Tag: heroin

Legalizing All Drugs is Morally and Practically Beneficial

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

Since the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the War on Drugs has destroyed countless lives. This campaign often oversteps constitutional restrictions to searches and seizures without warrants or probable cause. Worse than this, however, is the pain it inflicts upon families. For mere use of an illicit substance, the state takes people away from their loved ones.

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Online Drug Markets: A Better Alternative to the Current Black Market

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Ross Ulbricht has recently joined Twitter. Social Media users everywhere are now able to hear words right out of the Dread Pirate Roberts’s mouth. It is a wonderful but saddening thing. He can still spread encouragement in all of our agoristic activities, yet his continued imprisonment is a constant reminder of how broken our justice system is. Ross Ulbricht is a pioneering figure, showing what can be done with technology to resist the power of the state by running an online drug market.

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San Francisco Is Wiping Out A TON Of Weed Arrests

By Nick Hamilton | California

If you haven’t already heard, California legalized the use of marijuana at the beginning of the year.

The case and verdict have been reported time and time again. Something less reported, however, may prove equally important. Recently in San Francisco, District Attorney George Gascon announced that nearly 5,000 marijuana-related felony convictions will be reviewed, and the convicts will be re-sentenced.

The best part? The state will likely fully dismiss over 3,000 misdemeanor convictions.

Proposition 64, which legalized the drug in the State of California, states that people can possess six plants and one ounce of the substance. In San Francisco, this proposition had a 75% citizen approval rate. This was the highest of any county in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Let’s analyze this for a second: San Francisco is reviewing 8,000 cases of marijuana-related crimes. Also, they will likely throw out around 3,000 of them. In fact, it took 23 petitions to the city of San Francisco to act on this measure. Thus, each petition written will ultimately lead to the clearing of over 100 records.

Attorney Gascon spoke out towards the Department of Justice recently in regards to marijuana classification. They recently announced a desire to schedule marijuana as a class I narcotic, equal to heroin and above cocaine. (Quote from NPR)

“Every high school kid knows that that is B.S., right? But we continue to insist almost like marijuana is almost an existential threat. It’s hypocritical. It doesn’t really follow the reality of our country and it takes from the credibility of the entire criminal justice system.”

San Francisco dismissing these convictions basically says one thing to the Department of Justice. Essentially, it reaffirms the belief that federal prohibition on marijuana is an awful thing for this country. Thus, in order to further the principles of freedom, it’s about time to stop being so harsh on it.

(Image from capoliticalreview.com)

The Root of America’s Drug Problem

By Mason Mohon | USA

Drugs are a critical issue in contemporary American society. Last month the drug problem in America made headlines once again with Trump’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a health emergency. Drugs are a serious issue, and it is widely known and accepted within libertarian circles that the war on drugs is a complete failure, yet many, including those libertarians, fail to see the heart of the issue, which is an addiction to dangerous substances.

There is a widely held assumption that drug addiction is the sole result of chemical hooks within drugs like heroin or morphine. People go under a few times, and boom, they’re addicted. Many assume that one who would take heroin 20 times over the course of 20 days would be heavily addicted by the 21st day, but that is not always the case. Chemical hooks are not the sole cause of addiction, and alone they are not a substantial enough to cause a drug addiction. Many people who suffer from substantial injuries are met with heavy sedatives for the reduction of pain, which are often more pure versions of the same dulling and numbing drugs one can purchase from dealers in back alleys.

This is a misconception. Addiction to drugs is overwhelmingly misunderstood, which is the reason so many have failed to suggest a proper antidote. In the 70’s, a few experiments were conducted that consisted of rats in cages that were offered two options: cocaine or heroin water, and regular, undrugged water. An overwhelming majority of the rats (nearly 100%) drank the drugged water until death. What should be taken from this seems obvious: humans, like rats, will drug themselves til overdose if the option presents itself. Some saw a very clear issue in this experiment, one of which was Psychology professor Bruce Alexander.

