Originally published at: Better Dead Than Dependent | Free Keene
As politicians and law enforcement leaders spin their wheels trying to get ahold of the fentanyl crisis, those of us in the drug policy reform movement have long had the answer to solving the overdose issue: legalize, regulate, and educate. Treat drug abuse as it should be: a medical condition, not a criminal justice one.
To say that the Drug War has been an abject failure is to simply be a broken record repeating the message that we’ve been saying all along. President Joe Biden’s administration funded $42.5 billion dollars for drug control for fiscal year 2023. This was a complete waste of your money, just like all the years before it. Were the enforcement of drug laws making a difference the following overdose statistics would simply not exist.
The police keep doing the same thing they’ve always done… and the deaths just keep on rising.
As the title of this blog suggests, and I challenge you to refute it, our current drug policy supported by law enforcement and political leaders would rather have people die than be dependent on a narcotic. The long solution to saving money, reducing crime, saving lives, and reducing addiction, has been to open public opiate clinics where addicts can get the drugs they need to function in society. Yes, we should spend taxpayer dollars on giving maintenance doses of drugs to people with opiate use disorder rather than spending money on prosecuting and incarcerating them. Addicts would no longer have to attack innocent people through robberies, burglaries, and theft to get money to acquire the drugs they need to function. Innocent people would be protected from crime. Sick people would be helped with the ultimate goal being drug free.
Doctors would want to administer less drugs, black market drug dealers want to administer more.
We could put the cartels out of business overnight. We could stop funding wonderful organizations like the Taliban who profit off illicit opium sales.
This, of course, means that we would have to shift away from what the police and politicians currently want. That is that people should be dead rather than dependent on a drug. It is a cruel policy that costs lives when in contrast we could be saving lives and reducing addiction by simply having doctors and nurses provide the narcotics people need to sustain themselves. Opiate use disorder is a legitimate medical condition that should be treated by medical professionals, not by law enforcement officers with handcuffs and cold jail cells.
Legalizing drugs has never been about the fact that all drugs are a good thing that people should use. To the contrary, I think all people should steer clear of opiates the best they can. Legalizing drugs has been about the fact that drugs are too dangerous to be controlled by the low-life criminal element of society and that having professional medical staff administering drugs would reduce death and disease.
President Biden: you can heal our world and correct the policy mistakes you have supported in the past.
Dismiss Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Dr. Rahul Gupta and replace him with Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann. Repeal the federal “crack house” statue, 21 USC 856, that prevents overdose prevention centers from opening.
Harm reduction is the future.