Patterico's Pontifications

10/5/2007

A Study I’d Like to See

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am



Anyone who works in the criminal justice system knows that many, many criminals are on welfare.

Also, many, many criminals are on drugs.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: a lot of them are on both.

Which means your tax dollars, some of them anyway, are being spent on drugs.

Crack, heroin, PCP . . . you’re buying it all. From your pocket, to the government’s pocket, to the addict’s pocket — to the pusher’s pocket.

I’d like to see someone do a study that estimates how much tax money is being spent on drugs.

The results might be as eye-opening as the line of meth you just bought someone on Hollywood Boulevard. And it would provide a little perspective, in an era when city officials are trying to trick and threaten voters into approving a currently illegal phone tax — but (to my knowledge) nobody is considering substantial cuts in general relief.

What kind of “relief” is provided by “general relief”?

Does welfare improve the welfare of the recipient? Or of the pusher?

How many people will your tax dollars get high today?

64 Responses to “A Study I’d Like to See”

  1. From the articles I read, the gambit is, eat at the various missions, (enablers all), then use your GR for drugs. More enterprising Skid Row denizens find willing businessmen to aid them in converting food stamps to drugs as well.
    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=27886

    Patricia (4117a9)

  2. Please expound on your logic. Do you have any knowledge of any states actual public welfare policies?
    FYI – A single TANF or state-funded GA recipient in PA gets $205.00/month which can only be withdrawn at an ATM. A food stamp recipient gets $162.00/month which can only be accessed at a grocery store POS.

    Bryan Walter (a12079)

  3. George W. Bush is on welfare too? We all know he’s on drugs.

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  4. Years ago, LA was handing out $225 dollars to just about anyone who asked. A couple of years ago, the city of SF passed a measure to not give cash payouts to welfare receipts because most homeless people are homeless because they abuse drugs or are mentally ill. The plan was to provide section 8 housing, food stamps, and $60 cash a month in exchange for mandatory counseling. Unfortunately, the measure was shot down in the courts.

    dave (2e8be5)

  5. I’ll take this one…

    The $205 they get from the ATM goes directly down the street to the corner, where they buy crack.

    It is a simple logic.

    Now, if you want to read the string a bit more openly, you will realize he is not talking about everyone; he is saying that there are alot of drug users that also collect welfare.

    The logical thing for a person on welfare to do is to get off. Is using drugs moving in that direction? I would bet you as well that a large percentage of people on welfare are also smokers, which means the government is in a giant ponzi scheme to get money from the same people they give it to, in the form of cigarette taxes. Is that an illogical conclusion to reach as well? We have here at school a large number of students whose parents are receiving SSI checks each month for their child, and are OBVIOUS drug users…where is that money coming from???

    We force people who drive school buses to drug test. We drug test teachers. We drug test police. We drug test in the military. Yet, we don’t drug test people who are in many cases doing NOTHING to get off the public dole. And, before you say that we “can’t jail them all, and can’t rehab them all” WE DON’T HAVE TO. If you take their funds away, many of them would find their way off drugs, and do something about their situations. Yes, there are many that can’t, but, if you have rules and ENFORCE THEM, people adjust.

    reff (bff229)

  6. I mean, on the other hand, we could expand this to all those on government salaries…politicians, police, teachers, hell, everyone on Capital Hill…ever wonder how all those congressional staffers manage to work 20 hours a day?

    While we’re speculating, we should consider the money that’s being mishandled by the top as well…but then, that way of thinking could open up a whole new can of mess.

    Tom (5a7f5b)

  7. I like the idea. Why shouldn’t we require drug testing for those receiving federal funds? There is no reason that drug users should be “entitled” to government funds. The real problem is how do you care for the children of such people? The kids would end up with the short end of the stick.

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  8. Tom….you may have a point..

