Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A brutal truth remains politically incorrect - but nevertheless true

 

Let me say, right at the outset, that I have sympathy for drug addicts.  I've been addicted myself (to cigarettes) and it was a very long, difficult path to wean myself off them.  (I owe that to my wife, who gave me an ultimatum - cigarettes, or her.  I made the right choice!)  Even now, more than a decade after I stopped smoking, I can still feel craving for a cigarette from time to time.

Nevertheless, addiction is in the end an option we choose for ourselves.  It's all very well to say that our environment, or peer pressure, or poverty, or "the system", or whatever, makes us more vulnerable to it:  but when push comes to shove, we as individuals make a decision to use addictive substances.  There's no getting around that and no evading that responsibility, no matter how much politically correct educators, advisers, politicians and community activists might like to think there is.

That's why so many anti-drug efforts fail.  They ignore personal responsibility and try to give us any number of excuses.  "It's not your fault that you fell - it was this, or that, or the other, that made you fall.  You never had a chance!"  There are elements of truth in that, yes . . . but it's always, in the end, our own choice, no matter how conditioned that choice might be.

That's why, when I read articles like this, I get angry.  I look in vain for any acknowledgement that the risks described boil down to individuals who choose to expose themselves to those risks.


Forensic analysts have identified a new and highly potent family of synthetic opioids in [Washington D.C.'s] illicit drug supply, a worrisome discovery in a city already struggling with a wave of fatal overdoses that shows no signs of abating.

The opioids, found on used syringes examined by scientists at the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences in September and October, are called protonitazene and isotonitazene, respectively. Experts estimate that each is at least several times more powerful than fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that has displaced heroin in many parts of the United States and is now responsible for the majority of the country’s drug overdoses, including those in the nation’s capital.

. . .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released this month show that the District saw an estimated 498 fatal overdoses over 12 months during the coronavirus pandemic — an extraordinary figure that eclipses the city’s notably high homicide toll and is larger than the number of drug deaths in 13 states.

. . .

Alex Krotulski, associate director at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education in Willow Grove, Pa., said ... there are no signs that the drugs are on the verge of displacing fentanyl, which is a primary commodity in the international drug trade. But he said the nitazenes’ emergence is a reminder that even if the flow of fentanyl into the country is stanched, other opioids could take its place.

Fatal overdoses have soared across the country, driven by the omnipresence of fentanyl and exacerbated by the stressors of the pandemic, including shutdowns that affected many people’s jobs and isolated drug users from support systems.


There's more at the link.

I'm sorry, but let's face facts.  The only reason those new and more dangerous drugs are showing up is because there's a market for them.  If there were no market, no demand, no customers, they wouldn't be there.  Criminals and drug smugglers would turn to something more in demand, where they could be more sure of making a return on their investment.  Eliminate the demand, and you'll go a long way towards eliminating the supply.  It really is that simple.

Sadly, that's the one truth you almost never hear from the "support structures" and community activists and others involved in this crisis.  They spend millions upon millions of dollars on palliatives - needle exchange programs, decriminalizing drug use, buying and distributing doses of naloxone to bring overdosed individuals back from the brink of death, and so on - but none of these palliatives do anything to reduce the scale of the problem.  Rather, they serve as camouflage for the scale and intensity of the crisis.  "Look, we're doing something!  We're saving lives!" cry the activists - but more and more lives go on being ruined by their addiction every year, because they do nothing to stop new users from becoming addicted.

As a pastor and prison chaplain, I saw the horrendous scale of this problem.  It's existed for decades, but has grown much worse in recent years.  I don't know why that is, except to attribute it to the breakdown of the nuclear family and the disintegration of traditional social values and cultural norms.  One can't help but note that in communities where such values and norms are observed, there are demonstrably fewer cases of addiction.

