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Your child is dead. Now, take a moment and learn something.

Pennsylvania is having a debate on medical marijuana in the legislature. Good for them.

The heart-wrenching stories came from both sides.

Huh? Both sides?

How is that possible? Was there a pharmaceutical manufacturer who lost income in California due to medical marijuana and wasn’t able to buy a new car?

I don’t get it. How do you have a heart-wrenching story from opponents of medical marijuana?

Sharon Smith of Mechanicsburg lost her 18-year-old daughter to a heroin overdose in 1998. She said the state should not legislate medical policy decisions.

Ah, I see. Let’s pass by the delicious irony of someone who supports continued laws preventing doctors from practicing medicine claiming that the state “should not legislate medical policy decisions.”

It is really offensive to me that drug prohibitionists seem to be able to recruit parents of dead kids to campaign against medical marijuana. (Steve Steiner of DAMMMAD is the prime example, but there are many others.)

The worst was when the DEA sponsored a Vigil for Lost Promise that was held on the grounds of the DEA headquarters.

What possible relevance does the death of an 18-year-old girl to a heroin overdose have with regulated medical marijuana? None at all.

When a parent loses a child to a drug overdose, how do they get from there to opposing marijuana (which has never had a fatal overdose)? It seems to me that somebody must lead them there.

The real discussion they need to have is: “What was the role that prohibition played in this tragedy?” After all, it happened within the context of prohibition. “Would things have been different if drugs had been legal and regulated?”

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50 comments to Your child is dead. Now, take a moment and learn something.

  • Hope

    It’s some sort of surreal when people can be made to believe that prohibition is protecting them and not actually putting people in harm’s way far more than decrimininalization, true education, and reasonable regulation would. She might have got medical help in time under a more reasonable system.

    She might have actually known better under a more reasonable, realistic, and truth based system.

    The drugs might have been of a known quality and purity had they been available under a more reasonable system. And there is a very good chance that a healthy eighteen year old might not even have used the drug if it had been such a blooming, dark and crazy, “adventure” of rebellion.

    And of course, illegal heroin use has nothing to do with medical use, or recreational use, of cannabis. Nothing at all… in a sane and rational view of it all. Plenty, though, in a fear mongering, lie ridden, hysterical, authoritarian, irrational view of it all.

  • Chris

    http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/opinion-senate-committee-to-debate-reevaluating-war-on-drugs-r-1259609887

    anyone know when this is happening? I’m not seeing anything on cspan about it yet.

  • Chris, the meeting is happening right now. There’s a webcast here. They’re discussing a number of items, including the commission.

  • Elby

    Maybe she wouldn’t have been doing heroin if she could make billows of cannabis smoke in her house without her parents freaking out as easily should could snort a line of heroin. Or maybe she was thinking that heroin gets out of your system faster than cannabis for drug tests.

  • bobreaze

    Wow for lack of a better statement that is fucked up. Both the parents that are blind and the people that tell them to make those statements are ignorant fools. Oh and just to add a + for medical cannabis it could have helped their daughter overcome some of the symptoms from withdraw if they had been able to treat her.

    Im still having trouble understanding what the parents are thinking. Stating marijuana should not be legal because heroin killed my daughter is ignorant. I cant decide a good example of something equally ignorant but its like saying tylenol should be illegal because my son overdosed on xanax. Hell if we take that route my kid died from drunk driving so driving should be illegal.

  • just me

    LOL Its more like, My kid was killed by a car so bicycles should be illegal

  • bobreaze

    OR my kid died in a fire so elephants they should be illegal. It doesnt have to make since someone died so lets keep something else illegal.

  • bobreaze

    Kinda reminds me of the patriot act ok alot of americans died in 9/11. Lets spy on them all use the info to catch terrorist before it happens again.

  • carly

    I Have been saying for a long time now, we need a real and intellegent discussion about cannabis. America is so in need of rational platforms,we just have to keep educating people and not let up.Dont let the caterpillars get you down.

  • Chris

    Agh, I kept listening into the meeting off and on while doing my homework but didn’t hear anything about the bill. It seems to be over now. Hopefully someone puts it up on youtube.

  • Richard Steeb

    I grieve for all those who died taking substances they would eschew if only Cannabis were as legal as beer.

    These Steve Steiner types need some serious disabuse.

  • ezrydn

    How could an 18-year old girl get ahold of heroin IF NOT for Prohibition??? Under a legal and regulated market, she wouldn’t have access to the drug. Only in a BLACK market is such consumables available to anyone with money, no matter what their ages are. And people are too blind, too stupid, too directed to understand that simple fact!