    But, I’ll submit that the average person, who goes to work for a day’s pay, and goes home to his family, or his friends, isn’t worried that much about the waste by people that in the end are producing for society….they are much more worried about about the waste and the drain at the other end….now, I don’t have a problem with any drug test…why? Because I have to take one for my job as a teacher…so, if the Governor has to take one, so be it…but, again, if you write the rule, people will adjust, and if that means we get 90% of the drug users in Government off drugs, and 90% of the welfare users off drugs, I challenge you to tell me which number will be bigger, and which group’s actions would be better for our society?

    reff (bff229)

  9. Mr. T…

    We don’t have a means test for welfare…how can we have one for welfare parents who have children?

    I ask because most people think that having children is a financial responsibility, and many welfare parents look at children as a paycheck.

    reff (bff229)

  10. We love spending tax dollars on drugs — what are you talking about?

    http://www25.uua.org/uuawo/new/article.php?id=41

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  11. Hey, don’t look at Seattle. We have a housing project for incurable alcoholics. Not just ‘disadvantaged people’, they can’t get in. This one is exclusively for drunks. I can’t remember if there’s a stipend too.

    Al (b624ac)

  12. Yeah, but does it have a bar?

    Pablo (99243e)

  13. Al — yes, there’s a stripend.

    And as for food stamps, I have been informed that the going rate is 50% of face value if they’re really addicted, and 75% of face value if they’re just tempted. 25% for crackheads, because they’ll take anything. (Information slightly out of date because the only drug dealers I know are former ones.)

    Foxfier (616888)

  14. So what’s the solution? Eliminate all welfare altogether? Not politically possible, I think.

    Personally, I think a better candidate for elimination is the food-stamp program, and it’s exactly the kind of reasoning you described above that enables such programs.

    The reason we have food stamps? Because Patterico doesn’t want his tax money spent on drugs, a sympathetic position I suppose. However, to administer these stamps, we have a federal bureaucracy that consumes $7 in overhead for every dollar given away. Besides, food stamps don’t actually reduce drug use, because almost everyone has some disposable income they can just shift their cash flow to crack or whatever, and use the food stamps for food.

    My solution? Just give ’em money. Sure, some of it will be spent on drugs, but even a crack addict has to eat something. Besides, it doesn’t make any difference anyway.

    As long as we’re talking welfare, let’s talk about getting rid of come corporate welfare (to ADM, for example) that costs a hell of a lot more anyway.

    Russell (a32796)

  15. This is a difficult issue for me. On the one hand, sure, I don’t want tax dollars simply being cycled through to drug dealers without actually helping people improve their lives.

    On the other hand (and I appreciate that anecdotes are insufficient for policy, but I can’t help but be influenced by this): I was close to someone, a decade or so ago, who had been on welfare for several years. At one time a serious hard drug user, he’d gotten his girlfriend pregnant, and married her, and reformed his life. He was on welfare for a few years, along with his wife and child, while he went back to school and got the training he needed to get a good tech job; then he and his family were off welfare. This is the way welfare is *supposed* to work, right?

    The thing is, he smoked marijuana the entire time he was on welfare, and continued to do so while working in the tech industry, and might very well be doing so now (we lost touch five or six years ago when he moved out of the town I was living in because his new job took him elsewhere). So, in his case, welfare provided the safety net he needed to get himself to a situation where he could financially support his family; but some of the welfare money went to pay for drugs. And yet, I can’t say that it was a bad thing.

    I guess what i’m getting at is: drug use by people on welfare isn’t per se a bad thing. Maybe it’s presumptively a bad thing, but that presumption has to be rebuttable — because there are people like this guy, and without knowing the specifics of any given case, there’s no way to know if the drug-using welfare recipient is like him or like the people Patterico is describing.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  16. Can I give the libertarian position? Eliminate welfare and eliminate drug laws. Even if we just eliminate drug laws, the street price goes down and less of our tax money flows through the addicts to the drug dealers.

    Drug demand is pretty inelastic. Raising the price does’t reduce the amount sold much, and lowering the price won’t increase it much.

    Of course if we eliminated drug laws, we would have to fire a bunch of prosecutors and Patterico would have to get a different day job.