Bruce K. Alexander was a Canadian professor of psychology who was responsible for the Rat Park Study, which was conducted in the late 70’s and released in 1981. The issue he saw with the previous rat experiment was that the rat was alone, and its only options in its entire existence were to drink water or drug water. Alexander conducted another experiment, where he constructed a park for rats. This park included many activities for rats, which included food, friends, tubes to run through, and just about anything else to provide rats with a functioning social environment. Within this park was also the jug of water containing the drugs, which happened to go untouched. The conclusion drawn was that the opposite to addiction to drugs is not sobriety, but rather a connection to the world around the rats. The rat friends played a critical role in keeping them from the drugs, and this connection seems to be something our society is missing.

The experiment, though, has received criticism, particularly from UCLA and California State University Lecturer and Psychology Ph.D. Adi Jaffe. He wrote in Psychology Today that human addiction cannot find a solution from this situation, for we do not have some sort of director to create a utopian park where we can indulge ourselves to our heart’s desire without the need of drugs. Along with that fact, humans are profoundly more complex than rats and have a lot more going on. Jaffe is right, we do not have a solution within this study, but we can definitely identify a problem: a lack of inter-human connectivity.

Moreover, this experiment was not solely conducted on rats. The same experiment seemed to manifest itself in humans even earlier in the 70’s. That is, during the Vietnam War. Investigation during the war’s 16th year, 1971, lead the U.S. government and public to discover that 20% of current servicemen within the war were addicted to heroin, while 40% of troops had at least tried it. Along with heroin, other drugs were rampant. Post World War 2 research was light in the realm of the effects of drugs on a soldier’s performance, yet the U.S. government happily provided the military with drugs anyway. The suggested amount was 20 mg of dextroamphetamine for 48 hours of combat readiness, but that was barely followed, and the soldiers would be handed drugs like children being handed candy on Halloween night. A vast array of drugs were employed for these soldiers, leading the Vietnam War to be considered one of, if not the first pharmacological war.

The number of heroin users in the military force was expectedly alarming, and Nixon hastily declared the war on drugs to prevent drug use at home. When the now-veterans returned home, though, the results were absolutely astounding. One study, in particular, reported that when the soldiers returned to the United States, 95% of the veterans were able to eliminate the addiction completely almost overnight. This was not the result of Nixon’s drug war, though, because the regular heroin addiction train remained on track, with a 90% post-rehab relapse rate continuing to exist.

This phenomenon was because of the phenomenal environmental change, from one of the most brutal warscapes America has ever taken part in, back to the U.S.A. where the soldiers could spend time with friends and family once again. This was just like the case with the rats, except for the fact that the rats had no war to fight. The rats and soldiers alike bent towards drug addiction when put into a negative or lacking environment, but when surrounded with general positivity (a return home to friends) they were not subject to the same issues of addiction.

The root of addiction is not the drug itself, full of “chemical hooks” with minor effect. It is much larger; it is a lack of connectivity between humans. Drug addiction itself is not a problem, but rather, the problem is the distancing of humans from one another, perpetuated by a technological revolution allowing humans to “connect” across the cloud without connecting the way we have been biologically engineered to. Humans don’t love life, so they try to escape through things like drugs, pornography, binge watching of television, or overeating. These are all the consequences of a disconnected society. The state cannot force us to connect, but it sure is not helping that they continue to use the force of law against addicts while seeming to ignore the root cause of the problem itself.

The problem is not a simple one that can be solved by a statist’s government or an anarchist’s spontaneous order. It is one that is going to need to be solved by increasing human to human interaction in your own life, rather than the increasing isolation of the human in today’s world.

The Illegal War on Drugs

By Eric Lee | USA

Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, the federal government has expanded exponentially. Voter apathy, the misguided good intentions of many, and the malicious lust for power of a select few have combined to create a massive, labyrinthine bureaucracy that constantly interferes with the lives of the citizens whose rights it is entrusted with defending. Symptomatic of this trend is the War on Drugs, a stellar example of the federal government’s unconstitutional expansion and abuse of power. Acting of its own volition, the federal government has inverted the Constitution and given itself the power to decide what substances can be possessed by the individual, and in its zeal to protect Americans from their own questionable decisions, has stomped on the rights of the individual. In theory and in practice, the war on drugs is unconstitutional, and it is well past time for this illegal crusade against certain substances to cease.

