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Thread: Legalize heroin.

  1. #1

    Arrow Legalize heroin.

    I'm not going to talk about legalizing pot. I'm tired of arguing why it should be legal. I'm finding more people see it's really, really hard to make a coherent argument in defense of prohibition. I'm also noticing that very few are even willing to defend the status quo on pot, saying "I mean, the situation right now doesn't work, but legalization won't work." The intended points are valid for pot, but what I'm writing is really intended for someone who says "I mean, I can understand legalizing pot, but heroin? That's going way too far."

    The core of my argument is "Remember when the U.S. had a drug problem, and then we declared a War on Drugs, and now you can't buy drugs anymore?" We can't keep drugs out of our prisons--how can we keep them out of the homes of free adults? Teenage tobacco use has declined steadily over the last twenty years, and we didn't have to arrest anybody. People who want to do heroin will do it regardless of whether or not it's legal.

    So.

    If you will, imagine a society where Bob Smith gets a note from his doctor saying "Mr. Smith is hopelessly addicted to heroin. He has tried to quit before but hasn't been able to kick the habit." He goes to a pharmacy, shows an ID to prove he's over 21, spends five bucks for a three day's supply of heroin, takes it home, wipes his arm down with the enclosed alcohol swab, shoots up with a fresh, clean needle, and goes to sleep. Either that, or he shoots up in a government-run heroin clinic staffed by nurses with an on-duty doctor.

    The heroin is not cut with rat poison. The purity and weight is clearly measured to prevent accidental overdoses, he doesn't have to deal drugs or steal hundreds of dollars* of stuff per day to afford his habit, he doesn't get HIV, he doesn't have to worry about going to a crime-ridden part of town to find a drug dealer who carries a gun.

    Just like now, it would be illegal for him to drive while high on heroin. Just like alcohol today, you wouldn't be able to buy packets of heroin in a vending machine outside of a high school. Laws would presumably exist against advertising heroin on TV. Terrorists and organized crime would lose a major source of funding. Cops would be able to spend their resources investigating robbery, rape, murder, DUIs, and other crimes that put lives and property at risk. Rapists would not be paroled early because of prison overcrowding due to drug offenders.

    Is there any way this would be worse than the situation we have today?

    * This is a lowball figure. When you're on heroin, a moderate habit can be several hundred dollars per day. Mugging someone and stealing a $200 iPod doesn't translate into $200 worth of heroin; selling it on eBay, craigslist, or directly to someone who fences stolen goods, I've seen estimates that the mugger usually get less than a quarter of the sticker price.

    This is my first post. Hello to everybody at RonPaulForums.com.
    Last edited by Tannenzšpfle; 05-24-2012 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Typo.



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  3. #2

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    Welcome to Ron Paul Forums. You shall find like-minded individuals here. =D

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannenzšpfle View Post
    Remember back when our country had a drug problem, so we declared a drug war, and now you can't buy drugs anymore?
    Excellent.

  5. #4

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    Nice first post!

  6. #5
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    Can anyone tell me if there was time in history when a significant number of the population of a country became drug addicts because it was legal?

    Yes, this is a serious question.

    I saw a documentary on the History Channel about opium and the show pretty much made it sound like everyone in China became addicted on opium and the country became weak and led to being colonized. Sounds like BS to me, but I don't have the evidence nor the will to prove it as BS, so I'm hoping someone can set the record straight.

    I want to know because my rebuttle to anyone who doesn't believe what Dr. Paul said during the 1st primary debate about heroin is going to be: Name me one country in history where the country went to shit because heroin and/or other drugs were legal.
    Last edited by GreenBulldog; 05-10-2011 at 08:52 AM.

  7. #6

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    Welcome.

    What's up w/ the government-run heroin clinic?

  8. #7

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    Welcome, Tannenzšpfle.

    Indeed, just about everyone who wants to use heroin is already using it. And they have the right to do so, since a person's body is his own property.

    That doesn't mean the use of hard drugs isn't a problem, but it should be viewed as the MEDICAL problem it is, not a criminal issue.
    "Man lives freely only by his readiness to die." -- Mohandas K. Gandhi

    "Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death." -- Miyamoto Musashi

  9. #8

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    I do not support drug use. However, I support states rights and if a state wants to legalize all kinds of drugs then they should, with the consent of the people. If those who do not like that then they have the option of moving to a state that may outlaw all drug use. I have family members that are substance abusers from 1 year to going on thirty years. It is a viscous cycle and needs to be handled by the local level, the community, the churches, private charities, and so on. Not a large Federal "War on Drugs".

  10. #9

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    Nice post I agree with everything except for the govt run clinic part.

    While I think that would be better than the current situation, it would be immoral to steal money from people to support the habits of others.

    I see your new here, are you new to Ron Paul as well?

  11. #10

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    I've been a Ron Paul fan since about 2004-2005. I visited his offices in August '05 but he was out; his staff gave me a copy of the constitution and said if he were in, he is always excited to meet young people. I imagine he doesn't have as much free time now.

