Kill 'Em All; Let God Sort 'Em Out

Some truly astonishing behavior at ONDCP:

Public health workers from New York to Los Angeles, North Carolina to New Mexico, are preventing thousands of deaths by giving $9.50 rescue kits to drug users. The kits turn drug users into first responders by giving them the tools to save a life.

[...]

The nasal spray is a drug called naloxone, or Narcan. It blocks the brain receptors that heroin activates, instantly reversing an overdose.

Doctors and emergency medical technicians have used Narcan for years in hospitals and ambulances. But it doesn't require much training because it's impossible to overdose on Narcan.

[...]

John Gatto, executive director of the Cambridge program, says such dramatic results are unusual in the world of substance abuse treatment and prevention.

"In the work that we do, oftentimes the results are very intangible," Gatto says. "This is amazing to be involved in something that literally can save people's lives. Why wouldn't we do it?"

Indeed. Why wouldn't you?

But Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs.

"First of all, I don't agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That's No. 1," she says. "I just don't think that's good public health policy."

Madras says drug users aren't likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn't as likely.

Madras says the rescue programs might take away the drug user's motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.

"Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services," Madras says.

Digest that for a sec. Better to let a heroin user die than administer a product that, in some cases, may remove the threat of overdose death from people who use heroin to excess. This is the mentality of your modern drug warrior. We're fighting drug use not because it's dangerous or harmful, but because they believe drug use is, in and of itself, immoral.

Today's drug war isn't about saving lives, it's about saving souls. It's the same mentality that led some family values types to oppose the marketing of Gardasil. Remove the threat of cervical cancer from premarital sex and, golly, some girls might have more premarital sex. If a few have to learn an important lesson by dying of cervical cancer, so be it.

Via Mark Kleiman, who adds:

Why not just go all the way and poison the heroin supply? If withholding Narcan in order to generate more overdoses in order to scare addicts into quitting were proposed as an experiment, it could never get past human-subjects review. But since it's a failure to act rather than an action, there's no rule to require that it be even vaguely rational.

Kleiman is hyperbolizing. But it probably won't surprise you to learn that there are idiots out there who aren't.

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  • ||

    Mr. Balko, when you say it is astonishing, I trust you do not mean that you, personally, are astonished or even slightly surprised.

  • ||

    Today's drug war isn't about saving lives, it's about saving souls. it's the same mentality that led some family values types to oppose the marketing of Gardasil. Remove the threat of cervical cancer from premarital sex and, golly, some girls might have more premarital sex. If a few have to learn an important lesson by dying of cervical cancer, so be it.

    I usually find Mr. Balko's work to be excellent, and most of this article is no exception, but he loses points for having the lamest analysis yet of the opposition to Texas' mandatory cervical cancer vaccine.

    No mention of the shoddy testing of the product, nor of the requirement that only one vaccine be used (the one manufactured by a huge donor to the Texas governor's campaign), nor even a risk-benefit analysis of vaccinations for relatively rare diseases.

    I know you were just looking for a toss-off example to strengthen your main point, but still.

  • ||

    Bertha Madras apparently has no compunction at all about violating her Hippocratic oath when it conflicts with her hatred of drug users.

    Isn't there some procedure in the medical profession to expel doctors who display depraved indifference to human life?

    -jcr

  • ||

    matt-

    Radley said, "It's the same mentality that led some family values types to oppose the marketing of Gardasil."

    That's quite a different statement than, "All those who oppose Gardasil do so because of this mentality."

  • ||

    My understanding is that the typical heroin overdose death is due to an overdose of the crap that was used to cut the heroin, not the heroin itself. Drug fiends, am I full of shit?

  • anonymous||

    yes you are I am not a drug fiend but yes you are

  • nonesuch||

    Well, at least you can't accuse them of being inconsistent.

  • ||

    You're right Brandon, but it still comes down to people complaining about what will be (coercively) put in their kids bodies, and I don't think an individual's religious convictions are necessarily less valid than alternative medicine convictions, especially since neither are based on concrete proof, but only on the principles of freedom of conscience.

  • Ryan||

    Is arming public health workers with overdose antidotes, that are presumably paid-for by the taxpayer, consistent with libertarian philosophy? What about needle exchanges, or methadone clinics?

  • Metal Messiah||

    By this line of reasoning, seat belts should be illegal to have in cars because it might encourage people to drive unsafely.

  • ||

    From the link in the last sentence:

    Legalizing drugs is moronic and has not worked to the advantage of the societies where it has been tried.

    So true. The US legalized booze and just fell apart afterwards. Couldn't cope with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union or Communist China afterwards.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    What else should we expect from a government agency whose leader is affectionately nicknamed a czar?

  • ||

    Metal, I've heard that reasoning taken even further. Imagine how safe people would drive if you took out the seat belts and air bags and had a big steel spike sticking out of the middle of the steering wheel.

  • ||

    Warty

    I think you're right that adulterant chemicals do cause some deaths. However, my cop friends tell me it's commoner that addicts get used to taking a quantity of the stuff that's been cut. They then overdose when they get the pure stuff because they think they don't realize it isn't cut and take the same physical quantity.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Let's take a cue from the historic inspiration for Count Dracula and call him John "the Impaler" Walters.

