Legalize Heroin!
When people talk about ending the drug war, they usually mean “no one should go to prison for marijuana.” There’s no doubt the public has shifted its collective opinion on pot—currently, a majority of Americans believe it should be as legal, regulated, and taxed as tobacco and alcohol—and naturally, politicians are beginning to sense the way the wind is blowing. But elected officials, like people at large, are less gun-ho about legalizing the harder drugs.
First, let’s clarify that no one is recommending that we all follow Philip Seymour Hoffman’sexample and start shooting up. Heroin is awful. Don’t do heroin. It fucks up your life. But as the case of the fentanyl-cut heroin that has killed 22 people in Pittsburgh illustrates, the only thing worse than legal heroin is illegal heroin.
In the aftermath of Hoffman’s death, Jeff Deeney, a former drug addict who now works as a social worker, wrote a piece in the Atlantic that calls for treating heroin like a health issue, not a criminal act. All the nasty effects of this drug—and all the reasons not to do it—are magnified by the threat of prison, the stigma that leads to shame and secrecy, and the increased of HIV and infection that comes with sharing needles. According to Deeney, if Hoffman had access to a space where it was legal to shoot heroin and where doctors could supervise users, he might still be alive. Why doesn’t the US have any such sites, though Vancouver, Canada, does? Why the hell isn’t Naloxone, the much-touted miracle drug that stops opioid overdoses, not available over the counter? Why isn’t it passed out in urban health clinics like candy? Out of the 1.5 million peoplearrested for drug crimes in 2012, 82 percent were for possession, and 16.5 percent of those were for cocaine, heroin, or associated drugs. Did those arrests do anyone any good?
One reason legalizing pot is more popular than legalizing heroin is that far more people smoke than shoot. At least 100 million people in the US have done marijuana, while the number of frequent heroin users has stayed under half a million for decades. But use (which isn’t necessarily addiction) has nearly doubled since 2007—one survey calculated that 669,000 Americans had done heroin in 2012, compared with 373,000 in 2007. (This may be because some former pill addicts move on to heroin, as Hoffman did).
That’s what prohibition (which includes policies that levy draconian punishments for pill possession) does—it causes rippling effects in human behavior. It does not stop drug use, though it may change a user’s drug of choice. Regardless, it’s time to give up trying to scare addicts into getting healthy and do what Portugal did in 2001 and decriminalize all drugs. Laws can’t stop people from using drugs, they can only make drug use a more harrowing experience for addicts who have to deal with jail time and police harassment and products that, thanks to a lack of oversight, may contain dangerous chemicals.
This country needs to grow up and realize that the legal system is a hammer, and drug users and addicts are not nails. End the drug war. End it all.
And now on to some bad cops of the week

Legalize Heroin!

When people talk about ending the drug war, they usually mean “no one should go to prison for marijuana.” There’s no doubt the public has shifted its collective opinion on pot—currently, a majority of Americans believe it should be as legal, regulated, and taxed as tobacco and alcohol—and naturally, politicians are beginning to sense the way the wind is blowing. But elected officials, like people at large, are less gun-ho about legalizing the harder drugs.

First, let’s clarify that no one is recommending that we all follow Philip Seymour Hoffman’sexample and start shooting up. Heroin is awful. Don’t do heroin. It fucks up your life. But as the case of the fentanyl-cut heroin that has killed 22 people in Pittsburgh illustrates, the only thing worse than legal heroin is illegal heroin.

In the aftermath of Hoffman’s death, Jeff Deeney, a former drug addict who now works as a social worker, wrote a piece in the Atlantic that calls for treating heroin like a health issue, not a criminal act. All the nasty effects of this drug—and all the reasons not to do it—are magnified by the threat of prison, the stigma that leads to shame and secrecy, and the increased of HIV and infection that comes with sharing needles. According to Deeney, if Hoffman had access to a space where it was legal to shoot heroin and where doctors could supervise users, he might still be alive. Why doesn’t the US have any such sites, though Vancouver, Canada, does? Why the hell isn’t Naloxone, the much-touted miracle drug that stops opioid overdoses, not available over the counter? Why isn’t it passed out in urban health clinics like candy? Out of the 1.5 million peoplearrested for drug crimes in 2012, 82 percent were for possession, and 16.5 percent of those were for cocaine, heroin, or associated drugs. Did those arrests do anyone any good?

One reason legalizing pot is more popular than legalizing heroin is that far more people smoke than shoot. At least 100 million people in the US have done marijuana, while the number of frequent heroin users has stayed under half a million for decades. But use (which isn’t necessarily addiction) has nearly doubled since 2007—one survey calculated that 669,000 Americans had done heroin in 2012, compared with 373,000 in 2007. (This may be because some former pill addicts move on to heroin, as Hoffman did).

That’s what prohibition (which includes policies that levy draconian punishments for pill possession) does—it causes rippling effects in human behavior. It does not stop drug use, though it may change a user’s drug of choice. Regardless, it’s time to give up trying to scare addicts into getting healthy and do what Portugal did in 2001 and decriminalize all drugs. Laws can’t stop people from using drugs, they can only make drug use a more harrowing experience for addicts who have to deal with jail time and police harassment and products that, thanks to a lack of oversight, may contain dangerous chemicals.