    TomHynes (6c3e12)

  17. Can I give the super-Libertarian position? Make it an affirmative defense to any crime that the victim was a drug pusher.

    nk (7d4710)

  18. Of course if we eliminated drug laws, we would have to fire a bunch of prosecutors and Patterico would have to get a different day job.

    Unfortunately, not going to happen – too many legal junkies dependent upon the Insane War on Some Drugs, starting with law enforcement and their insatiable appetite for asset forfeiture.

    Now, if there was a union representing drug dealers and users who all agreed not to plea bargain, the judicial system would come to a screeeching halt.

    Don’t even get me started on how the IWoSD adversely impacts the “Global War to Defend Western Civilization against Islamic Barbarism”.

    Horatio (f61519)

  19. Tom:

    Drug demand is pretty inelastic. Raising the price does’t reduce the amount sold much, and lowering the price won’t increase it much.

    This naive wishful thinking goes against basic economics. For addictive drugs, lower price increases demand even more. Crack cocaine became an epidemic because of its low price. It’s the perfect product – sell one and you have a customer for life. That’s why dealers will give it away at first.

    Should we adopt that policy with all drugs? Is there any product that is just too dangerous to be allowed? Where is your limit?

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  20. Should we adopt that policy with all drugs? Is there any product that is just too dangerous to be allowed? Where is your limit?

    Let me ask you – whose life is it anyway, or who “owns” me? If I want to use crack, and I do so in a way that doesn’t involve the initiation of force or fraud against anyone, what business is it of government if I do so? The moment I step over the line, and rob a store for $$ to feed my habit, then, and only then should law enforcement step in.

    Horatio (f61519)

  21. Some questions for prosecutors:

    1 – What percentage of your case load is drug related?
    2 – How many cases does that involve in a year?
    3 – What would happen if none of those being prosecuted plea bargained?
    4 – If plea bargains went away how many cases would have to be dismissed due to the failure to have a speedy trial per the 6th Amendment?
    5 – Do you know the dollar amount of the assests seized by your municipality/jurisdiction?
    6 – Are the LE budgets being reduced based upon an “expected” asset forfeiture sum to offset the cuts?

    Thanks.

    Horatio (f61519)

  22. As to reffs comment #6 … People more worried about the nickels we dole out to a bunch of unfortunates and the inevitable parasites in our welfare system as opposed to the billions that go to war profiteers etc. a la corporate welfare? No ref. I think people used to be fed up with welfare queens but are now more fed up with corporate crooks. I’d rather all these hucksters, top and bottom go straight where they belong which is to prison. If I gotta pay for their loser asses anyway I’d rather it be with them behind bars.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  23. But would you allow any limit – for heroin, methaqualone, addictive prescription pain killers? Should we make everything over-the-counter?

    Society deems the use of these substances as harmful to the community. I lived for eight years in an area where drugs were practically legal. They destroy neighborhoods, they destroy families. You do not live in a vacuum.

    The problem is that we don’t enforce current law enough.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  24. The moment I step over the line, and rob a store for $$ to feed my habit, then, and only then should law enforcement step in.

    — The minute I rape and murder a couple in the park in a cannabis-induced dissociative state, then and only then should law enforcement step in.

    — The minute I gun down a five-year old in a drive-by shooting to protect my territory, then and only then should law enforcement step in.

    — The minute I knock an old woman down and crack her skull for the ten dollars in her purse, then and only then should law enforcement step in.

    — The minute I give birth to a crack baby who will have physical, mental and emotional problems all his life, then and only then should law enforcement step in.

    — And so on and so forth …

    Why is so much of Libertarian philosophy like that of a spoiled princess with an indulgent daddy?

    nk (7d4710)

  25. The vision of neatly regulated businesses selling formerly illegal drugs with no increase in addiction and no black market is a libertarian fantasy. I am a big fan of the Commissioner Lin approach.

