Crime

At 3 AM on Sunday morning, Carlos Andrade 22, stepped outside of the family’s Brooklyn home to smoke a cigarette with his father Joseph Andrade, 44. An hour later both he and dad were dead from a heroin/fentanyl overdose. They are mourned by their family and friends, but to everyone else, they are just two more names in the list of 60-something thousand that will die of an overdose this year.

It’s hard to imagine that anything about Trump’s declaration of a ‘public healthcare emergency’ in the face of the opioid crisis will do anything to prevent thousands of similar deaths in the future.

For a start, Trump stopped short of declaring a ‘national emergency’ — which would have freed up money to tackle the issue. What he did propose was useless pablum, long on law and order and short on cure.

Nixon declared a ‘War on Drugs’ in 1970. Almost half a century — and trillions of dollars later — the country is ravaged by drug deaths. So that didn’t work.

While Trump paid lip service to “use every appropriate emergency authority” to fight the crisis – and solemnly declaring “Ending the epidemic will require mobilization of government, local communities, and private organizations. It will require the resolve of our entire country” — his most substantive proposals involved a wall and cracking down on drug gangs.

That’s useless. Treating addiction as a criminal justice matter is a waste of effort. As is spending any time and money on ‘tackling’ the cannabis ‘problem’. Pot doesn’t kill people. And despite Jeff Sessions’ good old boy thinking plenty of good people consume it — including several Presidents.

Drug use is driven by demand — not supply. You could lock up every single person dealing drugs today and tomorrow there would be a new set of dealers. Walls are simply things to go under, over or around. Drugs are even found in maximum security prisons.

Why? Because addicts are dedicated to finding drugs. Users, no matter how broke, find the money to pay for their habit. And where people want to buy something, other people will sell it to them. Supplying demand is the foundation of the American economy, for chrissakes.

Let’s learn a lesson from the campaign against tobacco — we didn’t make cigarettes illegal, but smoking rates are way down. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it is a better guide to addressing addiction than Prohibition is.

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Trump Declares a National Opioid Emergency. Now What?

August 10, 2017

Donald Trump declared opioids a national health emergency – but did so two days after his Secretary of HHS said that it was premature to do so. An administration about-face which raises questions about Trump’s sincerity – if Trump’s lack of follow through on everything wasn’t already enough to cause doubt. Add in the fact that […]

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Why Are We Addicted to Treating Addiction as a Crime?

March 20, 2017

What would be the best way to solve addiction in this country? You don’t know the answer? Or do you have the wrong answer? You are not alone. The architects of the “War on Drugs” are equally ignorant. A century ago we decided that drug addiction is a crime. Which is an odd – and unique […]

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The FIFA Scandal Shows that Loosening Financial Regulation Is A Gift to Bankers.

May 30, 2015

“A criminal remains a criminal whether he uses a convict’s suit or a monarch’s crown.” ― Victor Hugo It is said that the only things we can be sure of are death and taxes – let’s add cheating, and take a good look at taxes. Almost every week some business pleads ‘no contest’ to some […]

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For Bigotry to Flourish, Its Victims Must Be Stripped of their Humanity

May 16, 2015

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee – ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Racism, xenophobia, and other bigotry are easy when you do not see people as individuals – but only as part of a […]

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Really? 5.13.15 – Denominals; Pot, Evolution & the Duggars; Iowa; Books & Bombers.

May 12, 2015

“People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction” ― Umberto Eco. A ‘denominal’ is a verb that has been formed from a noun. This headline has an example: “Idaho teacher wishes someone would ‘Ray Rice’ non-Mormon who wants to be school president.” She has cleverly taken the […]

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Will Cell Phones Change Police Culture?

April 11, 2015

“Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence” ― John Adams. The Walter Scott shooting may turn out to be a watershed moment in American policing. Unlike the Michael Brown killing, there is video. And unlike […]

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For-Profit Punishment. Making Money From Misery.

March 26, 2015

“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men” ― George Bernard Shaw One of the best-known – and most misunderstood – legal admonishments in the Bible is Matthew 5:38 “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Law and order types take […]

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Really? – 2.17.15. – Ignorance shouldn’t be contagious; Is money drowning politics?; Heroin’s new geography; Dr. Strangelove resurfaces in Arkansas.

February 16, 2015

Ignorance is a celebration. Anti-intellectualism is a badge worn by conservatives with pride. How many politicos do we need to hear say “I’m not a scientist” without consulting a scientist, before we suspect that ignorance is their shield? Kanye West has added his voice. I do not know West’s politics, but he is a soul mate […]

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