Certainly, the so-called "War on Drugs" has been a dismal failure.  After 50 years, and spending over a trillion dollars on it, isn't it time we admitted that everything we've tried so far hasn't worked?  In that case, why are we still paying for it?  I know of cases where hard-core addicts have overdosed twice or three times in one day, only to be "bailed out" every time by a cop or ambulance worker administering a dose of naloxone and bringing them back from the brink of death.  They actually rely on being "rescued" like that.  They've told me as much.  I knew one addict who'd been "brought back" more than fifty times.  Eventually, inevitably, he overdosed in a location where he wasn't found until after it was too late.  I'm very sorry he died, and very sorry for his addiction, but it was his choice and his fault.  Sorrow won't change that - and it shouldn't.  He had the right to choose his way, and he did;  and all the programs and policies and assistance in the world didn't stop him.

We've got to stop throwing good money after bad, and abandon the programs that have done nothing to slow down or reduce the drug addiction problem.  If people choose to use illicit narcotics, they must be left to experience the inevitable consequences of their choice, and those in the communities around them must be allowed to witness those consequences.  I see no other way of stopping potential addicts except by "scaring them straight", letting them see what will happen to them if they go down that road.

Heartless?  Uncaring?  Unfeeling?  Some will say so, but I honestly can't see any other way of making progress.  Remember the old saying, often attributed to Albert Einstein:  "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results".  That's what we're doing right now to our drug addiction problem - and the result is as insane as can be expected.  Isn't it time we got off that treadmill, and let nature take its course?  Is there any other cure?  We don't need more "safe havens for addicts" - we need the kind of tough love that says, "If you choose to go down that road, we aren't going to smooth and pave and widen and subsidize it for you".

What about those who've made a living (often a very handsome one) out of government subsidies for their roles in the "War on Drugs"?  They seem to spend their entire working lives at our expense in jobs that seem to produce more failures every year, but are nevertheless generously subsidized by the taxpayer.  Maybe it's time we told them to earn a living in some other, non-subsidized job.  What say you, readers?

Peter


28 comments:

Skwab said...

Good for you for saying this.
I have felt for sometime, that trying to stop these "Slow Motion Suicides" is a Mug's Game. I can see a system where First Responders have a small instant tattoo stamper. 1st Narcan Shot=First Stamp. On the 3rd Shot, you get the 3rd stamp. Next time they see you, if you have three stamps, there is no 4th shot of Narcan. Put a stone cold stop to the situations you recount of users relying someone else to use Narcan to save them, so they can get high again.
This is undoubtedly Harsh. But, as you note, nothing else has worked or is working. If they want to die that badly....... Well, we may have to let them. I my work with the homeless, many of those we encountered did not ever want to change. They had motivation or desire to do so. They were happy, living the way they did.
I had one man tell me to my face as I was giving out food, that I was the sucker for working and following the rules. He did none of those things, and people gave him food, clothing and other things, and since he did not mind sleeping 'rough' he paid no rent, no taxes, and had no bills. (or most importantly, No Responsibilities).

And to me, that last part was the kicker. We now allow a huge group of people to live in our cites, with free food, almost free accomodations, and no cares at all. The only thing they have to buy are Drugs and Booze.
They are to put it Bluntly, "parasites". They rob, and steal, and vandalize, mostly because we allow it. We let them run riot, because we fear doing the harsh things that will stop the behavior. We (collectively) feel bad, so we won't do what is needed to put a halt to this.
WE could clean up the drug/homeless problem in a couple days. BUt, it would take brute force, some deaths, and a lot of political will to do so, and the fear of the deaths and violence stops us from doing anything.
Our society would rather let large numbers die slowly, living like animals, than do what we know would work and save most of the lives. Why? Because it would look bad on TV, and it would be forcing some people to do what they don't want to do.
Thus, we now have San Francisco and Venice Ca.
But at least there are no bad things to see on TV......





Jonathan H said...

I think the same applies to homeless and many poverty programs... When we (collective) subsidize a problem, we are saying it is valuable and others pursue that value.
Another example; poverty levels in the US were dropping steadily until the "Great Society" programs of the 60's - poverty levels have held steady since we started funding it...

1chota said...

Stop using NARCAN. Hard core fact. Sympathy don't work.
Some countries summarily execute drug dealers.
Here in the FUSA it would take a lot of shooting.

Tsgt Joe said...

