It seems that every day, on every news outlet, there is a reference to the growing “opioid epidemic.” The proposed solutions are far-ranging, depending on one’s political leanings. The Left proposes increasing treatment options and needle exchanges while the Right believes an escalation in the already failed and immoral war on drugs will somehow reduce the demand and supply for heroin and prescription drugs.
The real solution is complete legalization. Take alcohol for instance. Most of us have walked into a government-sanctioned liquor store to purchase this drug; a physically addictive and dangerous depressant. Alcohol abuse can result in violence, death, and destroyed lives, but the Constitution enshrines its legality! We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to get fucked up! Jaywalking is illegal but drinking yourself to death is an actual right…as it should be.
Years of Prohibition taught our society some valuable lessons. The most important being that if you make a substance illegal, a dangerous and violent black market will fulfill the demand. Between Al Capone, and unsafe production techniques, countless people were either killed by machine guns, or blinded by methanol. Enforcement was prohibitively expensive, and largely ineffective. There was simply too much money to made assuaging America’s thirst.
The same lessons should be applied to heroin. How many overdoses can be attributed to unsafe manufacturing and measuring? While an wretched alcoholic can legally purchase Jack Daniels in a government regulated store, knowing that the bottle measures exactly one liter, contains 40% ethanol, and was produced in a highly supervised and regulated environment, the junkie has no such guarantees. Impurities like fentanyl, along with the fact that a fellow junkie probably weighed and packaged the heroin in the presence of an illegal handgun, only contribute to the overdose rates.
How much safer would the world be if a heroin user could walk into the corner heroin store, know to the exact microgram what he or she is shooting, and purchase clean needles and other accessories at checkout? No more gangs, dealers, overcrowded prisons, or armed agents of the state preying on poor neighborhoods.
Despite assertions on the part of law enforcement that they actually reduce supply, not one prostitute, after performing her service will be heard to say:
“I’ve been sucking dicks all day, and I have ALL of this money in my pocket, but thanks to the concerted efforts of the police, I have nowhere to get my shit! Maybe I’ll just enroll in college, get a job, and improve my lot in life…”
I personally feel that you own your body, not the government. We are citizens, not subjects. The Revolutionary War decided that in the 1700s. As long as your pursuit of happiness doesn’t affect mine, then “do as thou wilt.” The U.S. government has no place regulating morality, but one of the few things it regulates well is the quality and distribution of alcohol, and it should apply that expertise to all other recreational drugs.