We hear relentlessly about what it costs to fight the "war on drugs." What we don't hear about is what it would cost not to fight it. Here's a sample from tonight's AP report, courtesy of MSNBC:
Cheap, ultra-pure heroin kills instantly
WINFIELD, Mo. - Mexican drug smugglers are increasingly peddling a form of ultra-potent heroin that sells for as little as $10 a bag and is so pure it can kill unsuspecting users instantly, sometimes before they even remove the syringe from their veins.
An Associated Press review of drug overdose data shows that so-called "black tar" heroin -- named for its dark, gooey consistency -- and other forms of the drug are contributing to a spike in overdose deaths across the nation and attracting a new generation of users who are caught off guard by its potency.
"We found people who snorted it lying face-down with the straw lying next to them," said Patrick O'Neil, coroner in suburban Chicago's Will County, where annual heroin deaths have nearly tripled -- from 10 to 29 -- since 2006. "It's so potent that we occasionally find the needle in the arm at the death scene."
It is no answer to say legalize and regulate, because addicts will always seek the strongest high regardless of the consequences, which they convince themselves can only happen to other people. Addiction is a death spiral. You can no more regulate it than you can regulate brain cancer. With all respect to my libertarian friends, this is a war we have no moral choice but to fight.