Drug War

Here’s an interesting article: http://news.yahoo.com/physician-sentenced-5-years-trying-help-patient-says-164200575.html

I saw this article and was interested in how our country’s war on drugs is progressing.  The article seems pretty heavily weighted on the side of the defendant in this case, which seems to be the more common approach in these types of drug cases.  Here, the doctor was fed what seems to be a very well-concocted story in order for an under-cover agent to obtain pain medication.  There’s a hint that the doctor did prescribe drugs and then weaned the officer off of them over a period of time.  So possibly, he prescribed incorrectly, but the fact that he weaned his patient off the pain medication seems to me an indication that he was acting in good faith.  There was, interestingly, no recording of the initial meeting where the doctor claims he performed a physical exam while the government claims none was performed.  Given that only the two of them were present, it seems like a difficult issue to decide based on just the testimony of the parties.  It really just comes down to who the jury found to be more credible in that instance.

The article goes on to give some pretty shocking numbers on our incarceration rates, stating that they have increased by more than 700% over the past 40 years.  I suppose there are a lot of reasons we could point to for that (assuming, of course, that is an accurate figure).  Maybe we’ve added a lot of new laws, criminalizing things that were previously not criminal, especially in any area pertaining to drugs.  Maybe it relates relatively well to the population growth over those years. Or perhaps there are just a lot more criminally-minded people now than there were in the early 70s.  Whichever it is, that cost of $50B mentioned in the article sure sounds like an incentive to re-think some of our criminal statutes!  Many substances could be legalized and controlled, and so be TAXED, thereby GENERATING income rather than sucking taxpayers dry.  It might at least offset the costs currently directed toward our war on drugs.  I realize that this article does not address illegal substances, but rather misuse of prescribed medication.  But one reason for obtaining prescription drugs is that it’s generally easier to do than trying to get illegal drugs.  Safer, too…

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2 thoughts on “Drug War

  1. If you are comfortable with it, please change your display name to your real name so we know who you are.

    Do you think all controlled substances should be legalized, or do you see relevant differences between, for example, marijuana and crack? If you think that only some of these substances should be legalized, where would you draw the line? Are there any arguments in favor or limiting the substances to which individuals have access?

  2. I think that, for public comfort, it would probably be best to sort of ease into legalization with marijuana. However, I think that legalization really should be across the board if we’re going to do it, even if we have to work up to it. It’s just so much easier to control if it’s a legal substance. It can be regulated so that we know what’s in it, not just whatever a dealer had sitting at hand, which could be very important in controlling unwanted reactions. Also, just think of all the tax money! Not to mention the impact on the violence related to drug cartels currently.
    Most of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of limiting access have to do with morality rather than practicality, or just what I see as faulty logic. People seem to think that everyone will just immediately go out and get stoned and stay that way all the time if it’s legal to do so. I don’t think that’s the case. I think that the people who use drugs now will likely continue to do so, and the ones who don’t may try it, but are unlikely to become the doped-up drug fiends some people are so certain they’ll be. Of course, I may just have more faith in people than they deserve…
    Still, I just think it’s a better idea to have something be regulated when there so much potential for dangerous consequences and side-effects. There would have to be some control measures, but that could easily be done. It already IS done with alcohol and prescription drugs. Driving under the influence would include other substances (which it usually does in mose jurisdictions now anyway) so that’s not a big issue in my view. I just don’t see drug-users as a danger to me or to society, and only a limited danger to themselves, especially if their drugs are no longer cut with rat poison.

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