    Government does have a legitimate role in reasonably protecting its citizens. Libertarians, when pressed, will admit this. So the question is a practical one of whether this is reasonable, not a philosophical one of whether the government owns you.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  26. drug test welfare recipients – sure, as long as you test every single recipient of government subsidy. ethanol producers in iowa? test them! halliburton/blackwater employees in iraq? them too! churches that receive federal money for abstinence programs? ok sister mary immaculate, pee in this jar here while i watch to make sure it isn’t just warm chardonnay.

    assistant devil's advocate (44f732)

  27. That is the calculus right? Legalized drugs and their inevitable addicts would create human misery plus all the crime that goes with it and we all would have to look at it/live with it.
    We already know that illegal drugs and their inevitable addicts plus all the associated law enforcement (justified and unjustified), plus huge populations of people in prison also creates human misery and we all have to look at it/live with it. Which situation creates more human misery? Or, if you don’t care about that, which costs more?

    Would it be more cost effective to dump prohibition on drugs that people just don’t believe are all that bad like marijuana, LSD (bad if you have a psychotic break), and coca tea and concentrate on ones that there is a LOT more agreement about like heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth?

    No-one can convince me that weed is worse than alcohol coz my experience tells me that it isn’t so. I don’t need convincing that meth is worse than alcohol because I have seen what it does firsthand, to people I know and don’t know.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  28. Haw haw ADA- exactly, test em all, ESPECIALLY the “private” contractors. I don’t see why “productive” citizens should get a pass if everyone is so hell bent on putting all the “drug dealers” in jail. It’s those “productive” citizens with the extra cash who are helping keep dealers in business…and, I suppose, subsidizing the crack freebies that dealers give to their less well off but as addicted base (if what reff said above was true).

    EdWood (c2268a)

  29. Why is so much of Libertarian philosophy like that of a spoiled princess with an indulgent daddy?

    The concept may be too difficult for you to understand – it’s called individual liberty accompanied by individual responsibility

    Horatio (f61519)

  30. There is no prohibition. I could go out and buy “illegal” drugs any time I want with the expectation of getting away with it. Most colleges even have substance free dorms. Current enforcement is a joke. Many people become addicted in prison.

    The most addictive drugs should be vigorously stamped out like the epidemic disease they are. That is the only way to stop them.

    We can debate what should be illegal and what should merely be restricted like alcohol, but it is foolish to suggest that all drug enforcement should be eliminated. There will be enforcement as long as there are addictive substances. If there is enforcement, it should be thorough.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  31. Horatio – should ALL drugs be legal? Yes or no?

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  32. Horatio – should ALL drugs be legal? Yes or no?

    Absolutely yes

    Are you a prosecutor whose jurisdiction dependent upon asset forfeiture? Yes or No to both clauses

    Horatio (f61519)

  33. I am an engineer and I resent the insinuation.

    No more prescriptions. I could go get whatever I want at the local pharmacy. Addictive pain killers,
    antibiotics, steroids, whatever. I could open a business selling heroin with free product promotions. It would be like China after the British forced them to legalize opium in the nineteenth century. No problems.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  34. I guess my point was that there used to not be enforcement until pretty recently, then there was. Either way there are going to be a lot of miserable people. My question was which way do you think would create less misery?

    I think some people in this thread are putting forth the utilitarian argument that my question above is irrelevant and that it is more cost effective or more idealogically practical to let drug users do what they will inevitably do… maybe we don’t get to choose how many people will destroy themselves with the bad stuff even if we went full police state with our enforcement(as if that would stop corruption and authorities looking the other way).

    I personally favor Hunter S. Thompson’s solution which is to have drugs be legal but selling or trading of drugs remain illegal.
    Then law enforcement doesn’t have to lose all their drug enhanced revenue AND they can keep on putting away some really bad guys who want to use that drug $ to fund other really bad things (always a big fan of that, please keep it up guys), the prison-industrial complex might take a hit but who really ever liked the idea of more prisons anyway (the new “market” reality would force some of them to convert to rehab centers or boot camps for wayward teens etc. or die), do gooders could still get out there and try and prevent or save drug addicts like they always do (maybe even a little more $ for faith based do gooders to help out!), and the rest of us who only want to blow a little weed occasionally can grow it ourselves in our back-yard without having our house seized coz we are “drug dealers” with “intent to sell”.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  35. What about the date rape drug? I forgot about that. I imagine that would sell.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  36. How the hell do you get drugs if it’s illegal to trade or sell them? Puh-lease. Thankfully, Hunter must have seen the fallacy of his positions right before he was shot out of that cannon.

