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In the Baltimore Sun Reason's Burton C. Gray memorial intern Taylor W. Buley makes the case for treating drug addicts rather than imprisoning them.

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  1. No. I think drugs should be legalized but I don’t think I need to pay for those that use them to enter rehab. If they can manage a $500 a day habit let them figure out how to manage the cost of rehab.

  2. Where in the article does it say you have to pay for it?

  3. Even if we did have to pay for it, rehab is cheaper than incarceration. And that’s just counting straight costs, not blue-sky costs like “people convicted of a drug crime can’t get a good job, which means they pay less taxes over the course of their lifetime and also increases the chance they will commit a more serious crime out of desperation. . .” et cetera.

    If they can manage a $500 a day habit let them figure out how to manage the cost of rehab.

    What if they only have a $150 a month habit? Getting hooked on the dreaded killer marijuana is surprisingly economical.

  4. Getting hooked on the dreaded killer marijuana is surprisingly economical.

    Or so you’ve heard. From, you know, a “friend.”

    Right?

  5. [Insert “Hooked On Phonics” Joke Here]

    Sure, as between incarceration and treatment, treatment is the better option. The fact is, however, that people suffering from chemical addictions of any sort have to want to change. Given that, for many, the greatest perceived risk is the risk of arrest, conviction and imprisonment, this lesser of two evils argument is pretty thin.

  6. Thoreau, now that the statute of limitations has passed I will freely admit: I USED TO SMOKE A SHITLOAD OF POT. And do you know what bad things happened to me as a result? Nothing. Nada. Zip. I had one hell of a good time.

  7. I’ve never understood the logic behind saying: “You are hurting yourself with drugs, therefore we will hurt you with prison instead.”

    I’ll take any article that exposes some facet of the stupidity behind prohibition though.

    The part I like most is how the author sort of put in as an aside that A better focus – and one that would eliminate the violence and crime associated with black markets and reduce the social harms of addiction – would be to ask: What’s the best way we can encourage people who have drug problems to seek treatment?

    It is important to make people realize that there is little inherent in drugs that causes all the “drug violence” we hear so much about. Virtually all the violence is a result of the drug war itself, which is to say, prohibition.

  8. My problem with the “treatment-not-incarceration” argument is not so much cost or who pays but, in the case of MJ users or other non-addicts, “treatment for what?”. Also how are shaved heads, humiliating signs around necks, people scrubbing floors with toothbrushes, etc. any kind of “treatment” for a “disease”?

  9. And do you know what bad things happened to me as a result?

    You ended up teaching at a public school for drug money?

  10. You ended up teaching at a public school for drug money?

    Oh, that’s gold.

  11. Hypothetically, Tim, is there any way I could say something like “Go fuck yourself or better yet my retired bong” without getting myself banned from this-here blog of yours?

  12. My problem with the “treatment-not-incarceration” argument is not so much cost or who pays but, in the case of MJ users or other non-addicts, “treatment for what?”.

    Agreed, and this is yet one more reason for complete legalization. It is a sad fact of life that many who loose control of thier lives to drugs never reach a ‘bottom’. But for those who do and want treatment they should be able to obtain it without fear of criminal prosecution. If somebody does not want treatment, it isn’t gonna work anyway so why bother imposing it on them and wasting both time and money to do so.

    As for cost for treatment, look at AA. AA is completely member funded. Those who have achieved sobriety and rejoined the workforce contribute to give others a chance to achieve the same. Why should it be any different for alcohol than for heroin, cocaine, tobacco or meth?

  13. I’ve mentioned this on other threads, but another problem with court-mandated treatment, as I understand it, is that you are required to tell all sort of tawdry stories about how drugs ruined your life, and if you don’t you are “not cooperating with treatment” and will be sent to jail.

    And “doing drugs led to my getting arrested for doing drugs” doesn’t count. God help you if you’re in court-mandated treatment and don’t have tales of lost jobs, failed romances, and nasty venereal infections to share.

  14. Unfortunately providing treatment for the physical, social, and psychological withdrawel from heroin and the like is much easier than curing our addiction to the war on drugs. I forsee major problems getting undercover cops and SWAT team members back in street uniforms.

    But we’ll have it a lot easier than the folks in Colombia, Afghanistan, etc.

  15. I keep hoping (dreaming?) that, as more boomers retire, see their children successfully through college and into the ‘real’ world, they’ll get so bored with their stultifying lives that they remember that: 1)getting high was kinda fun; and 2)nothing bad really did happen.

    When that happens, we may actually make some progress toward legalization. I’m kinda looking forward to sharing a joint with my granddaughter (the day AFTER she graduates from college) when MJ is legal.

  16. rm2muv

    There seem to be lots of folks out there who think 1)getting high was kinda fun; and 2)nothing bad really did happen.

    Unfortunately, while they think they’re OK with drugs, they think there are people who aren’t and we still need prohibition for them.

    No, I don’t think it makes any sense either. But I’ve long since gotten over expectating anything to make sense.

  17. Isaac, I kind of hope that changes as the boomers retire. Right now people are afraid for their jobs if they don’t toe the line.

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