"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Alcohol v. Heroin

Before I get to the meat of this article, I want to make it very clear that I do not promote the use of any mind-altering, possible addictive, possible dangerous drug, alcohol included and the laws to prevent minors from having access to such drugs are good and valid, as minors do not have full adult rights. But adults, having full adult rights, have the right to use or abuse any drug they wish just so long as they do not violate the rights of others in so doing. (But for the so-called war on drugs, few if any of "the rights of others" would be violated by people merely using any of the presently illegal drugs.)

Everyone knows that heroin is really bad stuff, right? So I would like to show you a couple of examples of how heroin and alcohol can affect both the user and innocent others.

It is medically verified that if you take a hardcore heroin addict, one who is using large amounts of his drug every day, and you lock him up and he can't get his heroin, he will go through withdrawals. He will feel like he is going to die, but he won't. If you take a hardcore alcoholic, one who is legally drunk every day, for most of the day, and lock him up and he can't get his alcohol, he will go through withdrawals. He will feel like he is going to die and quite possibly could. A heavy-duty alcoholic, who tries to quit "cold turkey" or who is forced to do so, can and quite often will go into convulsions and die. This fact is, as I said, medically proven. So, in this respect, alcohol is a worse drug than heroin.

If a female heroin addict gets pregnant and continues her heroin use, her baby can, and probably will, be born as a heroin addict and go through withdrawals. But it will get over them and, if given proper nurturing and nutrition, will go on to live a healthy life. If a female alcoholic gets pregnant and continues to abuse alcohol her baby can, and probably will, be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and it will never get over that. All of its life it will be emotionally and intellectually challenged, no matter how much good nurturing and nutrition it gets. So, once again, we see that alcohol, in this respect, is worse than heroin.

If one of the Constitutionally legitimate purposes of our government is to enforce certain moral codes and to prevent adults from harming themselves with drug use, then why isn't the government waging a "war on alcohol" as it did in the 1920's? From the two examples above you can clearly see that alcohol is a worse drug than heroin. Further, just in deaths per year from the use or abuse of certain drugs, shows that heroin is not nearly as bad as alcohol. There are between 7,000 and 8,000 deaths per year related to heroin. There are between 85,000 and 100,000 alcohol related deaths per year. So, in respect to deaths per year, alcohol is 10 times worse. But it should be pointed out that up to 45% of all heroin overdose deaths are actually caused by using alcohol along with the heroin. (Another 30% are caused by using another central nervous system depressant, besides alcohol, with the heroin. Pure heroin use overdose deaths are rare.)

Here is another interesting fact about heroin.
Unlike alcohol or tobacco, heroin causes no ongoing toxicity to the tissues or organs of the body. Apart from causing some constipation, it appears to have no side effects in most who take it. When administered safely, its use may be consistent with a long and productive life. The principal harm comes from the risk of overdose, problems with injecting, drug impurities and adverse legal or financial consequences.

That quote was taken from Drug War Facts at paragraph 20.

I emphatically disagree with the political principle that the government is legitimately, by the powers granted to it in the U.S. Constitution, our moral master and has the legitimate power to stop people from harming themselves by using addictive and dangerous drugs. But, if that was a fact, then it would only be logical for the government to stamp out the pernicious and much more harmful practise of making, selling, and using alcoholic beverages rather than heroin. An analogy is that a person has a broken thumb (heroin) and a broken leg with the bone sticking out through the skin (alcohol) but the government all but ignores the broken leg in order to attempt to fix the broken thumb.

Of course, it all makes sense if you understand that I am talking about logic, and that the government--the people running it--are anything but logical. I have hope, however, that enough politicians will, one day, pull their heads out of where the sun doesn't shine and do the right thing. It's a very small hope, but a hope none-the-less.

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