if anybody really gives a shit about those particular human beings, then they can act on it - instead of just using a phony image of stereotypes of who they are to rationalize state violence.   The basic concept is called 'harm reduction'.

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