    They say the “children are our key to the future.” I sure hope so because most of the parents out there today offer absolutely NO HOPE at all!

  • just me

    (Steven Steiner cringes when he hears pundits and others wonder aloud whether Michael Phelps’ use of marijuana is much to do about nothing.
    He gets more than just a bit angry when he hears the calls to legalize marijuana.
    Steiner, founder of the group Dam Mad (Dads and Moms Against Drug Dealers), whose son died of drug overdose, is trying to raise hell–and awareness–about the dangers of legalizing marijuana.
    **Steiner is available for TV, radio or print interviews**
    “I will not let my son’s death be in vain,” says Steiner. “I am committed to turning my grief into action so that others will not have to endure the pain of loss that I must face each and every day.”)

    Well Mr. Steiner! I will not! let my fathers death be in vain either! I also have turned my grief into action! For if it wasnt for prohibition, we may very well could have done research into drugs to fight cancer, of which my father died of! So please spare me your tears!

  • Mike

    Thanks for the post.
    Legalizing Pot for medicinal purposes has been an issue for so many years. From what I’ve read elsewhere there are some great outcomes from use of this drug with sick people.

  • DdC

    Ganja Prohibitionists Torture Americans.
    Lie about pot harming their tikes,
    then send them to the desert to die for crude oil.
    Oh what fossil fools these prohibitionists be.
    Now mothers parade their dead daughters in front of school kids.
    See this is what happens when you shoot up marijuana?
    No this is what happens when you lie about it mom.
    Sharon Smith wants company for her kid, or vengeance?
    Kids might get the wrong attitude about government lies.
    Best drill them early, teach them to lie like their mothers.
    Maybe if Sharon Smith wasn’t so stupid her daughter could have substituted.

    Using Marijuana To Fight Substance Abuse
    Source: United Press International December 03, 2009
    Substituting marijuana for more harmful drugs may be a winning strategy in the fight against substance abuse, a U.S. researchers says. A study, published in the Harm Reduction Journal, of 350 marijuana users indicates 40 percent used marijuana to control their alcohol cravings, 66 percent as a replacement for prescription drugs and 26 percent for other, more potent, illegal drugs.

    Answer to Booze Problems May Lie in Cannabis
    Putting cannabis in place of more harmful drugs may help in winning the fight against substance abuse, say researchers.

    The War on Weed: Marijuana Is Basically Harmless
    The Monumentally Stupid Drug War Is Not
    The war on marijuana is insane; our officials keep sacrificing tax dollars, lives, civil liberties, and their own credibility in this misguided and losing effort.

    Pharmacists, Drug Regulators and AMA to Examine Medical Marijuana
    As pharmacists and drug regulators from across the country convene in Tucson this week for their Winter symposium, they will be discussing medical marijuana, an issue which is headlining the agenda.

    “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin’ up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL,” and he started jumpin’ up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the Sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

  • Mike

    I love the irony of Dads and Moms against Drug Dealers supporting prohibition.

  • Ziggy

    What this feels like to me, is a position that lacks substantial credibility. So much so in fact, that the side of the argument against cannabis has to reach out to heroin to prove their invalid point.

    I’ve heard it said many times, and it’s starting to ring true to me… “If you could find someone who was dying of a cannabis related disease, they’d be paraded around. Since you can’t find one, there’s no parade.”

  • Servetus

    Prohibitionists are all too ready to exploit tragedies to get parents to rally to their side. It was positive-thinking guru Norman Vincent Peale who persuaded entertainer Art Linkletter to go on an anti-drug crusade after Linkletter’s daughter committed suicide, ostensibly from a dose of LSD; this despite the fact that she had taken the LSD years prior to leaping off a ledge.

    I know of another situation in which a local judge’s son died of a heroin overdose. Compared to other judges presiding in the same municipal court, she hands out much tougher sentences to people for dealing marijuana and for other drug violations. Scapegoating cannabis and demonizing all drugs is one way to avoid the uncomfortable self realization that it may have been the judge’s own incompetent parenting that led to her son’s untimely demise. No doubt prohibitionists played a role in her son’s death by rejecting harm reduction policies that might otherwise have protected him despite his drug taking behavior. Yet, this judge would never think of questioning the system. To her, the state can do no wrong.