Holding individuals responsible for their own actions and parents responsible for raising their kids right isn't a good basis for lucrative social programs. Blaming drugs. blaming guns, blaming racism all successfully avoid being responsible for your own behavior. I remember talking to a father who took no responsibility for his children being neglected. He was quite adamant that it wasn't his fault, he had been in prison after all.
















catfish said...

As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict (41 yrs sober and 38 yrs clean) I have to whole heartedly agree with you Peter. I've done street and jail ministry, cooked in several rescue missions and soup kitchens and it's always somebody else's fault. For the most part.
Nobody is taught about consequences anymore. No more narcan says I. We need a Revival. We are a sick nation.
Keep up the the Good Work.

MMinWA said...

I've asserted for many years that there should be a store where any drug is available at cost and you don't need a prescription. You want a handful of oxys? Fine. Meth, reefer, coke...whatever.

No Narcan, no ER, no EMTs, you're on your own. Heartless? Nope. If you want to kill yourself with drugs, go right ahead but in the meantime lets take the profit out of this shit.


I feel the same way about people eating themselves to death. Why am I on the hook for 100s of billions of dollars for medical care for people that can't control their diets? I walk through grocery stores and continue to be amazed at the poison people fill their carts with.

Peteforester said...

It galls me when I hear drug dealers referred to as "non-violent offenders." These people are MURDERERS. Funny; there's no end of airtime given to "mass shootings," and yet pushers who literally shoot into the crowd are given a pass. These people need to be prosecuted as the killers they are! That's my take on the "supply side." As far as demand goes, you're spot on. The LAST thing we should be doing is providing subsidies and safety nets for addicts. I'm sure that 99.9% of addicts were warned by parents, pastors, and teachers to stay away from the dope, and they didn't listen. I have three sons. Two of them are alcoholics. My family is weak to alcohol, hence, I warned my kids starting at about 12 years old, to stay away from the booze. I also told them why. I pointed to my brother, my uncle, and my great uncle as examples of what happened when the bottle started talking and they started listening. We had a small amount of alcohol in the house, but it was never given a place of honor. We didn't have a liquor cabinet. All of it was kept out of sight. Did my kids listen? Hell, no. They all dove in head first. One of them saw what as happening and pulled back. The other two? One blames me because I was in the military and "dragged him around the country." I was in 21 years. We moved three times; hardly "dragging" my kids around the country. I told my kids that I was a military man and that I would never be able to send them to college on my dime. I DID say, however, that I would make sure they had all the resources necessary so that they could get the scholarships they needed to go. My other alcoholic son did fantastic in school. Did he apply for any scholarships? Despite my repeated prompting and warnings, no. One night he came up to me waving an acceptance letter at me along with a "financial responsibility" form I was supposed to sign. I told him I wouldn't sign it. I told him that there was no magic pot of money, that he had failed to prepare, and that he was going to have to deal with it. To this day he says that my not signing that form drove him to drink. I told both of these kids that no one stuck funnels in their mouths and poured hooch down their throats. THEY decided to drink. THEY went against my warnings, lifted bottles, dumped their contents into their mouths, and their futures down the drain. THEY ruined their own lives!

As for me, I'm tired as HELL of everyone making stupid choices and me having to pay their freight! FUGGEMALL!

Beans said...

Having worked in, well, the drug industry (in an anti-drug task force) I got to see a lot of stuff normal people don't see.

Nobody talks about how drug users actively seek out the 'brand' of whatever current drug is killing most people, because they actively seek to skate on that thin line between life and death.

And Narcan has made it easier for so many of them to skate on that fine line. Back when the show "Nightwatch" first aired, they regularly showed the New Orleans Fire Department responding to overdosers, and often the overdosee would be violently pissed that the FD removed his/her/its high. And oftentimes the FD knew the overdoser and would say something like, "We revived him three times last week, twice this week," and at the end of the show would be a summary of cases and, yep, Mr/Mrs/Its OD person would have died finally.

Then there's the associated crime in even people who legally access but illegally use drugs, let alone the idjits who illegally acces and use. The left tells us that drug use is a 'victimless crime.' And I call bullscat on that. Robbing from families and friends, openly stealing, thefts of all kinds, property destruction, all affects other people (the true victims.)

