Jon Carroll speaks sensibly about the War on Some Drugs again.
He starts off with a riff on The Law of Unintended Consequences, and then quotes a story from the New York Times: “The drop in home-cooked methamphetamine has been met by a new flood of crystal methamphetamine coming largely from Mexico. Sometimes called ice, crystal methamphetamine is far purer, and therefore even more highly addictive, than powdered home-cooked methamphetamine….”
…as a friend of mine (who ran screaming from the room when I asked if I could use his name) said: “Gee, here I thought making it impossible to get decongestant would get rid of the meth problem, just like making it impossible to get effective cough syrup eliminated opiate addiction.”
Drug laws are now so entirely governed by fear that no one stops to consider the reason for the laws. It seems that everyone now has a story about a dying relative who was denied pain medication because the care providers were afraid that the person would become addicted. The person is dying! Who cares if the patient goes to the grave with a tiny opium habit? It’s not as if you have to pee into a cup to get into heaven.
Later: “…it’s history and money that are determining our drug policy,” then adds, “…it’s not really a policy at all — it’s a set of superstitions. The Drug Enforcement Administration policy boards are run by witch doctors. Almost everyone in medicine and almost everyone in law enforcement would agree with what I’m saying, but the penalties for public dissent are swift and harsh.”
As always, I encourage you to read the whole column. And for that matter, I encourage you to read him every weekday in the SF Chronicle or on The Gate. He’s smart, incisive, funny, and soulful, and he loves cats.