    Whether it is dead children, crummy public schools, or lousy neighborhoods, drugs get the blame. By prohibiting drugs there is the illusion that something is being done about the problems. And since preventing drug use is impossible, drug criminalization ultimately becomes an excuse to do nothing at all.

  • Detoxer

    I am a registered Libertarian and really believed in liberalizing the drug laws until I opened a medical detox in Florida. Almost everyone of the people who came to us for detox said that they started with marijuana. They progressed to OxyContin–legal heroin and other drugs. I also believe that we have legalized drugs. Almost none of the people coming to me did so because of illegal drugs–they were getting their addictive drugs from doctors or on the street.

    Steve

    [Editor: Links removed due to similarity to detox spam comments.]

  • BruceM

    Sharon Smith’s daughter would still be alive today if heroin had been legal. Instead of buying a professionally made, pure product of a known quantity, Smith’s daughter had to buy her “heroin” (assuming that’s what it was) on the street from a black market criminal who couldn’t guarantee the purity of the product if he wanted to. Moreover, as long as drugs are prohibited, drug education (that is, how to use drugs properly, not “just say no”) will be prohibited as well. If Smith’s daughter had learned about heroin since first grade, practiced using needles on bananas, learned how to use drugs safely and what not to mix, she could have purchased 100% pure heroin at Costco for $19/ounce and she’d be alive, healthy, and happy today.

    Remember, marijuana isn’t the only drug that needs to be legalized.

  • bobreaze

    Bruce while i agree that marijuana is not the only drug that needs to be legalized I disagree with teaching a person how to use heroin unless they are already adicted. I beleive proper education about heroin just like proper education about cigarettes could reduce the harm caused by it. Needle exchanges are important too because they give users a way to use their drugs more safely. I beleive needle exchanges could be a great way to educate users of heroin and other injected drugs of the harm and provide them with means to get clean if they wanted.

  • Chris

    “I disagree with teaching a person how to use heroin unless they are already adicted.”

    There are a lot of things that could go wrong using injection drugs with zero instruction. I don’t think it should be taught in first grade, but teaching how to safely use drugs use is a good idea. It’s the same as telling someone who shouldn’t be using alcohol how to prepare for when they do, without condoning its usage. The end result is a safer individual, regardless of whether or not they then choose to use drugs.

    Also, as for the topic on hand, it’s pathetic. Using heroin overdose as a reason not to legalize medical marijuana? Red herring. DAMMMAD? Idiots who don’t see the real cause of the problem.

  • tommy

    I strongly suspect that this mother had been involved with AA/NA and the “treatment” industry long before her daughter’s death. Those folks love to push the old “gateway” theory.

  • DdC

    BruceM that’s just silly. If people did heroin safely how would cops get snitches comprising 80% of their cases. No confiscated bicycle for lil Johnny Pee’s Christmas. No bandages or computerized life support at the ER when junkies overdose. Where would Arm and Hammer be if crack was replaced by legal free base? Prices would drop as you said, thats unAmerican according to the bible of Wall Street. No tool of the war brokers to justify Obombo killing kids in Againistan for poppies and pipelines. Think of the Church splainin how granny is pain free but happy, doesn’t look like she’s terminally ill. What is the message to the kids? This is a time of misery, suffering and pain to bring repentance. Not contentment. This tragic death would not be used to deter kids from the heathen devil weed that is far more dangerous because it does no harm. What about the Ratso Rizzo’s? The petty thief’s and whores just trying to score. You ever think of them? Putting them out of business is communism. They’ll end up in some coffee shop reciting poetry, paying taxes. You sell it legal and cheap you might as well start converting prisons into Hemp factories. How silly.

  • BruceM

    bobreaze: you can’t smoke a cigarette in a wrong way that results in bodily harm (yes long-term bodily harm i.e. cancer). That’s a bad comparison. Worst thing that will happen to you if you don’t know how to smoke a cigarette is you’ll cough a little. I guess if you’re really stupid you could burn your finger, but it’s self-evident that you’re not supposed to touch the burning part.

    You can, however, hurt yourself with improper injection technique. Even in the movies they usually do it wrong – don’t pull back to make sure they’re in a vein. They usually just jab the needle into the arm at a 90 degree angle. Nothing could be more wrong or dangerous.

    For some reason Americans have always equated teaching something with “approval” and “encouragement” to do it. Sex education being the preiminent example. If we teach safe sex, kids will have sex. Well, kids will have sex anyway. Same with drugs.