And to make matters worse, these bungholes do it to themselves. The old thing about how doctors made so many addicts has been proven mostly false (yes, some pain users struggle with addiction, but most abusers do it for the feels and the fun.) And they have made it so that proper users of various medications can't get access to them.

For instance, back in the late 70's there was a really good anti-allergy medicine, one of the few that actually worked on me. But some jackwagons found that taking pyrabenzamine and a tranquilizer would give a really good 'trip,' well, except for the 10% that stayed down forever. So there goes the one really good anti-allergy drug that didn't make me trip and have bad hallucinations. Thanks, drug abusers, you worthless puss-filled sacks of tumor materials.

Here's my solution. Street users get one 'free' cycle of Narcan (it often takes multiple doses, sometimes up to 10 or more.) After that, forget it.

And people caught with illegal drugs? They have 2 choices, either get prosecuted fully for what they have or they can escape prosecution by taking all of what they are caught with right then and there. If they George Floyd, so what. Who cares. Problem solved.

I am tired of having to play Mr. Goodboy and pay for drugs and pay for syringes and legal paraphernalia for medical use while these jackwagons get free needles, free health care, free drugs (which most of them abuse or don't use.)

Tired of it.

And we need to attack the source of these drugs, financially and maybe even physically. Start denying the ChiComs the ability to ship stuff to us or Mexico. Start dropping bombs on the Cartels and on the ChiComs. They're waging a war against us, time to fight back.

B said...

Yep. Notch the ear of the person receiving Narcan. If they have the notch, then no additional Narcan help.
If they die, then so be it. Their choice. They got the second chance. No additional chances given by society.

Lock up people holding recreational type drugs. Work camps for a year. Make sure they come out clean, then let 'em go. If they are caught again, then other, more permanent measures might be necessary....

At the end of it, being soft is not working.

SQT said...

@Peteforester My sister-in-law is a lot like your sons. She was a train wreck a long time prior to her family ever moving (their dad was also career military) but when a counselor once gave her the excuse that moving in middle school was the source of her problems, she latched on to that excuse with both hands.

I went to eleven different schools and never did drugs or got into any kind of trouble. Put myself through college too. But my three brothers all had drug/alcohol problems. In our case I would say our upbringing was a factor but their actions are 100% on them. There were forks in the road for all of us and they consistently chose the path that required the least of them.

Unknown said...

When I worked a contract in a major upper midwest city, I quickly learned from the directs that a popular game among them was the "Send a Junkie to Hell" game. Our office was near downtown, and this city has a lot of panhandlers and druggies, who would constantly ask for money. The game was to give at least one of these wretched types $10-$20 every week, and see if they disappeared from their preferred location after a while.(These people had specific locations that they would protect by violence, if needed.)
I got to be a regular participant in the game, although I never "won". My wife thinks/thought it was cruel, but I keep harkening back to the adage "Think of It as Evolution in Action".
One of the media outlets here in Cincinnati has urged people to buy and keep Narcan in case they see someone OD'ing in the street or something. Me? No thanks; you played Russian Roulette with a Glock semi-auto.

Bob said...

Wherever Narcan(and garbage like it) is made, bulldoze the places into dust.
Follow the money on all these useless programs. Whoever was bribed to create the laws, whoever paid those bribes, and whoever profits from this insanity...there is a place in Hell for them, but that's to far off in the future(unless we send them there now). Make their lives a living Hell NOW. Find a hellhole, toss them in, throw away the keys, and walk away. They've earned it. Better yet, death sentence, no appeal, no housing and feeding them for decades.
We have over 500 billionaires in the U.S. today. What do you want to bet that more than a few of them are the very people I talk about in the above paragraph?
It would be a start.

Unknown said...

