In case I skip this topic, I am almost entirely against “the drug war,” as understood generally.
Before further comment, I’d like to point out that I have never even smoked marijuana, much less injected anything or snorted. I don’t have to worry about someone coming out of the woodwork alleging that I secretly used drugs – it’s never happened. In the interest of fairness, I had wanted to try marijuana, but couldn’t find the right circumstances. The potential risk of being tested after trying it were too great for me. I doubt that my employer would believe that I had done it just once to see what all the fuss was about. While it would be true, people who use drugs once are lumped together with hardcore users.
Many of our freedoms have been eroded by pushing them under the banner of drug eradication. Asset forfeiture is a great example of this type of lunacy. Imprisoning such a large potion of our population is another.
For addicts, focus and money should be on treatment, not punitive consequences, including jail.
Jailing someone for no “crime” other than using a banned substance serves no societal good, other than to condition the criminal mindset, build more jails, etc. Again, I am NOT advocating no consequences for drug-related crimes, just not for the drugs themselves. I’ve got the same mentality for gun-related crime, terror-related crime, etc – they are all crimes, regardless of their associations. Crimes should be judged based on their harm to other people.
Yes, we should pay for the treatment. All of it. To argue that we can’t or shouldn’t denies the cost we are supporting now. It’s ridiculous.
If a person is using an illegal substance (whatever that is) and there are no substantial consequences to other people, we need to stay out of their business. However, if you are driving and impaired, the legal consequences should be equal to those of alcohol, which I’m not too sympathetic toward.
I can understand the need for many people to want to punish drug users. But it serves no greater good. Not everyone who wants punishment for drug users is motivated out of self-righteous – but some are.
If your drug habit is leading you to further crime, yes you should be held accountable for the crime independently of the drugs. And treated. But drug use shouldn’t be permitted as a method to reduce your accountability.
And I can be quite often wrong.