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End the War on Drugs?

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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.

3 Comments

The schizophrenia of liberals on drugs is truly breathtaking--on one hand, they'll tell us that they have to regulate everything under the sun, salt, saturated fat etc. to protect us from evil corporations, and on the other they'll tell us that the war on drugs is doomed to fail, racist, etc. If corporations are evil, what are gang members who try to hook our kids on heroin?

Bringing large quantities of dangerous drugs across the border ought to earn someone a death sentence.

Why is this instant death effect a bad thing? This is not a jocular response or a rhetorical question.

Everyone is better off with the eradication of the heroin addict. They commit hundreds of crimes a year. They destroy their families and any work place. They spread disease. These deaths may also be good for other heroin addicts. They may pause a bit and wonder what their purchase contains. Some may be driven to treatment out of fear.

So, what is the down side?

I actually know the down side.

It decreases the number of good lawyer clients.

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