    Moreover, if drugs are legal, and thus not adulterated and no longer sold in unknown concentrations, they will be as safe as any other medication. If diabetics can inject themselves with insulin, you can inject yourself with morphine. So the “danger” factor will be practically nonexistant if drugs are no longer a black market item. If drugs were legal, I’d feel safer knowing my children were at home using heroin than off playing football, where broken bones, concussions, and spinal injuries are daily occurrences and “part of the game.” The only reason not to use drugs is because they are illegal. The dangers of black market products coupled with the dangers of police and prison make drug use a dangerous prospect. But keep the black market and the police out of it, and drug use – yes even heroin and cocaine and meth – are perfectly safe.

    As such, children should be taught how to safely and properly use drugs. They should learn how particular drugs work, what they do, how not to use them (don’t mix A with B, etc.), among other things. When to start teaching… I’d start teaching them at the time they become exposed to drug use. I think first grade is as good a time as any. Kindergarden wouldn’t be too early for the very basics. Incidentally alcohol is a (very strong) drug and its proper use should also be taught to children in Drug Use 101.

    Most importantly, drug use education should not be based on an overall concept of avoidance, as you imply. Reducing the number of people using drugs should not be the goal. With governments receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue off of drug sales, they would quickly realize that we should be teaching kids how to safely use drugs, not to avoid them. Tylenol is more toxic than the vast majority of “illegal” drugs, and there’s nothing wrong with addiction as long as you are not forced to risk both the black market and the police.

  • BruceM

    DdC: Well the beauty is all the cops and DEA agents whose jobs would no longer be necessary would have all sorts of wonderful, legal substances with which to drown their sorrows. I don’t feel bad for people who lose jobs that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

    A lot of them could get jobs working in the new drug industry. Think how many new jobs legal drugs would create. Plus, the government will need new employees to handle the influx of drug tax revenue. Of course, once you have a shiny badge and have spent a few years pounding and bullying people and exerting power over them, getting to carry guns wherever you go and getting to take all sorts of bribes, I’d think no other job could ever truly replace that. But like I was saying, nothing can alleviate the misery of no longer being able to ruin people’s lives and scare them with a shiny badge and gun like a nice, big injection of morphine (of course, that could pose a safety problem insofar as such a high number of them are already alcoholics and it’s not good to mix alcohol and painkillers).

  • DdC

    I feel someone “addicted” to heroin is suffering from heroin deficiency, same as a Diabetic. Once treated there is no logical reason any job would be beyond bounds. Its the streets that eat people up, not the dope.

  • bobreaze

    Bruce thanks for your well educated response. I believe you have more knowledge of heroin and its use than i do. I can however agree with your argument teaching to reduce harm to potential users would be good. I also agree if it were regulated and controlled that heroin would be safer. Thank you for your response and i hope to see more responses from you.

  • Joe Bauer

    The Idiocracy is fun isn’t it? Now pass me a Tarrylton this cigarettes are good for ya.

  • Heroin would not be necessary in a regulated market. Morphine (pure and adulterated) would more than suffice for addicts. In fact, back when heroin was introduced it was considered redundant by most doctors – once it was known to be as addictive as morphine. (Remember, heroin was initially billed as a non-addictive cure for morphine addiction).

    Most IV-drug users do not die from improper injection. They die from doses that are unknown in purity. A regulated market would end much if not all of these accidental overdoses, and clean needles would dramatically reduce the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDS.

  • BruceM

    I feel someone “addicted” to heroin is suffering from heroin deficiency, same as a Diabetic.

    I agree except I wouldn’t even use the word “suffering” as long as they can acquire the heroin as easily and inexpensively and as risk-free as a diabetic can acquire insulin.

    Daniel: diacetylmorphine (aka ‘heroin’) is a better, more effective painkiller than morphine. In a regulated market, I think diacetylmorphine would be the gold standard for IV pain relief. Our soldiers would not carry morphine into to battle, they’d carry heroin. Also there are thousands if not tens of thousands of opioids out there that work as well if not better than morphine. There are all sorts of wacky, man-made chemicals like ketobemidone and hundreds of fentanyl derivatives like carfentanil and sufentanil that are ridiculously strong and far more effective than morphine.

    I agree that most IV drug users don’t die from improper injection techniques but rather adulterated substances of unknown concentration. But people should learn to do things right, and in a world where drug use is neither illegal nor taboo, a lot of people would buy and use drugs. Alcohol would have serious competition. Insofar as some of those drugs are best used via injection as opposed to popping a pill, people should learn to inject stuff properly. “Properly” includes not using dirty needles, not sharing needles, etc.

