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September 2007
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Three must-read articles…

“bullet” Whenever Maia Szalavitz has a new article about the drug war, I have come to expect brilliance, and today’s is no exception: Increasing Agony, Not Fighting Addiction

Think about it: we have the ability to ease the pain of the dying, even when we can’t treat their illnesses or injuries, for pennies a day. But we don’t do so — in fact, we directly prohibit them from getting these medicines — because we are afraid that either we will addict the dying or that addicts will somehow get access to this medicine somewhere along the supply line.
What kind of insanity is this? If you are dying, what does it matter if you are physically dependent on a drug? What does it matter, even, if you develop a compulsive desire for more of it? And why should people who live with painful conditions that will not kill them suffer, either, for that matter? We are so misguided in our thinking about addiction that we prefer people to live and die in unspeakable agony rather than risk them having a bit of extra euphoria!

“bullet” I’ve been a big fan of LEAP’s Jack Cole, so this feature on him in the Guardian Unlimited was a delightful read: Badge of honour by Alexandra Topping

Cole’s voice drops: “The undercover cop would stand watching the guys file past so they would know you had evidence against them, and wouldn’t bother pleading not guilty.” But when the good Samaritan walked by, he looked Cole in the eye and said: “Man, I was just trying to be your friend.” Cole’s voice falters. “I realised then that we were sending the wrong people to jail, and it had to stop. How many of those young folks would have gone on to have a perfectly productive life had I not intervened?

“bullet” The third piece of reading was in the Politico, and I hadn’t noticed the byline before reading it. I was really impressed with the piece and had to know… Of course, it was Radley Balko: Federalism should extend to marijuana raids

It‰s difficult to understand how the same party that (correctly, in my view) argues that the federal government has no business telling the states how they should regulate their businesses, set their speed limits, keep their air and water free of pollution or regulate the sale of firearms within their borders can at the same time feel that the federal government can and should tell states that they aren‰t allowed to let sick people obtain relief wherever they might find it.

Enjoy.

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