    patrick (5903bd)

  37. Nice to see the opinions of so many drug addicts/pushers here defending the rights of drug users everywhere. I’d favor the PRC’s drug policy. You deal or use drugs you get to pick which wall you’d like to be stood up against. I’d make a few exceptions for people who become addicted because of medical conditions but even these people would have to undergo forced rehabilitation.

    What good ever came of drug use? How many children can say what wonderful childhoods they had because of their crack addled parents? How many parents can boast of their heroin addicted children?

    The only thing insane about the war on drugs is that its such a joke. Too many people are getting rich on this devil’s trade. Worse one only has to see what happened once the drug trade hit China in force in the late 18th century and what it did to its culture, government and society. This is what our druggies here advocate , a nation prostrate and in serfdom to what it can shoot up.

    Pathetic losers all.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  38. No more prescriptions. I could go get whatever I want at the local pharmacy. Addictive pain killers, antibiotics, steroids, whatever. I could open a business selling heroin with free product promotions. It would be like China after the British forced them to legalize opium in the nineteenth century. No problems.

    Who said no problems? I just stated that drugs shouldn’t be illegal – what you do with your body – what you ingest – is your business. Seek all the info you want about dosage or side effects. Unlike some here who appear to believe that advocacy of drug legalization is an endorsement of drug use, I don’t take that position, and would counsel anyone who asked my opinion re: taking a certain drug i.e. crack, to avoid it like the plague.

    My wife was on a heavily advertised antidepressant. If you watch TV, you’ll see their ads all the time. It took her almost 6 months, and amedical leave of absence from her job to get off it, all the while under a doctor’s supervision. Patients are not informed by the FDA that it is easier to kick heroin than this particular drug.

    Horatio (f61519)

  39. No, Thomas just knows that if we shot everyone who uses drugs then we would have a glorious revolutionary drug free state, you know…. like China does…not….. He’s right about China in the 18th century, but then in that case there was a foreign government actively promoting drug use in the country they were exploiting which would not be the same, of course, as legalizing drugs.

    I think the point that Thomas may be missing (or maybe is making) is the same one that he brings up, that the “war on drugs” is such a joke. But I think that exactly that is what is fueling the exasperation and even cynicism of a lot of the commenters on this thread. We have already had 40 years of this “war” and lots of it under “tough on crime”, “conservative”, “three strikes an yer out” policy with all of the incredible corruption and organized crime that goes with it and still….zip…. still using drugs like we all have been since ancient monkey-man figured out that the kind of gooey fermenty bananas were the GOOOOOD ones!

    I think a lot of people are saying hey, this approach doesn’t seem to work (although it does create lots of jobs I guess), maybe we should try something else??

    EdWood (c2268a)

  40. Why not cancel welfare, and then use the money as “crop subsidies” to drug dealers? Pay the dealers not to distribute drugs.

    Then everyone ends up where they would have been anyway: the erstwhile recipients of welfare don’t have money, the drug dealers have all the money they want, and nobody’s selling drugs.

    Who says there isn’t a market solution to every problem?

    Steverino (db5c07)

  41. The concept may be too difficult for you to understand – it’s called individual liberty accompanied by individual responsibility

    Err, no pumpkin. When you can build your own red convertible and the road to drive it on and the police station for the policemen you trained to protect you from the bad guys who want to steal it and the hospital with the doctors and nurses to treat you if you’re in an accident then you can say “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want to”.

    nk (7d4710)

  42. The minute I rape and murder a couple in the park in a cannabis-induced dissociative state, then and only then should law enforcement step in.

    C.I.D.S. — it’s like A.I.D.S., but scarier.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  43. EdWood –

    It was me, it was China in the 19th Century, and if you don’t think drug companies will actively promote their products you are crazy.

