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.


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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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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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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The Stupidity of Supply-Siders.

October 14, 2014

“When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is usually the reputation of the business that remains intact.” – Warren Buffet. Life is full of transactions between those who have stuff – and those who want stuff. In economic terms, deals are struck between suppliers and […]

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Really? 7.7.14 It’s only bad when Obama does it; Perry ignores Jesus; Confused thinking on drugs; Is gluten-free baloney?

July 7, 2014

Republicans have short memories. John Boehner explains that the House will sue Obama for overstepping his bounds by taking executive actions. Never mind that Reagan did it, Bush I did it, Clinton did it and Bush II did it, when Obama does it it’s too much – why now? What seems illegal is that Democratic […]

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Really – 6.3.14 – Heroin in Louisiana; Pot in Colorado; Catholic Odium; A GOPer Cheats; Ted Cruz is a Poodle.

June 3, 2014

Louisiana misses an opportunity to address heroin use. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) signed a bill that increases maximum and minimum penalties for heroin dealing – in reaction to an increase in heroin use in the Pelican State. No doubt the law and order types feel “mission accomplished”. But if the aim is to reduce heroin […]

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Really? 5.7.14 – Sex and God; The House Vetoes the Fifth; The War on Drugs

May 7, 2014

Sex and the single Christian. A Christian columnist, Eric Metaxas, excoriates unmarried Christians for having sex. He goes as far as saying that while these Jezebels and Satyrs may profess to be Christian they are, in their dark hearts, practicing Atheists. Why is he, and his fellow travelers, obsessed with sex? It borders on psychosis. In […]

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