  • LarryA||

    "Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services," Madras says.

    This is only an extension of the argument that making people do hard time in prison (thereby ruining their lives by giving them drug arrest records) and denying them education opportunities is somehow preferable to letting them recreationally experiment with pot.

    In the good old days they just tied you to a stake and lit the bonfire to save your soul.

    And, of course, if anyone suggested poisioning any other product and distributing it in the population the terrorist enforcers would be on him like wet on a frog.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Warty,

    Aresen's story rings more true.

  • BakedPenguin||

    We're fighting drug use not because it's dangerous or harmful, but because they believe drug use is, in and of itself, immoral.



    Of course. There is no medical reason for marijuana to be illegal. Not while 2,000 or so people a year overdose on alcohol (not to mention the other, more numerous long-term deaths it causes.)

  • tarran||

    The ONDCP... What a bunch of vile evil little people. It's too bad that we don't have time machines; those people would fit right in during the Spanish Inquisition hunting down old widows to burn at the stake.

  • ||

    BP

    Not while 2,000 or so people a year overdose on alcohol

    Do you mean fatalities? I had no idea the number was so high. Do you have a link?

    (I'm assuming you mean fatalities, because it seems far too low to be just the number hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.)

  • SIV||

    Why not just go all the way and poison the heroin supply?

    Jimmy Carter tried it with the marijuana supply.
    see paraquat,in HS they told us we would melt our lungs and die if we smoked paraquat treated weed.

    Aresen's cop friends speak the truth.

  • SIV||

    There is no medical reason for marijuana any drug to be illegal.


    I'm not aware of any medical reason for infringing on property rights.

  • ||

    It is, of course, for the children.

    Always, think of the children.

  • ||

    Matt, I think you're conflating two quite different groups. The first doesn't want mandatory innoculations for their children. The second opposes allowing anyone to have access to the innoculation. Radley was pretty clearly referring to this second group in his post.

  • Cheese||

    Always, think of the children.


    We did :)

  • SIV||

    The second opposes allowing anyone to have access to the innoculation.


    Please cite or otherwise document these people.

  • Taktix®||

    Radley's Posts: Like discovering Santa isn't real...

  • ||

    Kill 'Em All; Let God Sort 'Em Out

    Out Fucking Standing!

  • ||

    USMC

    IIRC, Radley's headline, in it's original form, comes from Cardinal Robert of Geneva. The good Cardinal, when his troops had taken an enemy city, was asked how to determine who wre faithful - and thus should be spared - and who were heretics to be put to death.

    The Cardinal responded "Kill them all, God will know his own."

  • ||

    "More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn't as likely."

    To what else can we apply this wondrous logic?

    How many children do child safety seats and seat belts kill every year, what, with the false sense of security they give some drivers? Maybe we should encourage football players and motorcyclists to stop wearing helmets? How many people die every year due to do the false sense of security fire extinguishers instill? Should we get rid of 911 call centers entirely?

    I can't think of any situation in which preventative measures do more harm than good.

    When I worked in a hospital, they went out of their way not to single out AIDS patients, or patients with HIV, because they wanted us to treat every patient as if they were HIV positive, regardless of whether they'd been tested. ...but I think that's more like implementing preventative measures everywhere they're needed, rather than keeping them only in the hands of a few.

  • Dave B.||

    SIV - I looked up the paraquat thing on wikipedia, and there was no actual poisoning of the weed supply, just your standard bullshitting about the dangers of smoking pot.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Areson, cool, didn't know that. Always thought that was a USMC original sort of like, well, there's only two kinda Naval Personnel. Corpsmen and ..........

  • Rimfax||

    I smell an abortion threadjack coming on.... Maybe I'll just do it myself, but not tonight.

  • ||

    TWC

    Robert of Geneva is the earliest person saying it that I know of. Barbara Tuchman mentions the story in her history of 14th Century France, A Distant Mirror.

    He later went on to become Pope (well, actually, an Anti-Pope, by official church reconning.)

    However, enough for now. It's bedtime. G'night.

    [BTW: Why does Radley keep putting up these depressing posts late on Sunday night? Is he trying to spoil our sleep?]

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    A, I dunno, but Radley must be on anti-depressants. How else could he deal with this crap?

    Sleep tight, no bug bed bites. Or something like that.

  • shecky||

    FWIW, wikipedia puts the phrase "neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet" ("kill them all, god will know his own.") on Arnaud Amaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, the Papal Legate. Whoever the fuck he was.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(full)

    Under "N".

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    Matt, honestly dude, UTFG. There was a big dustup about approving this vaccine. Radley isn't talking about any mandatory vaccine.

  • ||

    The fools, don't they realize all they have to do is put naloxone in the water and it'll block all of our receptors. No one would be able to enjoy opiates ever again!
    You know, a lot of people in Afghanistan grow opium... We could just call it part of the war on terror.

  • ||

    FWIW, wikipedia puts the phrase "neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet" ("kill them all, god will know his own.") on Arnaud Amaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, the Papal Legate. Whoever the fuck he was.


