T Nation

Decriminalizing Meth, Heroin, Cocaine, etc


#1

Oregon moved to decriminalize several hard drugs. Thoughts?


#2

I would be interested in seeing if treating addiction as a medical issue is more cost effective than treating it as a criminal one.

It wouldn’t necessarily change my opinion but I think it would be interesting.


#3

And we should. Non-violent drug offenders need to be helped (if and when they ask for it).


#4

I believe Portugal has had massive success with moving it from a crimnal issue to a treatment one. Saved them a lot of money. Are we interested in breaking up the money behind detectives, prisons, etc?

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/18/524380027/in-portugal-drug-use-is-treated-as-a-medical-issue-not-a-crime


#5

I would be more interested in this as a solution, IF the city (cause honestly, this is really a PDX thing) could take care of the homeless or provide a level of care for those who need it.

Decriminalizing these drugs seems like a more appropriate response, once certain things are in place. My cousin lives on the street in pdx somewhere. The only time he stays clean is when he gets picked up and jailed for six months.


#6

Why not do both? If decriminalization is a net gain in terms of rehabilitating people and in terms of saving tax dollars we could put those tax dollars to better use helping the homeless (who usually have drug problems themselves but not always) and other less fortunate people.

Lot of money in making and keeping things illegal though.


#7

Crystal meth is great for pre-workout.


#8

Doing both is ideal. I suppose it’s a cart before the horse situation. We’ve decriminalized these drugs without creating a plan to assist these people.


#9

I don’t see why not throwing people in jail for long periods of time is a bad thing. If people have a small amount of these substances why throw the book at them especially on first time offenses?

Anyways it would seem as if this is already being discussed.

“We’ve got to treat people, not put them in prison. It would be like putting them in the state penitentiary for having diabetes. This is a chronic brain disorder and it needs to be treated this way.” – Greenlick


#10

I read the article, @dchris, long time no see!

It sounds like Oregon is reducing the severity and punishment in some cases. Felony to misdemeanor or fines instead of lengthy jail sentences for some drug-related offenses. I support this. I’d rather see traffic ticket type fines with rehab and community service, particularly for possession charges. I’d like to see us shift money spent on incarceration toward rehabilitation programs.

Criminalizing addiction makes it harder for people to seek help, and for addicts to maintain family relationships. Everyone is trying to hide or deny. My opinion, but once someone has an addiction, I doubt if the criminal threat is much of a deterrent.

I would not support legalizing them all, as in treating heroin or meth like alcohol or marijuana.


#11

If we are going to legalize them though let’s make licensing fair. The games being played with who can sell and grow weed in more than one state are clearly the result of lobbying efforts. As long as the playing field is level this could all work out as some sort of great social Darwinism success. Just think of the money we could save. “Depressed? Here’s some heroin.”


#12

I am for legalizing any substance a person wants to put into their body.


#13

Ok, where do you put them for treatment? Who transports them and cleans up their puke? You think the medical profession will deal with this? Not unless they can charge 100 USD for one band aid. Nice, utopian quote, about as practical as a knife in a gunfight.

I worked narcotics for several years before my current assignment. Are you including PCP in your statement? Do you know how violent people become using that filth? I have had to subdue several people on PCP and it usually takes about 4 or 5 guys to even get them contained. The first they do is take off all their clothes, start sweating buckets, and start screaming about dragons, animals, you name it.

I once was involved in a situation where a PCP freak, stabbed his one year old baby to death, cut his arms off and threw them in the street. When the police arrived, he attacked an officer, was shot 7 times before running about 100 yards and bleeding out. Who has to handle that shit? The police and EMT’s. Not doctors, not “mental health counselors”. It is nice to say “legalize everything” but someone has to clean up the shit.


#14

I’m 245 lbs and my heart is fine. Moderation is the key.


#15

“Ok, where do you put them for treatment? Who transports them and cleans up their puke? You think the medical profession will deal with this? Not unless they can charge 100 USD for one band aid. Nice, utopian quote, about as practical as a knife in a gunfight.”

You build more treatment facilities. You hire more addiction specialists. You put money into prevention and rehabilitation. You look at the countries who have had success and mimic them. You don’t throw the book at people using small amounts. You try and help them.

