I've been vehemently opposed to drug abuse for decades. I'm equally opposed to the so-called "War on Drugs", which has brought so many abuses and violations of civil rights in its wake, but that doesn't mean I have any tolerance for the abuse of drugs and alcohol in general. I regard it as one of the core signs of a society's health. If drug abuse is widespread, that society is in trouble. If widespread drug abuse is not only tolerated, but legalized, that society is in really bad shape, IMHO.
Aesop has produced the best summary I've yet seen of reasons why drug abuse is not the "victimless crime" it's so often claimed to be by advocates for legalization. Here's an excerpt.
I've spent nearly a quarter-century working in emergency medicine, and an honest 25% of my patients any given night are there because of chronic alcohol abuse, and the sequellae. That's 6-years-plus, I've got quite a ways yet to go until retirement, and I'm only one nurse. Pile other drug abuse on - all of it flat-out illegal for most of that period - and we're at between 1/3 and 1/2 my professional career just dealing with life's ****-ups and their substance problems.
And you want to make all that **** legal, because it's a "victimless" crime???
You're. ****ing. High.
Cases in point, from all the way back to both nights this past weekend.
Two guys, stoned off their ***es on opiates, necessitating an entire light task force (six firefighters, two paramedics), four EMTs, two ambulances, four cops, six nurses, two doctors, two radiology techs, three lab techs, and the administration workers to deal with for most of four hours. Saving the lives of two total ***holes, higher than kites, stoned out of their mind to the point of near respiratory arrest and hypothermia, who then proceeded to sign out against medical advice as soon as they were competent and able to do so, and will, in fact, pay for exactly not one ****ing cent of the $20,000 of emergency response and medical care that saved their lives, to include any of the taxes that made it possible in the first place.
Every minute I and my colleagues are dealing with their bullshit, we're not working on your grandmother's stroke, or your child's asthma or septic fever. And they brought part of their dope bindle with them, which along with any needles are a hazmat exposure nightmare to every one of twenty people who handled and cared for them. When a firefighter ends up in ICU from carfentanil exposure, or some minimum-wage EMT has to deal with HepC and liver failure in his 30s because of those wastrels, define for me what part of that crime is "victimless".
And considering that a fine in court of $1000 in this state is a felony-level crime, these two pieces of human feces will see not so much as a ticket, let alone prosecution, because they aren't worth the trouble.
. . .
What should happen? ... Let's start with six months at hard labor, in a chain gang, shoveling snow in the winter with a child's sand castle plastic beach shovel, or six months slinging hot tar in the desert sun all summer. Cold nasty gruel breakfast and dinner, protein only if you can catch bugs or rodents in your cell at night, and a daily beating of ten stripes, delivered by the former NFL linebacker kicked out for being too aggressive and violent, every day of that six months. That's for a first offense.
Pass that law, and legalize any damned thing you want, as long as they never impact anyone but themselves.
DUI? Same penalty.
Impaired in public? Same penalty.
Any other crime under the influence? Same penalty.
Too stoned to pay alimony or child support? Same penalty.
Bounced a check? Missed a tax payment? Same penalty.
Not feeding, sheltering, and/or adequately parenting a minor child? Same penalty.
So effed up in public or private that someone had to have your ass dragged to the ER? Same penalty.
Because when you're that ****ing addicted, you're going to let it affect your entire life, and quickly, and it will. You've just violated every argument in favor of legalization.
And the minute it does, you're not committing a victimless crime.
So, you pass laws that punish those that can't keep that addiction in their pants, and we can talk. Make sure the judicial daily beatings are included without fail, and I'll even pay you $1 for every second offender you can find. I suspect at the end of six months of that, I'd still have change from a $5 bill.
Third offence: LWOP. Chain gang for life.
We're going to have the cleanest roads and beaches in the country five minutes after that day, and the smallest drug problems.
. . .
The problem isn't a War On Drugs.
It's the total lack of one.
And the correct solution isn't doing even less, and multiplying the problems.
Oh, and exactly as I suggested in 2016, you can't just legalize; you're going to have to give the **** away free, otherwise the cartels get a vote.
Which means spending my taxes to pay for giving dope to dopers.
O Hell No.
. . .
So, to be absolutely clear, you're against government going after Al Capone or Pablo Escobar for wantonly violating laws enacted by the directly-elected representatives of the people in a republic, including murder, because that militarizes the police, but you're in favor of using the IRS to demand, at gunpoint if necessary, and on pain of prison or death, that I pay taxes to provide unlimited drugs to whomever should wish them, from out of the fruits of my labor?
You've simply swapped one criminal enterprise for another, waved your magic wand over it, and called it "better".
There's more at the link. Highly recommended reading. Click over there and absorb the whole thing.
Speaking as a former prison chaplain, I can only agree with every word Aesop says. I've encountered cartel drug bosses who've ordered (not to mention personally committed) the most sickening, obscene offenses, in order to intimidate rivals, expand their operations, and create a new generation of victims. I've spoken with inmates who've committed the most foul crimes imaginable while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and are now behind bars for lengthy terms as a result. They never accept personal responsibility for their actions - no, it's always "the booze" or "the drugs" that made them do it. Made them, mind you, as if the drug itself was riding herd on them with rawhide whips, forcing them to rape, beat up and murder others. That's not true, of course. All a drug (or alcohol) does is lower one's inhibitions. There's a reason the phrase "In vino veritas" ("In wine lies the truth") has become a byword. The way one behaves when one's inhibitions are lowered really does reveal the person that one really is, one's true character. That's why inmates blame the booze or the drugs rather than themselves. They don't want to admit that. That's also why most addicts blame the thing they're addicted to for what happens to them, rather than their own choices.
Drug abuse is not a victimless crime. It's the enabler of many other crimes, and in my book, that makes it a crime in itself. Yes, I include alcohol abuse in that. I agree with Aesop: the instant a drug abuser's habits impact others, he or she should be held criminally liable for that, and given a sentence sufficiently punitive to deter them and others from doing the same thing again. If they can't or won't learn from that, lock them away for as long as necessary to protect the rest of us - but don't legalize their problem. That'll only spread it to others.