You will need to repeal 19A. As with welfare, the homeless, the $240T of unfunded social security and medicare liabilities, our response to drug abuse is empathy-based and so downstream from 19A. All major pathologies in America are the result of 19A. Face it - political power in the hands of women is destroying the West; they vote to be taken care of - not to be free to take care of themselves. And as long as men will vote as their women like, men will get laid. This is how 18A was passed - men voting as women demanded,resulting in the huge spike in organized crime and the only amendment ever repealed. What was no-fault divorce about? Not being kind to women - but enlarging the pool of women dependent on the State: Democrat voters and centralizing power and destruction of individual liberty by regarding the female vote as nice. What is abortion about? What is Affirmative Action about now, three generations after its implementation? What is unionized education about? These - all are about empathy, which is based on lack of responsibility. The result of 19A has been all of these pathologies, plus the fast-accelerating downward trend in education now that women are in the workforce rather than doing the far-more-important job of raising the next generation; the enormous decline in fertility: It's nice to have policies for future generations, but if you have no future generations, what's the point - and how are future citizens supposed to have Western rights when the West depopulates itself and evaporates? The huge increase in housing costs - if both adults are working, they quickly price out of the market both singles and newly-married. If we want to keep the nation (or re-make it) as founded, we'll need the franchise it came with.

oldvet1950 said...

As far as cigarettes go, the US government was my "pusher". As a kid in basic training, when on a work detail the sarge would let only smokers take a break and threatened anyone trying to bum on - "Smoke 'em if you got 'em" ONLY. They would provide free miniature packs of cigarettes in rations and were ridiculously cheap in the PX. I finally quit when the state decided to raise the tax by $1 a pack overnight to offset reductions in tax revenues on real estate. True to my nature I said Screw That!

I still believe it to be a choice, so the drug problem is on the user not the supplier. Everyone KNOWS it is illegal and easily fatal.

markshere2 said...

Lots of like minded people commenting above.

Ditto.

MMinWA wrote what I am thinking.

No public $ for healthcare at all.
No mandate to treat indigents.

Prices would drop like a stone.

Beans said...

Well, to all those who want to abolish Narcan, I say there is a valid excuse for its existence. People who are legally on pain killers can have situations that will cause their bodies to not process the painkillers and thus go into a non-purposeful overdose. I know one person who had that happen regularly after a brain bleed which affected everything. In that case Narcan was a life-saver several times. She got better.

It's the overavailability and overuse for recreational users of drugs that pisses me, and apparently everyone else here, totally off. Those are the jerks that need to stop being saved from their own stupidity.

Slow suicide is what it is. So let them. Save them once and once only. Let them learn once and then let them be free to dirtnap themselves.

Eric Wilner said...

I've suspected for a few years now that China is using the Zwilniks as a delivery system for chemical warfare.
The economics of the drug trade often make no sense, and having an occasional batch of 10% heroin / 90% cheap filler unexpectedly be 100% heroin seems like a waste of both money and customers.
... Amazing how prescient some aspects of the Lensman series are suddenly looking!

Brutus said...

Drugs have long been used to finance communism while demoralizing the west. You don't see it mentioned as much in right leaning circles these days, but "Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America" by Joseph D. Douglass was perhaps the best documented book about how the communists pushed drugs on America.

Aesop said...

1) The article misidentifies fentanyl as the old problem.
't isn't. Carfentanil is.
Carfentanil is to fentanyl what GHB is to nitrous oxide.
Now look up Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

2) Drugs, per se, have never been the problem.
They're no more nor less dangerous than AR-15s or chainsaws.
Addicts and dealers are the problem.
Shoot the dealers on the first strike, and the addicts after two previous strikes, and the problem self-corrects in short order.
That's what you do in an actual war.
Get in one, or get out.

Aesop said...

@MMinWA,

Srsly?

That's pure idiocy, distilled, born of world-class intellectual laziness.

Who's going to pay for those "free" drugs? You? Or did you think to pick everyone else's pockets for your cunning plan? Do you think drugs are cost-free ever, anywhere? What about store staff salaries, location rents and leases, utilities, etc. for those operations? (Are you a Democrat? An acolyte of Evita Guevara-Castro, perhaps?)

You gonna give it to children of any age too? 16 years old? 12? 5? In infant formula?

If not, why not?

What happens when kids get the drugs from their stoned parents' stash? You're going to announce the War On Kid's Drugs? Kill the parents? Or what...??

What do you call prosecuting the exact same drug war to keep drugs away from children that you'd give away free to adults?

