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Opioids' Astonishing Toll

If we make it easier to obtain addictive but lethal drugs, more of them will be used.  Legalizing them, or reducing the penalties for trafficking them, will make them easier to obtain.

So is this what we want?

The liberal Washington Post today features an article that makes the answer unavoidable to any but the most dead-end partisan.  Its title is, "Fueled by drug crisis, U.S. life expectancy declines for a second straight year."

American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016, fueled by a staggering 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The United States has not seen two years of declining life expectancy since 1962 and 1963, when influenza caused an inordinate number of deaths. In 1993, there was a one-year drop during the worst of the AIDS epidemic.

Not for nothing do the American people overwhelmingly oppose legalizing hard drugs.
This is the Huffington Post (no less) poll:


Prescription painkillers (aka "opioids") are legal. Controlled, yes, but legal. Although some opioid addicts eventually turn to heroin (because it's cheaper than prescription painkillers are once the prescriptions run out), the main problem in the opioid crisis is legal prescription drugs, and their over-prescription by physicians.

I agree with you that "hard drugs" shouldn't be legalized, but I'm sure I follow your logic here.

You are certainly correct that opioids are legal -- I occasionally ask my doctor to prescribe some for back pain.

The main problem is, I think, with pill mill doctors who prescribe them with no sound medical reason, and often without even an examination. They also prescribe them in huge amounts, knowing or having good reason to know that what's really going on is that the "patient" is a trafficker who's going to re-sell them on the street.

My target in this post is that portion of libertarian thinkers who emphatically urge the legalization of all drugs, on the grounds that this will make for a freer country, and that it's up to the individual to decide what to put into his own body.

This is a principled argument, but not one with which I agree.

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