    It was during the Albigensian crusade in southeastern France in the 13th century. After taking the city of Beziers, Arnaud was credited with saying this, though it's probably apocryphal. The reason the quote works is because the city in question was rife (as was much of the region) with the Cathar heresy, therefore God would figure out which were true Catholics and which were heretics.

    And everyone said that medieval history degree would be useless...

  • Mith||

    SIV said:
    "Please cite or otherwise document these people."

    I'm not the original poster, but here's the best I could do in 20 seconds of searching the web. Second to last paragraph.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/06/08/cervical.vaccine/index.html?iref=newssearch

  • ||

    We're fighting drug use not because it's dangerous or harmful, but because they believe drug use is, in and of itself, immoral.

    I like to think of it as the Mr. Mackey mentality, "Drugs are bad, mmmkay." And yes, that's a major mentality behind this giant drug war.

    I used to live in Houston and subscribed to the local paper to get a flavor of what the place was all about. They put letters from readers on the front page - an admirable practice, but with some interesting results. One of my favorites was from a guy who wrote in to say that any worrying about ozone pollution was a scam because everyone knows the ozone layer is good and if ozone is good, how can it be bad?

    IMO, that only about accounts for maybe half the support of the drug war among the general population. The rest comes from the fact that sometimes taking drugs does have bad consequences and all too frequently those consequences are not solely born by the drug users. This is exacerbated in the current situation by all sorts bad consequences being attributed to drugs whether they should be or not.

    Know anyone who's ever lived near a "drug house"? Not fun.

    Standard libertarian disclaimer #whatever: I don't support making drugs illegal. I do support personal responsibility and laws that directly correct externalities without creating greater externalities of their own.

  • Ventifact||

    Libertarianism is such an intellectual hassle. Drugs should be legal. Welfare should be (maybe mostly) gone. But we still lament the opposition to what is essentially a form of welfare (a free service often used by people who make poor choices, which disincentivises making good choices). But we oppose this opposition because it is motivated by moralistic statism, and we might well still be opposed ourselves to this form of welfare.

    Most people either say a) I like drugs, so I like whatever makes drug use easier or b) I don't like drugs, so I support making drug use more difficult. (One of the strangest things about option b) is that many of its adherents used to like drugs, but since they don't anymore, hey... Man, our frickin' parents, eh?)

  • Ventifact||

    Know anyone who's ever lived near a "drug house"? Not fun.



    Yes actually, for about a year. It was in a neighborhood that was not affluent, but nonetheless pretty safe (you would feel fine walking around alone at 3:00 am). No hassles ever arose.

  • ||

    Sleep tight, no bug bed bites.

    That was before DDT was just another controlled substance.

  • adam||

    They can't do that to cannabis. It's too easy to grow your own.

  • ||

    I'm certainly no friend of the typical heroin user, but for me this is a simple idea. Which is cheaper, a $10 kit to correct an OD, or the police callout, autopsy and subsequent investigation that can follow drug related deaths. If our government were practical about this, they'd hardly blink at implementing the cheap solution without even the consideration of the morality of the issue. I really don't care whether a heroin user lives or dies, but I hate the fact that I have to spend more taxes on his/her death than their life because some high horse in washington has some petty moral qualms about the decision.

  • Vincent Gigante||

    from NPR link:

    "Many times, drug users and their friends don't call 911, which is why overdoses are so often fatal. They're afraid the police might come, and they could get arrested - or lose their housing or custody of their children."

    There is really no reason for drugs to be illegal, an even better stat in that article is more users die from overdose than hepatitis and aids. "Public Health" is one of the reasons prohibitionist argue but once again that is proven incorrect.

    BTW, why dont they just sell it for $9 instead of giving it for free, always either subsidize it or prohibit it.

  • M||

    Lost, grisly though it may be, wouldn't the comparison have to factor the cost of saving each life multiplied by the number of times the same life is saved (plus the public cost of maintaining that life) vs. the one-time cost of mortality? Not that I find this approach appealing.

  • ||

    Wow, SIV called out twice and no reply. Great job guys!

    He comes on, makes bold comments without cite (the Carter and paraquat one) and then demands citation from others on their claims.

    I'm no expert on the paraquat thing, but here is the first thing I found on a Google search:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919548-1,00.html

    It said the use of it started in 1975. Who was President then?

  • ||

    Know anyone who's ever lived near a "drug house"? Not fun.

    I'm sure its not. And drug legalization would do away with those kinds of black market outlets.

  • ||

    "Please cite or otherwise document these people."

    "Oh, do your research, Shutton!":

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/35003.html

    http://www.reason.com/blog/printer/120154.html

    The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • ||

    I spent a few minutes on google and found this, for whatever it's worth.

    Dr. Helpern's associate, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Baden, went on to further discredit the already implausible overdose theory at a joint meeting of two American Medical Association drug-dependency committees held in Palo Alto, California, in February 1969.

    "The majority of deaths," Dr. Baden told the AMA physicians, "are due to an acute reaction to the intravenous injection of the heroin-quinine-sugar mixture. This type of death is often referred to as an 'overdose,' which is a misnomer. Death is not due to a pharmacological overdose in the vast majority of cases."