When the cartels get a vote, and burn out your free drug locations, because it's bad for their business, what will you do about them? Announce the new improved War On Cartels?

When addiction surges to 1000 or 10000% of current numbers, what are you going to do with the people who show up in my ER, except are then the entire ER? What about the innocent victims they'll create while neglecting their kids stoned, driving stoned, or just wandering stoned into traffic? Like they do right now?
("F**k that schoolbus. It's their fault for driving on the road with drug addicts."??)

Just how far would you carry this laissez-faire idiocy?

Those were rhetorical questions, because to answer them would be to admit to cretinism, which is already self-evident.

Please, sir, turn your brain back on before again suggesting something so flatly the progeny of a horse and a donkey. At this point, it's simply embarrassing for you.

Delete your suggestion, and let's return to the status quo ante, and we'll say no more of such utter retarded nonsense.

Temnota said...

Peter,

Good on yer for staying off the cigarettes. I quit almost 17 years ago. I had quit many times before, but this time it was actually easy. The difference was that this time I actually flipped that switch in my head, and decided to actually quit. One box of full-strength lozenges, one box half-strength, one box of gum and out. The physical addiction is gone in a few weeks, everything left is between your ears. I have never looked back.

But yes, I WANT A EFFING CIGARETTE.

Ironkowboy said...

31 years clean, and yes, even growing up with a glaring example of the dangers of addiction, my take was that if I just didn't drink, I wouldn't be like him...what a crock.(I was worse. From growing up in a house of Anger, to building one of my own.) he got sober in '77, and watched me walk that path for 13 years before I went to him and asked for help. I got to spend the last 9 1/2 years of his life in recovery with him, and I didn't get loaded when he passed. Still haven't; accepting personal responsibility and getting truly honest with myself, and everybody else, getting some childhood trauma dealt with, along with working a program, has made so much possible for me, it would take days to describe it. I have seen many try to get clean, some succeed, and many more fail - they just weren't ready, or not desperate enough, I guess. Pray for the addicts who still use, but don't enable their behavior. My old man was the first to break the cycle, and I'm grateful that he did, because he was there for me when I became willing to break it, too.
-Kv

5stonegames said...

Cigarettes are bad for people but don't even come close to the harm caused by more serious drugs. Even booze or old school ditch weed.

A two pack a day junkie is about $10-20 US most of that tax. Such a person can function in every way required by society and while it may shorten one's life sometimes and smells nasty, that's about it.

As for drugs, its not just a demand side issue. Unless you have secure borders, a functional society and a willingness to punish nations that don't what is required on their end , no demand side efforts will work especially Neo Puritan punitive measures.

After you get the first three, you can let them die but not before. Also give so many of the people dying are young enough to have kids , if you know you'd like to have a population ,. best to make sure people live and get clean.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Eliminate the War On Drugs, and many of the overdoses would stop…because the junkies would know what they were buying, and how strong it was.

And there’s a lesson from Prohibition that is too often overlooked; if we decide after a spell that a piece of legislation was a mistake, we can repeal the damn thing. So, let’s try legalizing most if not all drugs. If it males a bigger mess than the War on Drugs has (which I doubt) we can ban them again.

And, lastly, if the War On Drugs has caused even ONE person with chronic pain to have to do without effective pain relief, I don’t care how many junkies the ‘War’ is supposed to have saved; it’s barbarous.

Aesop said...

The beauty of federalism is you don't have to shoot your foot off to see what it feels like.

Come to Califrutopia if you want to see how it's working out just to legalize weed.

Then tell me that's where you want your state to be in a couple of years.

Then explain to the class how adding cocaine, heroin, meth, etc., to that list would be MOAR BETTER!

The stupid answers are always stupid, and they don't get any brighter for not having been tried.

Ray - SoCal said...

Opium War 2.0

And 100,000 die from overdoses each year in the US, a 30% increase from the previous year.

Aesop said...

Which is what happens when dealers put carfentanil into heroin.

That's a feature, not a bug.

Quartz said...

Just legalise the lot. Then they can be certified, regulated, and taxed. Then use the same measures that worked with cigarettes.