    Bobreaze: I’ve known several people over the years who have used heroin, with no problems whatsoever. Heroin aside, the war on pain doctors and the needless suffering of those with chronic pain due to the fear and reluctance of doctors to prescribe opioid painkillers is a very important issue to me. As a lawyer, I see the failure and idiocy of drug prohibition on a daily basis in the jails and courtrooms, and I also see the heavy handed, illegal, and unethical tactics used by the government to go after doctors who practice medicine in a manner inconsistent with the perverse minds of good little drug warriors. Moreover, because it’s impossible to both live in a free and open society and prohibit people from possessing certain leaves and powders, our entire Constitution and the majority of the Bill of Rights have been completely eviscerated. Nothing saddens me more.

  • claygooding

    How does that song go? You ain’t seen nothing,YET!
    The federal government has already proven,beyond a shadow of doubt,that they will lie,use propaganda and false studies to continue this war on it’s own citizens.
    The National Institute of Drug Abuse has spent millions of dollars and over 30 years,looking for any danger or truthful harm in marijuana,and failed. The feds have tried
    aggressively,to eradicate,interdict and lock up every person they catch with marijuana,unless you had the money to buy a good lawyer,and there is more marijuana in America today than ever before. They can’t even stop marijuana in their own prison system,much less out on the streets.
    When their lies and propaganda doesn’t work,they fall back on the same method the federal government used to pass the Tax Act that started this whole mess,they cloud up the issue with racial overtures(the Mexican cartels) and although the cartels are killing people,they didn’t start that until America gained a puppet president the DEA could cajole into attacking and trying to arrest the cartel leaders.
    They are trying to kill people in Mexico for importing drugs into the United States,from Mexico and at the same time,allowing the farmers in Afghanistan to sell opium on the black market,which will end up on America’s streets.
    The whole thing is so insane that most Americans don’t believe it could be happening,or that marijuana advocates are making up these stories. Even when you show them in black and white.

  • BruceM

    claygooding: no matter how crazy, irrational, dangerous, expensive, deadly, damaging, immoral, illogical, demeaning, corrupting, and sickening something is, stopping it will always lose out to “the children.”

    Look at this thread, it’s a perfect example – a child died so don’t allow medical marijuana (not even “don’t legalize marijuana” but “don’t let doctors prescribe marijuana to patients because a child died from something other than marijuana”). The drug warriors have had the “the children” argument far too long for us to usurp it or negate it. And as long as people are convinced that there is even some truth to a proclaimed danger to “the children” nothing else matters. 50% of the population thinks this way automatically, which is why women should not be allowed to vote (sorry, the maternal instinct is great for survival of the species but horrible for public policy), and a large portion of the remaining 50% will just go along with “the children” position.

    We’ll never end drug prohibition, not even so much as legalizing marijuana, as long as the prohibitionists have “the children” by default.

  • BruceM~

    Yes, heroin is stronger than morphine. But in a regulated market where only pure morphine is available, I believe you’d be hard-pressed to find an addict that would continue to seek out heroin of unknown purity from a dangerous and illegal black market. I’ve spoken with many heroin addicts and I have yet to find one, but maybe you’ve had a different experience.

  • BruceM

    Daniel: well of course, but I’m talking about a regulated market where EVERYTHING is available. You could buy pure 100% pure, measured morphine HCL and right next to it on the shelf at WalMart would be 100% pure, measured diacetylmorphine HCL (trade name “Heroin” invented by Bayer back when the world actually worked this way).

    If you’re talking pure pharmaceutical grade morphine versus dirty street heroin, well of course 9 out of 10 users would choose the morphine. You’re comparing illegal apples to legal oranges.

  • aussidawg

    “claygooding: no matter how crazy, irrational, dangerous, expensive, deadly, damaging, immoral, illogical, demeaning, corrupting, and sickening something is, stopping it will always lose out to “the children.”

    Frankly, it’s too bad the children aren’t the people in charge of making the decisions on all U.S. policy…be it drug policy, domestic economic policy, or foreign policy. They certainly have much more “sense” than their old, white, Christain, male elders.

  • BruceM

    if we could just prevent the religious people from having their say, we’d be living in a world with teleportation booths, intergalactic travel, 300 year life expectancies, etc. Nothing has held back the human race more than religious people. But for religion there would be no drug prohibition. We wouldn’t have suffered through alcohol prohibition either. Every public policy disaster is directly traceable to religion in action.