  • ||

    ...and I don't think an individual's religious convictions are necessarily less valid than alternative medicine convictions, especially since neither are based on concrete proof, but only on the principles of freedom of conscience.

    Since both have zero scientific validity, you're correct. 0 = 0. Excellent observation.

  • ||

    there's only two kinda Naval Personnel. Corpsmen and ..........

    As The Wine Commonsewer calls for NGFS, J sub D replies "Did not copy your last, you're breaking up. Say again. Over." ;-)

  • ||

    More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn't as likely.

    Can we make her head of the Federal Reserve?
    If people know the bank will foreclose on their home, they might be less likely to borrow more money than they can repay.

    Yes, yes, I know....

  • ||

    The ONDCP... What a bunch of vile evil little people.

    Well put, tarran. Very well put.

  • Episiarch||

    Opium abusers aren't human, so letting them die by overdose is fine. Shit, it was the chinks who started the opium dens out west, right? And we all know them yellow bastards ain't human.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Aresen, I found this link, where they estimate 4,000 deaths a year, but I find the source dubious.

    American Scientist estimates a much lower figure - about 300.

    Sorry about that. I'd seen the 2,000 figure a few times several years ago when I was looking into alcohol poisoning, and I thought it was a hard stat, not an estimate.

  • ||

    I envision cute little stores where people can buy their heroine and their kit separately or as part of a nice gift pack.

    "Oh, and toss in a dime bag for my friend, here."

    "Would you like a receipt?"

    "Hell yeah. I'm bringing this shit back if it sucks."

  • ||

    That's how we roll on Rainbow Puppy Island.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm not aware of any medical reason for infringing on property rights.



    Jesus. I forget the libertarian disclaimer one f*cking time, and the purity police are right behind...

  • ||

    I envision cute little stores where people can buy their heroine ...

    I don't think Lise Meitner is ever going to be for sale.

    Just kidding, Nick. ;-)

  • miche||

    My thoughts on this issue as expressed on another blog:

    I think the Narcan program is fabulous on all levels. If you get away from the moral issues of drug abuse and simply look at the financial benefits of programs such as this you will find that Narcan, at < $2 a dose, is much cheaper than the ~ $16,000 average cost of an overdose hospitalization. (Source)

    That doesn't even begin to compare to the humane benefits of early overdose corrective measures.

  • Curtis Elliott||

    REEL LIFE FILMS


    January 26, 2008


    I recently read your article about drug abuse. The subject of illicit drug use is near and dear to me. I grew up in an area where drug abuse was common. As young people many of us participated in the drug trade as users , dealers and enjoyed the lifestyle. The participation in this subculture derailed our lives, in some cases for ever, and for the rest us success on any level became a dream and only a fraction of our original potential. It took jail and poverty among other things to force me into a change. With an intimate knowledge of my own failures, the love of my son, and the desire to help a friend, I took a chance and produced the award winning documentary Hairkutt.

    Hairkutt is the true story of one man's life and death battle against heroin and his friends' daring move to try to save him. Unflinchingly captured by the camera in a style more powerful and raw than any reality TV, Hairkutt takes us inside the personal nightmare of drug addicts to witness their horror, and the courage and desperation of those who love them.

    When I decided to make Hairkutt in 2002, I didn't set out to make a movie for the fame, the money, or even for the art. I wasn't an established filmmaker, having never shot anything other than the typical birthday party and backyard bar-b-que. But I was driven to make a very particular film for a very specific reason: to save lives. My decision was born of my love for a close friend who was a heroin addict, as well as my love for my son and a desire to emphasize to my child the dangers of drug use. The idea turned into a very risky endeavor, not only for me, but for everyone involved in making the film. Not only did we put our friendships and trust in each other on the line, at least one of us literally risked his life.

    Five years later, the film has wowed audiences across the country, garnered critical acclaim from major film critics, and won awards at several film festivals. As of January 15, the film is available nationwide on DVD.

    I want to make myself and my documentary available to you as a resource for any stories you develop in the future. You can find additional information on my film at www.hairkuttthemovie.com .

    All the best,
    Curtis Elliott,

    Director/Producer
    www.hairkuttthemovie.com
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    P.O. Box 2260, Florissant, MO, 63032 • curtiselliott23@yahoo.com

  • Fluffy||

    Keep in mind that drug warriors tend to have a consequentialist point of view: drugs are bad because if you take them bad things happen.

    But the "bad things" they are worried about aren't spectacular and grisly deaths by overdose. The consequences they specifically are concerned about are: "If our kids get high, they might have sex," or "If our kids get high, they might not participate as vigorously in their indoctrination into their roles as servants of the state" etcetera.

    Their consequentalist argument therefore isn't swayed in the least if you point out the illogic of opposing attempts to mitigate overdose risk. Those aren't the consequences they're worried about, because they could care less about those people. The primary consequence they're worried about is losing a small part of the control they exert over suburban adolescents. If some heroin users have to die so they can continue to employ their deaths in anti-drug and pro-state propaganda directed at suburban adolescents, it's a small price to pay.