    Horatio –

    What you do with your body may well be other’s business. Abuse of antibiotics has caused resistant diseases. There are serious problems with addictive pain killers even though they are restricted. There would be no way to track them, or the date rape drug, unless they are controlled.

    Government has a responsibility to promote the general welfare. I think banning these drugs reasonably falls within that framework.

    Heroin is a poison. Selling it is tantamount to murder. Banning heroin does not supplant personal responsibility any more than banning murder does.

    Amphipolis (fb9e95)

  44. Amp,

    The huge amount of money our drug enforcement policies generate for groups like al Qaeda run counter to America’s “general welfare” and should be taken into account when setting our drug enforcement policies.

    alphie (99bc18)

  45. Well, Amphipolis, like I said above, I think a lot of people would be behind legalizing (or at least de-criminalizing) something innocuous like weed while keeping strictures on things like heroin, and particularly meth. The Hunter Thompson approach was really more by the way of a joke since nobody would do it since nobody (as you point out) could make any money off of it…well or there would be immediate lobbying so that (more) people could make money off of it.

    Also like I said before, perhaps the approach that the government is taking needs to be changed since it doesn;t seem to work too well.

    I am glad you kicked whatever you did. I am curious, how did you do it? Was it a rehab program or was it because the government seized your house and property…forever…and then threw you into prison for a 10 year mandatory minimum? Or some other method?

    EdWood (67fec1)

  46. Amphipolis:

    if you don’t think drug companies will actively promote their products you are crazy.

    Stopping the drug war does not necessarily mean total legalization of all drugs to be sold at the 7-11 to all people of all ages. Many drug policy reformers advocate a “prescription-only” basis for the harder drugs and less restrictive regimes for the marijuana etc. Many reformers also believe that advertising should be banned for even softer drugs (personally, I am somewhat sympathetic to the idea of banning all advertising, especially for prescription drugs). Moving on.

    Heroin is a poison. Selling it is tantamount to murder. Banning heroin does not supplant personal responsibility any more than banning murder does.

    This is unbelievably ignorant. Heroin is a legal prescription drug in the UK (called diamorphine) for the simple reason that it is basically a more potent form of morphine. In the brain heroin is hydrolyzed (taking off the two acetyl groups) back to morphine, thus making it a prodrug. It is no more dangerous than morphine, and the side effects, aside from the risk of overdose, are minimal (constipation). It is, however highly addictive and nearly impossible to stop. By far the biggest dangers with doing heroin, or indeed any drug, are: the risk of poisoning from some adulterant from god-knows where, the risk of overdose from over-pure stuff (Janis Joplin), and (specifically for intravenous drugs), the risk of HIV from needle-sharing.

    But it’s not some sort of magic death juice that causes instant brain hemorrhaging. The demonization of drugs in this country is one of the primary reasons policymakers can get away with this continued drug war, but it’s been known for years that this sort of ridiculous exaggeration is false for years. Studies have shown that the health problems of addicts cannot be separated from their poor nutrition, etc. In fact, some have been seen to live quite healthy lives doing tremendous amounts of morphine daily. Don’t listen to the ONCDP.

    All drugs have effects, good and bad, and one of the main consequences of this demonization by the government has been a belief amongst much of the youth in the US that, if wild-eyed assertions about marijuana are true, then everything else the government says about drugs must be false as well. It’s past time to stop deliberately distorting the facts with regards drugs.

    Russell (a32796)

  47. I’m a libertarian fundamentally, but as for the War on (some) Drugs, I’m a Constitutionalist. Drug policy is NOT a federal issue. No where in the Constitution does it give Congress rights over drug policy, this is left to the States. The War on (some) Drugs is a State’s Rights issue. Let the States decide for themselves whether they want to allow “illegal” drugs to be available to its citizens. And if you think of arguing the Commerce Clause, don’t even bother. The Commerce Clause was intended to prevent one State from taxing another State’s goods, or making it a crime for a citizen to cross the border and buy goods from another State, and similar such policy a State may enact to protect its businesses. Using this argument clearly shows either ignorance or disrespect of the Constitution and Original Intent. Give the States back their Rights!