    Religion is an extremely serious neurological disorder – a genetic defect that needs to be eradicated. To the extent there is a “religion gene” we need to partake in wiping that gene out of the gene pool. I’d support sterilizing the 90% of the world’s population that is infected with religion. We have too many people as it is. We should also invest some serious cash into looking for a cure for religion. If people could take a pill a day and be religion-free, that would be wonderful. Because some people are born with a natural immunity to religion and other people with religion go into spontaneous remission, a cure is likely possible.

    I can dream….

  • Jesse

    BruceM… There IS a cure for organized religion that is sometimes administered in pill form….

    Ever heard of a microdot? =D

  • BruceM

    actually antipsychotic medications can sometimes reduce the intensity of “spirituality”. But at the end of the day, I believe the disease of religion has a large genetic component. This will sound racist and highly politically incorrect, and I assure you I’m not a racist (only a “religionist” in that I hate religion and disprespect those who embrace being infected with it)… I believe there is a positive correlation between the melanin content of human skin and the degree of religiosity/spirituality (that is, the number of people infected with religion and the seriousness of the disorder). Black people are far more religious, and prone to religion, than white people. Ever see a black atheist? Yeah there are a few here and there, Obama’s father was actually one, but I bet there are not more than 500 in North America. Nearly all atheists and agnostics are white. Yes white people have their crazy religious fundamentalists too, but the most religious white person isn’t even close to being as religious as the most religious black person. And of course people with skin color between the lightest white people and the darkest black people also fall in the middle in terms of spirituality/religiosity.

    Let’s put it this way – black people were kidnapped from their native land, enslaved by whites, taught the white religion in which the white god and his white son Jesus tell slaves to obey and work hard for their masters. Over 200 years later, the black decendents of those slaves not only STILL pray to the white slavemaster’s white god, they do so with more zeal and fundamentalism than the white people! Who’s more addicted to Jesus than African Americans?

    My general hypothesis is that the gene or genes that control skin pigmentation (melanin content) are the same that cause the brain to be suscpetible to and crave religion. For various reasons, when early man became self-aware, spirituality/religiosity became an evolutionary advantage. Unfortunately this genetic trait has become a hinderance, but by its very nature it’s self-selecting and thus impossible to weed out of the gene pool. The reason light-skinned humans dominated the darker-skinned humans is not because they’re smarter, stronger, or any crap like that. It’s because they’re less religious. Africa is a continent full of immense natural resources, yet the indigenous people are the most religious in the world, thus they’re doomed to live in poverty and rancid squalor. They have their god(s) and that’s all that matters. Same with the middle east, to a slightly lesser extent.

    Anyway, that’s my hypothesis. It will piss off some people, but I assure you I am not trying to make an argument for “white supremacy” or anything like that; rather, I’m trying to be hopeful and suggest a possibility that we could investigate scientifically to hopefully find a cure for religion. If we could give everyone in Africa a pill that would reduce their spirituality by 50%, the poorest nations of Africa would have functional governments and thriving economies within 2 decades.

  • BruceM~

    You seem to equate religion with spiritually, and your hypothesis is just as odd. But as far as any kind of magic pill or antidote, I’m with Jesse.

  • cabdriver

    Bruce M., the best way to derail a political reform movement is to attach it to a wider agenda- especially one that adds controversy, and is at best tangentially related.

    And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more politically tone-deaf agenda than “anti-religionism”.

    I could go off into a rant depicting your position as prima facie evidence of Asperger’s Syndrome, or some other sort of gross impairment of social intelligence.

    But to do so would merely be indulging in the same sort of quack coffee-table psychotherapeutic explanations that you’ve put forth.

    The fact is, there’s no way I could honestly say for sure what might be motivating you.

    But people in political movements need to learn how to keep their eye on the goal, and not drag in extraneous agendas.

    If the cause of anti-religion is dearer to you than drug law reform, then join or initiate that movement. Don’t mix that in to the anti-prohibitionist movement, just at the time when it’s gaining increased sympathy and success.

    For all practical purposes, making anti-religion part of a drug law reform program would please no one more than the Prohibitionists. It would move the field of contest from the arena of medicine, public safety, and health, where their arguments are weakest, and transform it into a philosophical realm where they could continue to happily deadlock all drug reform measures to their heart’s content.

  • cabdriver

    As for legalizing heroin for sale, over the counter: in my opinion, that’s simply laughable. Pie in the sky.