  • ||

    Why do I owe one dime of my tax money to save some herione addict? I thought Reason was against welfare? I guess they throw that out the window when it comes to drug users. If they want to let pharmacies sell this stuff, fine. But no way in hell should the government or public health officials spend one dime helping these bums out. If they OD themselves, tough shit, it just helps the gene pool.

    This kind of stuff is why people don't take Libertarians seriously. They rail against welfare but then think it is okay if said welfare goes to fucking degenerates hooked on heroine.

  • ||

    Madras says drug users aren't likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn't as likely.

    Ok, so they aren't competent enough to give themselves a nasal spray, but they're rational enough to *decide* to continue to use heroin because it's ceased being a serious death threat... that's retarded. If heroin is as addictive as I've been told, addicts don't need a rational reason to continue to use it. She's just trying to apply logic to a situation that's not made by a rational consumer.

  • ||

    This kind of stuff is why people don't take Libertarians seriously.

    DRINK!

  • Episiarch||

    John, you might want to compare the costs to you of a cheap overdose prevention drug as opposed to an emergency room visit. Your tax money is already going to a) attempting to prevent heroin users from getting some horse, b) incarcerating them when they get busted, and c) healing them when they overdose and need to go to the hospital.

    And let's not forget methadone clinics, drug prevention propaganda, psychological counseling, etc.

  • miche||

    They rail against welfare but then think it is okay if said welfare goes to fucking degenerates hooked on heroine.



    I hate taxpayer funded welfare but that's nonetheless what we have. We may as well try to make it more efficient while we work to get rid of it.

  • Fluffy||

    Hey, fine -

    Everyone who gets one of these things should be sent a bill for $10.

    Now the program is no longer tainted by the stain of welfare. Problem solved. John's objection silenced.

  • tarran||

    They rail against welfare but then think it is okay if said welfare goes to fucking degenerates hooked on heroine.



    No John,

    Rather, we think that if you are going to have a welfare program such as Public Health services that it should be efficiently and humanely run.

    Anyway, I thought that you earlier claimed that we anarchists are crazy?

    Now you're claiming that libertarians aren't taken seriously because they aren't anarchic enough?

    so, if I take this to its logical conclusion, you don't take libertarians seriously because they aren't crazy enough?

    Okaaaaayyyyyyyyy.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Keep Dope Alive

  • ||

    "Rather, we think that if you are going to have a welfare program such as Public Health services that it should be efficiently and humanely run."


    No I really don't. I hate the idea of giving one dime to a drug addict. Yes, I think drugs should be legal, but I don't think society owes so much as a cup of coffee to people who are unable to control themselves. These things are $10 a piece. If they have the money for herione, they have the money for this. We shouldn't spend one dime on treatment or rehab for these bums. There are people in this society who really are sick and disadvantaged due to no fault of their own. People that are mentally disabled, injured in accidents and so forth, any welfare we spend should go to them. Drug addicts can go fuck themselves. Let them die, they already lost their souls anyway. The deal should be legal drugs, but no more government money to deal with the consiquences. With rights come responsibilities. You want the freedom to do drugs, fine, but you have to accept the responsibility of using them and not come to the tax payer expecting them to foot the bill for your behavior.

  • ||

    Reason loves giving away money as long as it goes to addicts. I would rather see the money go to pork to fund John Murtha's friends in Johnstown PA than addicts.

  • ||

    Let them die, they already lost their souls anyway.

    Wheeeeeeee!

  • ||

    "We're fighting drug use not because it's dangerous or harmful, but because [the drug warriors] believe drug use is, in and of itself, immoral."

    I've had many discussions with people about the war on drugs and some of them have actually said, yes, my arguments made perfect sense, legalization would reduce crime, etc., but then they go on to say that they still think drugs should be illegal because they are bad or immoral.

    However, none of these people were able to articulate _why_ drugs are immoral - they simply stated that they are.

    Does anybody know the origin of this idea that drugs fall into different moral category than alcohol and tobacco?

  • ||

    "Does anybody know the origin of this idea that drugs fall into different moral category than alcohol and tobacco?"


    The rehab industry. We have bought into the idea that people who use drugs are somehow not responsible for their behavior because they are "sick". I don't think there is anything immoral about using drugs. What is immoral is not working because you want to use drugs or stealing because you need the money for drugs or neglecting your family because you want to use drugs. Drug abuse is immoral, not drug use. There are millions of people in the world who have used drugs recreationally and not turned into degenerates. The degenerates have no excuse. But because everyone buys into the idea that drugs take away user's free will, we get Reason crying for welfare for them.

  • ||

    I'm not going to think about why people are idiots. I'm just going to accept it. I like this idea as well as giving away clean needles and condoms.

  • JayDubya||

    Well drugs should be perfectly legal, but there's no reason to be giving out anything to the addicts.

    Drugs are bad and dangerous for you. Duh. But you own yourself and you get to make your own choices about how to behave and what to buy and how to use it, but you alone take responsibility for your own actions and choices.

    So if someone can't or won't buy it on their own, and no private entity wants to buy it for them, they certainly aren't entitled to have taxes cover them for their own stupidity.