    Regarding government-run heroin clinics, that's more to appeal to the average person who is not already deeply mistrustful of government. I understand that the profit motive would encourage quality services at lower prices, but for people who are already in some way immunized against liberty ("The evil pharma corporations would exploit Teh Addicts!!!111"), introducing the idea of a benevolent government facility makes the idea seem more reasonable. Switzerland offers a real-world example by actually dispensing heroin free of charge to addicts at government-run clinics. I also never say "people have a right to use heroin because it's their bodies". It's absolutely true, but talking to pragmatic conservatives about self-ownership is less effective than, say, calculating prison costs. Talking to liberals, it's easier to highlight the racist aspects of the drug war. Making a convincing argument means knowing your audience.

    Regarding the Opium Wars, the Wikipedia entry is instructive and highlights the degree to which it was colonial powers attempting to undermine Chinese sovereignty. The Chinese had ineffectual drug prohibition laws, which still drove up prices and increased the profit margins for the British merchants and the related smugglers while simultaneously depleting Chinese stocks of silver. Because of the colonial influences, the Opium Wars do not represent what heroin legalization would look like in the US and are not the best example to address widespread societal addiction. For the historically-inclined, a worthwhile read (linked below) is on "Soldier's Disease", a thoroughly-debunked claim that widespread distribution of narcotics during the War Between the States led to equally widespread addiction among veterans.

    Again, one of the main things I have deliberately not said is "heroin isn't addictive and can be used safely." While the first half is absurd prima facie, the second half is a lot murkier. Heroin in itself is not dangerous to use -- if dosages were administered to patients only be qualified physicians/nurses, overdoses would occur very seldom and new HIV infections would be effectively zero. While the image of a junkie shooting up with a dirty needle and cut dope in a flophouse is strong in people's minds, most of these things grow out of prohibition and the resultant black market. The main point of arguing against heroin prohibition is that heroin is not safe, but those dangers are only exacerbated by prohibition. I am staunchly opposed to both heroin use and heroin prohibition.

    Further reading:

    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/soldis.htm
    http://reason.com/archives/2003/06/01/h
    http://old.nationalreview.com/12feb96/drug.html
    Last edited by Tannenzšpfle; 05-10-2011 at 08:04 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBulldog View Post
    I saw a documentary on the History Channel about opium and the show pretty much made it sound like everyone in China became addicted on opium and the country became weak and led to being colonized. Sounds like BS to me, but I don't have the evidence nor the will to prove it as BS, so I'm hoping someone can set the record straight.
    It was the British and other European empires that pushed opium in China. They made it illegal, thus creating a black market. The country became weak from the resulting corruption and was easily colonized.

    Sounds like another country I know of.........
    Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. -James Madison

  13. #12

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    Can anyone tell me if there was time in history when a significant number of the population of a country became drug addicts because it was legal?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...041500666.html

    Name me one country in history where the country went to shit because heroin and/or other drugs were legal.
    I would work on this rebuttal, because it is a fallacy. Just because your stance cannot be proven false does not prove it to be true.

    As for Ron's original argument to legalize heroin...well, I see we're on our way to another atrocious primary showing. At least we have the junkie voting bloc cornered...but I wonder if any of them will actually turn out to vote.
    Last edited by apropos; 05-14-2011 at 01:34 PM.

  14. #13

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    Part of the reason that these drugs must be legalized is precisely because they are addictive and dangerous. At least in the U.S., creating a highly profitable black market (and gifting it to criminals) undermines society more than drug addiction. I feel like my original post highlighted the core ways in which drug prohibition had a net negative effect on society.

    Many people's core objections to legalization center not around dollars and cents, but around "more people will get high!". Just like I feel it would undermine society to have brightly-colored wine coolers sold in vending machines in schools, I think it's a straw man argument to describe anybody's stance as "legalization = free access to everybody at all times". And on the Khat, pointing out a drug that's a problem in an anomic and impoverished society doesn't provide the best example of how drug legalization would work elsewhere in the world. The Khat dealers are operating in an ignored legal grey area in a country ruled by warlords. It's possible for me to conceive of khat prohibition, and it would involve a lot more turf wars, a lot more guns, a lot more corruption of police and other officials (in Somalia, that's already a huge problem). The problems cited in the article are primarily parents who are absent or spend money on their habit, just like an alcoholic parent, or one who is a complusive gambler. In the US, drug prohibition means the parents are absent entirely due to prison time, or gunned down. I think Somalia doesn't need more ways for organized crime and violence to flourish. Faced with the evils that prohibition brings, I would say that legal sales of khat are the lesser of two evils.

  15. #14
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    So glad you are here. Welcome, and great first (and second and third and forth) post(s)!
    Last edited by Bruno; 05-16-2011 at 06:49 PM.

  16. #15

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    Here is an interesting article on the decriminalization "experiment" in Portugal.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...riminalization





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