Or we could keep doing what we have been doing. Spend taxpayer money to find them. Spend tax payer money for a trial. Spend tax payer money to put them in prison. Spend tax payer money to feed them and wash their clothes. Take their kids away and spend tax payer on them.

I don’t claim to know all the answers or that it would be easy but we all know one thing. Continuing to do what we’ve always done will get the same results.


#16

Work, selling and buying a home, and more work has prevented me from engaging here in a conversation. I’m a little hesitant to of started a PWI thread knowing I won’t have a ton of time to dedicate to it, but oh well [quote=“idaho, post:13, topic:231956”]
where do you put them for treatment?
[/quote]

Exactly my thoughts.

Who is going to want to go to school, pay their way, and deal with this shit. Like I said earlier, I have a cousin who has been on and off heroin for 6 years.

Proof?[quote=“H_factor, post:15, topic:231956”]
You build more treatment facilities. You hire more addiction specialists. You put money into prevention and rehabilitation. You look at the countries who have had success and mimic them. You don’t throw the book at people using small amounts. You try and help them.
[/quote]

This is something we haven’t done… yet we are decriminalizing it. Essentially, an addict, who cannot function normally, will be ticketed and released. The individual will never pay the fine, but will be released to continue. The state has done nothing to support them beyond their current level.

I’d venture to say that making use of heroin, PCP, etc punishable by life imprisonment/death/arm cut off, that fewer people would ‘START’ using these harder drugs as well. I’m sure ED will chime in with the rationale for beginning use of such hard drugs. #skininthegame


#17

You know we already have people going to school for this and with greater demand more people would.

You’re making a lot of leaps here. How do you know it’s an addict if it is the first offense? Seems like the law is more let’s not throw the book at someone early to me. How do you know they can’t function normally? You know how many rich professionals use cocaine sparingly or even regularly? Not every single person who has tried one of these drugs is blowing guys for crack.

Your second point is absolutely ridiculous. Why stop there? Kid that’s 17 has chewing tobacco? Fucking chop his head off. It’s illegal and tobacco kills tons of people per year. You think less kids would chew tobacco if they knew the government would cut off your head in public with a samurai sword? You’re goddamn right they would let’s end teen tobacco use within the year.

Just look at the places that decriminalized weed. I went to Colorado and no one was there. All dead from the effects of legalized weed.

So your argument is that if we killed your cousin he first time he used heroin he wouldn’t have to worry about using it again? That makes sense. I hope you get elected and we can start murdering drug users. If everyone’s dead the war on crime is won


#18

I’m not for legalization. Decriminalizing appeals to the libertarian in me, but society has been through this before with opium and cocain. They outlawed it for a reason, and it wasn’t that they were just angry old white men who didn’t want anybody to have any fun.

My soon to be wife has two cousins who got into heroin in their teenage years. One did heroin through the early months of her pregnancy, but got off it, and had a normal child. The child was taken from her until she could get her shit together, but apparently she did just that and 15 years later both are fine.

The other cousin did methadone through her pregnancy, and because it was legal the authorities never took the baby. She and the baby daddy wouldn’t go visit the child in the hospital because it was screaming all the time and bummed them out. The boy is 9 and while he’s a sweet child he’ll never be quite right. She’s still on methadone.

I just kind of don’t give a fuck about the adults, the children should always be the priority.


#19

Yes.

PCP is currently illegal and yet this scenario happened.

Somebody had to clean that shit up and PCP is illegal.

I understand your point but legality is not much of a deterrent in drug matters. Terrible, horrible shit happens everyday with illegal substances. We had 6 heroin overdose deaths in my area last month (that’s a lot around here). Those people left behind parents, kids, friends and didn’t care that they were breaking the law. I’d rather let everyone be free instead of policing what they put into their body based on the poor choices of a few.


#20

I’m curious as to your views, in how they would compare to some of the 2nd amendment arguments. Namely, the idea that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” When is the responsibility removed from the person and placed onto the tool?

And while the brutality of this story makes it stand-out, how is it much different in the big picture than drunks shooting or stabbing others at a bar? Or domestic violence/neglect cases involving prescription meds or alcohol.

In the end, sure it’s more convenient, even pragmatic, to haul everyone off to jail. But I’d prefer us to take on the challenge of creating a better alternative.