  • JayDubya||

    Frankly, giving out Narcan on the public's dime is immoral.

    Letting a drug addict die is neither moral or immoral. If they can pay someone that wants to help them, great. If they can't, and someone wants to help them anyway, great. If no one wants to help them, then oh well, I guess they die.

  • Don Zaluchi||

    Let them die, they already lost their souls anyway.

    I don't want it near schools! I don't want it sold to children! That's an infamia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the coloreds. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

  • tarran||

    They fall into a different category because they were viewed as baleful foreign influences:

    Marijuana - Popular with hispanics, whom the U.S> govenremnt was trying to drive out of the southwest. It was outlawed ostensibly because it was causing white women to fall pray to black men's lusts. From the Federal Record: Anslinger, the head of what would become the DEA "[Marijuana] makes a [Negro] think that he is as good as a white man"

    Cocaine - Mainly because Randolph hearst (the guy who convinced the U.S. to attack Spain by making up stories about Spanish aggression complete with fictional battles between the Spanish and U.S. fleets) for ten years published propaganda to the effect that cocaine-crazed black men were raping white women

    Opium/heroin Popular with chinese and Filipino rebels. According to the lore of the day, Filipino suicide attackers would get high on drugs that would numb their ability to feel pain, tightly bind their limbs to reduce ther vulneribility to bleeding and then launch suicidal attacks on their new colonial masters the U.S. government.

    Of course, the crazies pushing these moronic ideas were bankrolled by racists like hearst who saw in them a chance to make a buck by sensational journalism, and DuPont who saw in the outlawing of hemp a chance to kneecap the competition for his paper mills.

    Plus, with the end of alcohol prohibition, you had all these prohibitionists that were out of a job. They needed a jobs program to keep them of the dole. Why not send them out after something else.

    Drug prohibition, in the end, is essentially a giant project at social engineering intended to make the lives of non-whites more difficult, prevent economic competition and as a welfare project for government employees.

    The meme that drug users are somehow moral degenerates is essentially the main propaganda point spewed out by the vile racists and social engineers of the late 19th century. It is about as valid as the Nazi propaganda against the Jews and the Soviet propaganda against the kulaks.

    Fortunately, fewer and fewer people are buying into the propaganda, and by the time I am an old man, I expect marijuana at least will be legal again.

  • ||

    M,

    I haven't run the numbers, so I can't tell you how much money is actually being saved, but just a shot in the dark makes me think that with pathologists being paid >$50/hour, morgue technicians >$20/hour, police work and detective time adding an additional cost of >$50/hour plus any materials required for the subsequent investigation, a $10 drug to eliminate even 10% of overdoses, even if used more than 10 times in an individuals life is still pretty much a net savings. Ideally, we would sell this as opposed to give it away to drug addicts, but considering the stupidity morality issue we have with drugs, giving it away is probably the only way to get it into drug users hands to prevent these sort of incidents.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    Jaydubya,

    What about the costs associated with determining a drug addicts death. Wouldn't the public rather a drug addict be rolled into a ditch rather than spend the money to determine exact cause of death and be cremated or buried. While is it more immoral to charge the public to keep the individual alive for a particular problem than to charge them to go through the hassle of dealing with an undesirable body?

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    ...in conclusion....SUNK COSTS!!!!

  • ||

    Are the hypes paying for these kits, or are the taxpayers footing the bill? Let these users legally purchase their works and their OD kits (hell, let 'em legally purchase their junk, too) to their hearts content. But don't saddle taxpayers w/ the bills (either for the works, the OD kits, the H- or methadone- or treatment for same.)

  • ||

    "Are the hypes paying for these kits, or are the taxpayers footing the bill? Let these users legally purchase their works and their OD kits (hell, let 'em legally purchase their junk, too) to their hearts content. But don't saddle taxpayers w/ the bills (either for the works, the OD kits, the H- or methadone- or treatment for same.)"

    Amen. When Reason shills for publicly funded help for drug users, they reveal themselve to be libertarians only in the sense they are pissed off the cops took their stash. Drugs users are not children and should be expected to pay for their own habbits. To argue otherwise is to play into the hands of the prohibitionists, because are so bad that addicts can't even be expected to fork over $10 to save themselves from an overdose, why would society ever want to legalize them?

  • Fluffy||

    John, you're being deliberately obtuse in your typical way once again.

    A public health program exists to spend money on drug users. That program is refusing to spend money in this particular way for a moronic reason.

    One can debate the reasonableness of expenditures within a program one disagrees with in general.

    So OF COURSE the full libertarian position is "Legalize all drugs and cancel all state funded programs to deal with drug users." But until that actually occurs, if we are going to have a regime that spends money on incarcerating some drug users and treating others, that money should be spent in the way that taxes me the least to provide the most "benefit".

    I also don't think there should be a Department of Education. But if I found out that the bureaucrats there were taking all their notes on medieval illuminated vellum manuscripts bought at auction at Sotheby's, because they didn't like buying post-it's, I might say, "Hey, dumbasses, how about buying post-it's instead?"

    At which point John the Obtuse would jump out and say, "You fake libertarians! I thought you didn't want there to be a Department of Education blah blah blah blah..."