This country needs to grow up and realize that the legal system is a hammer, and drug users and addicts are not nails. End the drug war. End it all.

And now on to some bad cops of the week

motherboardtv:


Heroin, Cocaine, and Weed Are Stronger, Cheaper, and Easier to Get Than They’ve Ever Been
MOTHERBOARD: So your report is essentially more data backing up the idea that seizing drugs doesn’t work, correct?Evan Wood: You’re right. The price of cannabis has really bottomed out over the last few years and the potency has increased. The same thing seems to be happening to heroin and cocaine, which was seen as the success story the United States was touting in the War on Drugs. When you look at the data though, it’s essentially neutral. There’s been no gains there in the past two decades. The patterns of supply go up and down but they’re not related to anything the government is implementing.
In popular media, seizures are presented as officers with guns and drugs in a brightly lit room, with the implication being that seizing drugs somehow impacts the availability or supply on the street. But there’s no economic paper out there that suggests it has any effect. The amount seized is so minuscule compared to the actual size of the supply.
Continue

motherboardtv:

Heroin, Cocaine, and Weed Are Stronger, Cheaper, and Easier to Get Than They’ve Ever Been

MOTHERBOARD: So your report is essentially more data backing up the idea that seizing drugs doesn’t work, correct?

Evan Wood: You’re right. The price of cannabis has really bottomed out over the last few years and the potency has increased. The same thing seems to be happening to heroin and cocaine, which was seen as the success story the United States was touting in the War on Drugs. When you look at the data though, it’s essentially neutral. There’s been no gains there in the past two decades. The patterns of supply go up and down but they’re not related to anything the government is implementing.

In popular media, seizures are presented as officers with guns and drugs in a brightly lit room, with the implication being that seizing drugs somehow impacts the availability or supply on the street. But there’s no economic paper out there that suggests it has any effect. The amount seized is so minuscule compared to the actual size of the supply.

Continue

Does Don Draper Want to Legalize Heroin?
I’ve been reading about how bad the war on drugs is for so long that I’m not actually sure what the arguments in favor of prohibition are other than, “Drugs are bad, mmmmkay?” The government’s efforts to use law enforcement to get people to stop getting high costs of billions of dollars a year, results in nonviolent people being sent to prisons that ruin their lives and, in many cases, stick them in a cycle of recidivism that’s nearly impossible to escape, decimates poor and minority communities disproportionately and deprives many children of fathers. The war on drugs is racist, cruel, expensive, and it doesn’t even work, since people are still getting high—in the past few years, illegal drug use among kids has increased, while legal drug use (in the form of tobacco and alcohol) has declined. We need to get people out of an overcrowded prison system and back to productive society and their families, and we can do that by releasing those convicted of drug-related crimes. Fuck the law-and-order conservatives who have pandered for votes for decades by describing a world full of violent criminals who need to be locked up for life; fuck the for-profit corporations and prison-guard unions who make money off of human misery. Close the prisons, legalize drugs, stop trying to solve every societal ill with a badge and a gun, end the war on drugs. And so on and so forth.
You probably agree with a lot of the above paragraph—according to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, and Michele Alexander’s great, bestselling book, The New Jim Crow, brought widespread recognition to the idea that mass incarceration and the war on drugs are racist as well as massive failures. But it wasn’t until the past few days that the movement to end the drug war achieved the mark of every mainstream political cause in America—a bunch of celebrities attached their names to it.
Continue

Does Don Draper Want to Legalize Heroin?

I’ve been reading about how bad the war on drugs is for so long that I’m not actually sure what the arguments in favor of prohibition are other than, “Drugs are bad, mmmmkay?” The government’s efforts to use law enforcement to get people to stop getting high costs of billions of dollars a year, results in nonviolent people being sent to prisons that ruin their lives and, in many cases, stick them in a cycle of recidivism that’s nearly impossible to escape, decimates poor and minority communities disproportionately and deprives many children of fathers. The war on drugs is racist, cruel, expensive, and it doesn’t even work, since people are still getting high—in the past few years, illegal drug use among kids has increased, while legal drug use (in the form of tobacco and alcohol) has declined. We need to get people out of an overcrowded prison system and back to productive society and their families, and we can do that by releasing those convicted of drug-related crimes. Fuck the law-and-order conservatives who have pandered for votes for decades by describing a world full of violent criminals who need to be locked up for life; fuck the for-profit corporations and prison-guard unions who make money off of human misery. Close the prisons, legalize drugs, stop trying to solve every societal ill with a badge and a gun, end the war on drugs. And so on and so forth.

You probably agree with a lot of the above paragraph—according to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, and Michele Alexander’s great, bestselling book, The New Jim Crow, brought widespread recognition to the idea that mass incarceration and the war on drugs are racist as well as massive failures. But it wasn’t until the past few days that the movement to end the drug war achieved the mark of every mainstream political cause in America—a bunch of celebrities attached their names to it.

Continue

noiseymusic:

2 Chainz got arrested last night and the cops made him take this photo

noiseymusic:

2 Chainz got arrested last night and the cops made him take this photo