Friday, January 25, 2008

Solving the Drug Problem

The drug problem, including alcohol, is an issue that continues to weaken and destroy us as a people. From strung out junkies, to wasted college students, to bombed out celebrities on pills (from Heath Ledger to Rush Limbaugh), there are far too many people who use intoxication to escape life and personal responsibility. In some cases, only a brush with the law will stop them. Other times, the law won't stop them. And sometimes they end up dead. Thankfully, I have never had to fight against an addiction in my life. However, this does not make me unsympathetic to the challenges.

First of all, let's not forget that no one sets out to get addicted and ruin their lives. It's a gradual progression downward that someone may not be aware of until it's too late. This is why I believe that you must be responsible for your friends and family if they are in this trap. But not everybody will get, or accept, this kind of help. This is where law enforcement usually steps in.

The problem with law enforcement is that they have to treat the addict like any criminal. Part of this is because of the fact that it is a crime to possess and consume most drugs. We need to change this. This plan needs a little fleshing out, but that's what the comments and future posts are for.

First, we legalize pot. It takes a common drug out of the drug enforcement budget. Second, we decriminalize the use of drugs. But we jack up the penalties on the sellers of this garbage, making it hurt to be dealing big time. Then we simply enforce all other laws on the books.

Now we have people with substance problems getting in trouble for other things. When they show up in the system, they get tested for drugs, alcohol, whatever. If they test positive, we send them to rehab. And we keep rehabbing them until they stop being a burden on society or they die.

The point of the coerced rehab is to force them to take responsibility. And if they refuse and want to burn themselves to death with their drug of choice, then we let them die. This is harsh I know, but at some point you have to choose between helping a person and enabling a waste of space.

The whole point to this is to give people responsibility over themselves. They are responsible for the things they put in their bodies. Our obligation as a society is to make sure that the rights of others are not violated. In other words, you can hurt yourself, but not others. And the easiest way to do this is to treat the problem rather than just chuck people in jail and hope they get better.

And on that note: I Googled this one as well. I can't vouch for the content, as I haven't gone past the homepage, but it's at least it's something worth thinking about.

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