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Amen. When Reason shills for publicly funded help for drug users, they reveal themselve to be libertarians only in the sense they are pissed off the cops took their stash.


    In a more ideal world, you would be able to purchase your Narcan at the register while the cashier rang up your White Horse (tm) brand 100% pure Afghani smack. However, in a less than ideal world, I will settle for a situation where the financial and humanitarian costs to society are decreased by making an inexpensive antidote to overdose widely available. Or, to put it another way, think of it as an investment - if a bottle saves an autopsy, then the government gets somewhere around a 10,000% return on its money.

    If that makes me ideologically impure, so be it. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

  • ||

    "So OF COURSE the full libertarian position is "Legalize all drugs and cancel all state funded programs to deal with drug users." But until that actually occurs, if we are going to have a regime that spends money on incarcerating some drug users and treating others, that money should be spent in the way that taxes me the least to provide the most "benefit"."

    Bullshit. Cut the program at every opportunity. If they don't spend on this, that is less money they have to have. I don't beleive for a minute Reason would ever advocate cutting programs for drug users if it ever came to it. There is nothing obtuse about it. The bottomline is that Reason is disturbed by these people's unwillingness to give the right free services to drug addicts. Since the services should not exist in the first place, it doesn't matter what services they give or don't give. This is not a case of using high end paper as opposed to post it notes. This is a case of extending another service.

  • Meh||

    Step 1: Make a drug illegal, increasing its price 2000%.

    Step 2: Complain that people using that drug are degenerates for not being able to afford it.

    Step 3: Profit?

  • ||

    "Or, to put it another way, think of it as an investment - if a bottle saves an autopsy, then the government gets somewhere around a 10,000% return on its money."

    Make them avaialble but don't pay for them. Frankly if you are so stupid that you OD yourself, I think your death probably saves the government a hell of a lot more money than the cost of an autopsy.

    I see your point in principle. However, this kind of thing never ends. The idea that it is the government's responsibility to save people. Giving them methodone saves money to. Hell for that matter, giving them drugs probably saves money in that it keeps them from stealing for them. Where does it end? We don't owe them a dime and every dime we don't spend on them is a good thing. You have to start somewhere.

  • ||

    "Step 1: Make a drug illegal, increasing its price 2000%.

    Step 2: Complain that people using that drug are degenerates for not being able to afford it.

    Step 3: Profit?"

    If they can't afford it, how are they ODing? They can afford plenty of drugs. If they couldn't, drugs wouldn't be a multi billion dollar a year industry. Lots of people use drugs and don't steal. The people who steal steal because they are theives. The fact that some theives use their money for drugs has nothing to do with that fact.

  • Mudkipz||

    Don Zaluchi beat me to it!

    A question for John, though - if opioid addicts have lost their souls, do they get their souls back if they get clean? And, if so, what does that feel like? Is it like getting high?

  • ||

    Tarran wrote: "They fall into a different category because they were viewed as baleful foreign influence"

    I think you're on the right track. I am painfully aware of the shameful use of racism as a rationale to outlaw drugs. But I had not associated that history with today's attitudes, because, as I said, no pro-drug warrior I've talked to can (or will) articulate why drugs are immoral.

    The people I know who are in favor of prohibition aren't racists and very few people know anything about the history of drug prohibition and its racist origins. So it seems to me that the current opinion is an echo of "drugs cause people (particularly minorities) to do immoral things." But it's only an echo, hence people can't say where they got their opinion.

    Your thoughtful comments have given me fresh ammunition. In the future, I will be sure to bring up the sad history of the confluence of racism and prohibition. Thanks.

  • Body||

    A question for John, though - if opioid addicts have lost their souls, do they get their souls back if they get clean? And, if so, what does that feel like? Is it like getting high?


    O who shall me deliver whole,
    From bonds of this Tyrannic Soul?
    That mine own Precipice I go;
    And warms and moves this needless Frame:
    (A Fever could but do the same.)

  • Salvius||

    You know, if you read the article carefully, it seems to me that Radley is not actually advocating providing free overdose kits at taxpayer expense, he is merely highlighting the disturbing reasoning behind ONDCP opposition to doing so.

    Put it another way: Just because one agrees with another's conclusions, does not mean one cannot be horrified by their justification of those conclusions.

    That said, as others have pointed out: Since, whether I like it or not, the government is already spending money on ODs anyway, I'd prefer they spend it in this way than in some other, less efficient way.

  • ||

    Since heroine is illegal and dealers are making money off it, I would think they would want to provide the narcan kits to their customers at little or no cost, so as to keep them alive, paying customers who never end up at the hospital and draw the ire of any authorities.

  • Adam||

    The astonishing thing is that it's taken the ONDCP this long to come out against it. I wrote a white paper for a needle exchange on the possibility of distributing Narcan to an opiate/opioid-using population in late 2001/early 2002.

    Nick, I'm not sure the odds of any particular dealer losing any particular customer are high enough to justify them handing out the kits. Collectively, yes; practically/individually, no. And as for storage of Narcan inventory, etc., the proposition is pretty much a non-starter. Dealers are also not exactly stable firms generally speaking - it's not like Rite Aid or some group that works in a normal business sense. Half these guys are strung out themselves.