    As I’ve noted before in these pages: that’s tantamount to making the drug law reform movement about abolishing all forms of prescription medication- because there are few if any pharmaceutical compounds that combine high consumer appeal with lethality more effectively than the natural and synthetic opiates.

    Start advocating for that, and what you’re doing is providing valid relevance for the testimony of Steve Steiner and the parents of Sharon Smith, where previously there was none.

    And politically, you’ll lose. You’ll get steamrollered.

    Speaking from personal experience: all of the “stand-on-principle” arch-libertarians that I’ve met who advocate for “legal everything” are young single males with no children of their own.

    (Admittedly, I’ve also read of a few parents who have held such laissez-faire views- most usually, in the course of reading memoirs written by, or about, their addicted children. I realize that may be perceived by some people as a terribly moralistic note to strike. But I didn’t write those books…)

    You have the right to your opinions. You also have the responsibility to check yourselves if your advocacy works to doom any hope of obtaining wider support for getting the drug law reform movement off the dime.

    If you’d rather be self-righteously convinced than effective- I forecast a long slog, and almost certainly a futile one. Turn a movement favoring legalized possession and cultivation of marijuana into a movement favoring legal sales of every psychoactive drug under the sun, and you’ll face much strong logical objections and much more forceful opposition.

    It would be the nadir of self-indulgence to do so.

    I’m hold no special position in the Drug Law Reform movement, mind you. I’m merely giving some advice here.

    And in my opinion, the practical consequences of splitting the movement within, between the incremental reformers who seek maximal harm reduction vs. the “legalize everything” position are bound to be a lot less devastating than the consequences of a unified “legalize everything” movement vs. the Zero Tolerance Prohibitionists.

    As it stands now, the opponents of Medical Marijuana- and legal marijuana- are looking like Buffoons. Finally. They have no arguments left, except hysteria.

    But if you want to learn what Buffoon status looks like from the inside, just make the drug reform movement about demanding legal OTC heroin. The shoe will be on the other foot, and you will have sealed the doom of the movement just as it was poised for major victories.

  • BruceM

    I’ll just respond with two brief comments:

    1) as I’ve noted here many times before, drug prohibition is all or nothing, and drugs are either illegal or they’re not. It seems the vast majority of people here equate “ending prohibition” with “legalizing pot” and nothing more. I’m one of the few who wants to legalize ALL drugs. That means OTC heroin. OTC status for all drugs. “Controlled substance” should be nothing more than a relic of a failed system.

    2) neither this website nor any other is going to convince any drug warriors of the error of their ways. You’re not advocating to anyone by posting on this website. So I see no reason to moderate my opinions on the subject. I disagree with the entire concept of drug prohibition, not just denying people marijuana. I think it’s sad that so many people here only post here because they want like pot and want to smoke it legally, yet they agree that every other drug is properly controlled, properly criminalized, and people who use them are properly arrested and denied their rights. People like that are just as bad as the drug warriors who suck down vodka martinis as they waste taxpayer dollars on the latest anti-drug propaganda. And finally, since this public policy disaster is directly caused by religion, I see no reason why I should placate religious people and try not to offend them.

  • cabdriver

    BruceM, I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I’m not your straw man- and I don’t “agree that every other drug is properly controlled, properly criminalized, and people who use them are properly arrested and denied their rights.”

    I think personal possession of all drugs should be decriminalized, with confiscation the only penalty.

    But beyond that, your assumption is correct- I don’t want to see heroin sold in drug stores any more than I want polychlorinated biphenyls to be sold as ingredients in the capacitors of my electronics gear.

    If the public policy disaster of drug prohibition is “directly caused by religion”, perhaps you’d like to explain the historical Zero Tolerance Drug War stance of officially non-religious nations such as Cuba, China (particularly during Mao’s time), and the Soviet Union- and the recent decisive steps forward toward drug legalization by several European and Latin American nations that are predominantly- or even officially- Roman Catholic.

    Your tin ear for political sensitivities is in abundant evidence on this forum.

    Actually, it’s worse than a tin ear, it’s outright deafness. You’re plainly much more interested in demonstrating your superior personal insights on matters of philosophy than you are in working toward actual results.

    You have no reticence at all as far as tossing off propositions like this piece of medical malpractice, beginning with “Sharon Smith’s daughter would still be alive today if heroin had been legal…” and ending with this surefire room-clearer: “…If Smith’s daughter had learned about heroin since first grade, practiced using needles on bananas, learned how to use drugs safely and what not to mix, she could have purchased 100% pure heroin at Costco for $19/ounce and she’d be alive, healthy, and happy today.”