The regulation of controlled substances within state boundaries is well outside the realm of federal authority. Congress is given very specific powers, and the regulation of various substances is not one of those powers. This is left up to the states, as per the Tenth Amendment’s requirement that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people” (Constitution of the United States). According to Laurence M. Vance of New American, since Congress is not authorized to regulate such matters, it would take a constitutional amendment to ban drugs such as heroin, marijuana, or cocaine, just as a constitutional amendment had to be ratified to ban alcohol and enact Prohibition, a horrific failure in its own right (Vance 5). However, in Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Supreme Court held that since Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, it also has the power to regulate anything that might affect interstate commerce. As a result, it declared that the DEA’s destruction of privately grown marijuana plants, earmarked for personal medical use and legal under California state law, was constitutional. The fact that the small-scale cultivation of plants is neither interstate nor commerce, nor has any effect on interstate commerce, was seen as inconsequential (Gonzales). The idea that there can be blanket bans on naturally growing plants under the guise of regulating commerce is ridiculous. By this logic, Congress could ban the interstate transport of apple juice, and send federal agents out to destroy the nation’s apple trees in pursuit of its goal. In his dissent, Justice Thomas saw the dangerous folly of the ruling, reasoning that “if Congress can regulate [marijuana cultivation] under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything- and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers” (Gonzales). Despite the preposterous legalese that the government uses to shroud its excesses, the federal government never had and never will have the authority to ban drugs, barring a future constitutional amendment.

Even if we pretend that the federal government had the authority to launch a war on drugs, it is undeniable that civil liberties have been violated many times in pursuit of its goals. In drug cases, the Fourth Amendment has been shredded. Probable cause is no longer necessary to obtain a warrant, and evidence from searches undergone without a proper warrant has been used in court. According to Judge Robert W. Sweet, “these holdings have been characterized as ‘the drug exception to the Fourth Amendment.’” The idea that the government can kick down your door based on the “good faith” of a police officer or “anonymous tips and tips from informants known to be corrupt and unreliable” and then use that evidence in court against you is a “debasement of the rule of law” (Buckley et al. 15-16). Thanks to a drug-related case, the Supreme Court now views probable cause as “a fluid concept- turning on the assessment of probabilities in particular factual contexts–not readily, or even usefully, reduced to a neat set of legal rules” (Illinois v. Gates). This standard is not one conducive to the defense of privacy rights. It leaves much up to interpretation, and there will inevitably be certain judges that stretch the “fluid concept” of probable cause to ridiculous and disturbing levels. Of course, illegal invasions of privacy are the only way to realistically restrict drug use, as few people are going to call the police to inform them of a nearby consensual sale or the smell of burning marijuana. As Ethan A. Nadelmann, former professor of political science at Princeton University, puts it, no endeavor meant to keep people from exercising their right to self-determination “can succeed so long as we remain a free society, bound by our Constitution” (Buckley et al. 5). Americans must choose between keeping their constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure or preventing their neighbor from smoking a joint, and it is fairly clear which road we should go down. In recent years, the war on drugs has been the primary catalyst in the destruction of our Fourth Amendment rights, and it is time for the erosion to stop.

The federal war on drugs is quite possibly the greatest attack on constitutional law in the history of the United States. The federal government has taken it upon itself to hunt down and punish Americans for ingesting substances into their own bodies, and has trampled over the rights of everyone in their zest to capture a select view. If Americans are to preserve the remaining scraps of federalism and privacy rights, they must reverse this trend of ever-increasing federal power and ever-more-lax restrictions on search and seizure. The American people are walking down the road to the gallows of the Constitution and the death of limited government, and it is imperative that we turn down a different path before we lose other fundamental rights.

Works Cited
Buckley Jr., Wm. F., and Others. “The War on Drugs Is Lost.” National Review 1996 feb: 34-48. Web. 4 Sept. 2017.
“The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription.” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web.
“GONZALES v. RAICH.” Web. 4 Sept. 2017.
“ILLINOIS v. GATES ET UX.” Web. 4 Sept. 2017.
Vance, Laurence M. “The Other Unconstitutional War.” New American 2011 nov: 20-24. Web. 4 Sept. 2017.