    That’s my opinion, and I’m stickin’ to it,
    Sean

    Ron Paul 2008
    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

    Sean (386488)

  48. Read The devils picnic by Taras Grescoe. The Epilouge is really good.

    EdWood (85e1ab)

  49. EdWood:

    I agree somewhat with your comments about weed. My point is that enforcement is necessary, even if we debate some of the particulars. I didn’t kick anything – when I said it was me, I meant the comment.

    Russell:

    Thanks for the info about herion, etc. Addiction is the issue. To have people sell it like candy would be murder.

    Amphipolis (fb9e95)

  50. Amphipolis,

    What about the date rape drug? I forgot about that. I imagine that would sell.

    What do you mean “would”? It already does.

    Heroin is a poison. Selling it is tantamount to murder.

    It’s very closely related to Oxycontin, which we manage to control fairly well, through legal sales.

    The thing is, prohibition simply doesn’t work. If it did, that would be great. But it doesn’t. Which is why heroin has been resurgent despite being illegal.

    Pablo (99243e)

  51. EdWood:
    I suppose you don’t believe foreign nations are promoting the drug trade in the USA?

    The drug trade has been a direct source of revenue for various terrorist groups and states for decades. The failure to prosecute the war ondrugs in a serious manner is akin to the methods the government used during prohibition. The failure to interdict the borders or use draconian methods insured organized crime became a real power in the USA.

    Drugs have corrupted every sector of the nation. To those of you who scoff how many of you know an addict, not drug user, someone who is a non functional user? I am shocked when someone asked me that I could count three people I know who ruined their life and their families, professionals all. I won’t even discuss the kids who are destroying their brain cells now and will only realize the consequences in 20 years.

    China eliminated its drug problems. Now the other thing we could do is legitimize drugs. This would clean out our gene pools in about twenty years as long as we are prepared to deny treatment for those who are victims of the epidemic of AIDs and other drug related diseases that result.

    But I am sure the losers here will tell us that it isn’t humane to do that. Tell me why not executing drug dealers and users isn’t humane? Exactly what cost should society tolerate for those who are so irresponsible they will lay waste to everything and everyone they come in contact with? Why should this be tolerated?

    Do you wish more people to wind up with the brains of Alpo?

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  52. Thomas Jackson, with respect to #52: perhaps it’s just the circles I run in, but the overwhelming majority of drug users I know are highly paid, technical people, many of them with families.

    The functioning drug users I know *vastly* outnumber the non-functional users I know.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  53. Patterico, the study itself wouldn’t bother me, nor would it bother liberals because an increasing understanding of the social dynamics underlying welfare and drug abuse/use is helpful to everybody.

    But you can’t stop it as such without stopping welfare.

    What I would propose is what I has worked in my province, British Columbia, to trim our welfare rolls by about half.

    A new government took over from the previous social government and instituted reforms modeled after Clinton’s welfare reforms, but fairer and a bit better thought out.

    Fairer: Instead of two years maximum, it’s two years of welfare maximum every five years. I think this makes sense because it allows for the case of someone who has a life crisis (like I did early where I was — literally and I could explain, which I’m not — forced to go on welfare as a youth still in my teenage years) and still let them have access to assistance if they need it during an entirely different period of their life.

    Welfare can be soul-destroying, absolutely, but not always. In any event, John Major was on the dole when he was younger and he turned out okay. Not arguing one person has a right to another’s property, but I also think some social programs, with adequate limits, can be more helpful for society than not.

    Two, a waiting period (three weeks in my province’s case) where the recipient MUST look for work and this has to be verified, even if there’s a cost for the government in doing so.

    No look for work, no welfare money unless a person is truly physically disabled or mentally unable to work (severe depression, schizophrenia, a grave intellectual disability).

    Secret: Since three weeks of looking for work every workday not limited to any particular job or wage range will net most people a job, 80% of the reduction in the welfare rolls occur here.