    John, that's a pretty high horse you've got there.

  • Matthew||

    It seems inconsistent to provide heavy drug users with lifesaving information while at the same time working to prevent women from receiving lifesaving information about the risks (both psychological and physical) involved in abortion. Yet that is what our government is doing with our tax dollars by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood and other "women's health" clinics.

  • ||

    It's the same mentality that led some family values types to oppose the marketing of Gardasil. Remove the threat of cervical cancer from premarital sex and, golly, some girls might have more premarital sex.

    Gardasil was said to prevent HPV, not cervical cancer. Yes, I know they're connected somewhat, but calling Gardasil a cancer vaccine is highly misleading.

  • ||

    Anybody who thinks Narcan is safe when administered by medical non-professionals has obviously not seen the movie "Desperate Measures."

  • SIV||

    SIV | January 28, 2008, 12:49am | #
    The second opposes allowing anyone to have access to the innoculation.


    Please cite or otherwise document these people.


    3 links, none of which document any group opposed to "allowing anyone to have access to the innoculation".REASON commenters are arguing with the fundy anti-sex people in their heads.

    Dave B.

    Wikipedia is a poor source on the perception of what paraquat sprayed weed was in the late 1970s.This is a really cool link which should put Jimmy Carter's paraquat spraying program in context

  • SIV||

    From the wikipedia link

    During the late 1960s, a controversial program sponsored by the US government sprayed paraquat on marijuana fields in South America. Since much of this marijuana was subsequently smoked by Americans, the US government's "Paraquat Pot" program stirred much debate. Perhaps in an attempt to deter people from using marijuana, representatives of the program warned that spraying rendered the crop unsafe to smoke

    I was "there" so to speak, in High School in the late 1970s. High Times,the Village Voice and other "hip underground media" were spreading the word that paraquat treated weed was potentially deadly.The response from Jimmy Carter's Drug Warriors,police "drug educators" at school assemblies, and the rest of that crowd was "Yes it is deadly don't smoke pot or your lungs will melt". We believed the hype yet smoked like fiends anyways.The upside was that Paraquat Paranoia fueled the domestic production of marijuana.

  • SIV||

    Here is the Google search page for paraquat jimmy carter which provides plenty of documentation of the "poisoning of the marijuana supply".

    I highly recommend the drug library link to Chapter 17 High in America for context on the issue and a fascinating history of the legalizers vs Carter's Drug Czar Dr Peter Bourne.

  • SIV||

    It's the same mentality that led some family values types to oppose the marketing of Gardasil.

    I'm still looking for those family values types who wanted to ban Gardasil. They seem to be hard to find outside the cosmotarian mirror-verse.



    Opposition

    Earlier this year, Merck successfully headed off opposition to Gardasil from conservative groups by meeting with representatives from organizations such as the Family Research Council. Leaders of abstinence organizations say they support the vaccine and would only oppose efforts to make the shot mandatory.

  • ||

    "Why not just go all the way and poison the heroin supply?

    Jimmy Carter tried it with the marijuana supply."

    SIV, your own post at 5:30 quoting from wikipedia states that the paraquat program was begun "in the late 1960's" and the Time article I posted above mentions 1975. Carter did not take office until 1976. Nixon-Ford preceeded him. This may have gone on when Carter was President, but it was not like it was some program he started. In fact, as you've mentioned on other sites he said while campaigning he wanted to ease up on criminalization, caught hell for it, and then when became President he must have NOT CANCELLED this program you are obsessed with. Yet you always bring "paraquat" and "Jimmy Carter" up in the same sentence. Does that sound reasonable to you (well maybe I should rephrase that...)?

    I realize you have some hazy memory from the late 1970's during your heady H.S. years, but history extends back further than that...

  • ||

    SIV @ 5:56
    "I'm still looking for those family values types who wanted to ban Gardasil. They seem to be hard to find outside the cosmotarian mirror-verse."

    http://hill6.thehill.com/the-executive/cdc-panel-discussing-uses-for-hpv-shot-2005-12-15.html

    "Other conservatives say abstinence is the most effective defense against HPV and worry that administering a mandatory HPV vaccine could give a false sense of security for teenagers engaging in premarital sex.

    "If people begin to market the vaccine or tout the vaccine that this makes adolescent sex safer, then that would undermine the abstinence-only message," said Reginald Finger, a member of the ACIP and a former medical adviser for the pro-abstinence Focus on the Family."


    SIV, meet Dr. Finger. Dr. Finger, meet SIV.
    It took me about 2 minutes to find that...

  • ||

    "I'm not going to think about why people are idiots. I'm just going to accept it. I like this idea as well as giving away clean needles and condoms free hookers and blow."

    There FIFY :)

  • SIV||

    MNG

    Your link only shows opposition to mandatory vaccination. Now if you consider legally required drug taking to be "marketing" maybe you have a point.

    I never said Carter started Paraquat marijuana eradication. The spraying increased and the response to health concerns raised during his administrtation was "that'll teach 'em to not smoke pot."But he promised to decriminalize it!"

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