    There were other reforms and I can’t remember them all; I’m sure it’s a matter of public record. My point overall is it’s better to focus on welfare reforms as such to reduce the rolls than trying to stop recipients from doing drugs.

    Recipients should stop doing drugs, but so should Brittany Spears. It’s a tough problem. Hard for a social worker to crack on his/her own. Some try anyway and God bless ’em.

    Making sure someone has looked for work before giving them access to benefits is easier to do and more effective.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  54. * previous socialist government

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  55. Thomas Jackson, If you read my above posts then you would know that I also know people who have destroyed themselves with drugs. That was one of my points, I think almost everyone knows someone like that. Not TV or movie people but real people. That must fuel the justified anger in your post.
    I guess you are answering my question above (what will minimize human misery, drug war policy or drug legal policy, or some smarter mix?) by saying that society should not tolerate any human misery, but remove that misery surgically via mass executions of drug dealers like China did in the 80’s. I suppose that would temporarily get rid of all the drug users/dealers on welfare too and let us use tax dollars for potentially productive citizens.
    I don’t believe that an “execute them all” scheme (besides being immoral) would ever work. Why not? For all the same reasons (extensively listed above by lots of others) that our war on drugs isn’t working. Even the Taliban with all their religious fervor couldn’t stop their own drug trade, and they gave the death penalty for growing and selling opium poppies. I just flat out don’t believe that China has ended its drug problem with all of its executions either.
    If we executed people for dealing drugs then we would be killing a lot of people, and there would be a lot of mistaken executions because our legal system makes mistakes. Would you yourself be willing to be mistakenly executed to stop the drug trade? Would you be willing for your own children or family to risk being mistakenly executed? I would not.

    EdWood (bb12ec)

  56. Perhaps some Libertarian could explain how can an individual jacked up on meth could possibly act responsible?

    This is the problem with Libertarian philosophy, it assumes that all individuals are capable of behaving responsibly.

    syn (7faf4d)

  57. Pablo:
    The thing is, prohibition simply doesn’t work. If it did, that would be great. But it doesn’t. Which is why heroin has been resurgent despite being illegal.

    I don’t see how making it legal would be better. Oxycontin is controlled and there are still problems. The control of oxycontin is an enforcement issue and always will be.

    I don’t have a problem with heroin being used under the direction of physicians. I have a big problem with it being sold like candy. That would be murder. If we are not going to allow it to be sold without restrictions (because that is insane), then we are going to have an imperfect enforcement issue.

    Amphipolis (fb9e95)

  58. Here’s an easy do-it-yourself test. Go to the neighborhood where it’s easy to buy drugs and to the neighborhood where it isn’t and see in which one you would like to live (or are more likely to remain alive).

    nk (7d4710)

  59. Heroin is no problem. After all, other than it being highly addictive it’s fine.

    Amphipolis (fb9e95)

  60. syn and other safety for liberty folks,

    Everyone is CAPABLE of being responsible, some choose not to be. I would probably argue that taking meth itself is irresponsible, but certainly not criminal. A poor but effective argument is to say that drugs cause crime. The reality is that prohibition causes crime. Take a look: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/Modifiedmurderchart.gif. And for those that say drugs causes more damage than its prohibition, how about this? http://www.cato.org/raidmap/.

    Most everyone seems to miss the real fundamental argument, this is a State’s Rights issue. The Constitution gives NO authority to Congress to regulate these matters. Give States back their Rights!

    Sean

    Ron Paul 2008
    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

    Sean (9dc0c4)

  61. getting back to the base of the thread…as a Federal Employee I am tested annually. I fail and my job is at risk. Because of my productive status in society (And the fact that RNs are harde and harder to come by) I get to rehab myself before I lose my lic and job.
    Now, since that average GA reciepient is not a productive member of society and, the only real remidiation he/she has at their disposal is to stop using drugs, why shouldn’t we test all of those on the welfare rolls.Why not cut off the funds if they pop positive?

    paul from fl (7da085)


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