    Like a satire from The Onion…the only problem is that you’re presumably absolutely serious, earnest, and sincere.

    And of course I’m advocating to readers by posting on this website- just like you are. Among other things, I’m advocating that readers give your sort of heedless, reckless, callous pronouncements a wide berth- and that they treat your facile sophistries with the potent dose of skepticism that they deserve.

    People like you are capable of killing or crippling movements for social justice from sheer narcissism and insufferability- along with your eager willingness to play fast and loose with facts.

    That’s a combination that couldn’t be more effective it it were a provocateur tactic- although in the usual case, it’s simply someone’s idiotic elephantine ego, barging through a china shop. How to destroy a political movement, in one easy lesson.

    I’ve encountered the type before (and most assuredly, it is a “type.”) Inevitably, it’s all about YOU.

    At least some of us- it isn’t easy to tell how many, I hope it’s most of us- are playing the game for higher stakes than that.

    You’d be better off with a different hobbyhorse, Bruce M. Judging from your comment above, you might consider starting a movement to revoke the voting franchise from women. As far as I can tell, that’s unbroken ground- you could assume the leadership role in that one. Ann Coulter did get there ahead of you, but I don’t think she wants it all that much…

  • CD

    BruceM… There IS a cure for organized religion that is sometimes administered in pill form….

    Ever heard of a microdot? =D

  • Hope

    You’re being very judgmental, Bruce, and throwing around accusations and assumptions based on the same sort of thinking and judgments that got us into this mess.

    Cabdriver is right and has given you some very good advice. You would be smart to listen to him a bit. Both for your sake and for the sake of the freedom from unjust, cruel, wrong laws and government.

    Your attitude is fire and arrogance. That’s not always a good idea. You have a lot of fire and I wish that you would use it wisely.

    It’s not about legalizing pot so I can smoke it legally, Bruce. For me, and many, many others, it’s about stopping the indecency of it all. The killing, the injustice, the cruelty, the insane fear mongering, the persecution and destruction, the seizures and confiscations, the spying and meddling, and the loss of precious rights, freedom, and liberty.

  • DdC

    At the risk of siding with BruceM ¶8), where’s the beef Cabby? Of coarse religion is responsible for the hobgoblins. Cuba, China and Russia are the religions. Same bogus lies, same bogus profits “prohibiting” Same dictatorial speeches. Same infallibility, same do not question. DEAth is Cuba, China and Russia, we even have a Czar. As for getting heroin in drug stores. I can’t think of a better place outside of a clinic. Consistent dosages, clean dope without adulterants and cuts, Clean paraphernalia. Getting a thorough medical examine and a proper dosage for weight condition tolerance etc. Anything legitimized would be safer for the user and the public. Like I said, its the streets that eat up people.

    Junkies last time I heard were people, American citizens with the same rights as any war drug worrier cop shooting people for choosing an alternative to legal slobbering booze. I think you may have attended one too many DARE seminars or whatever they are, I’ve had the pleasure of being old enough to have avoided such nazism. I would only suggest it being sold the same as other Pharmaceuticals, not Costco do to shoplifting kids. I admit when I first thought about Libertarian views I assumed they just wanted to screw things up so bad no one would ever suggest legalizing again. Kids ripping off Woolsworth for smack, deaths etc and a big old See I told ya!

    Now after years of reading their lies and flim flams and burying evidence and outlawing discussion, censoring school books and the media happy to be lapdogs to the same corporate war brokers year after year. Now I say legalize it and stop persecuting people for their choices in the name of saveding kids they don’t give two shits about. I still have a problem with Libertarians siding with factories rights or that Liberty doesn’t include clean air and water. Appeasing these drug thug scumbuckets, ConPromising their lies still leaves scumbucket liars. Most Americans don’t know anything about heroin or junkies outside of what prohibition has shown us. Before prohibition many artists and writers indulged in public places like the Chelsea Hotel and the Hashish Club. Not my cup of tea but I can clearly see where the danger is, it is with the established status weird world trade orchestration of banksters, war mongers, chicken hawks and chicken littles in the church perpetuating for profit dysfunctions.

    The Ganjawar has no morals…

    It Is Time for Medical Marijuana
    According to this week’s Wall Street Journal, Somerset County Judge Robert Reed has prohibited MS patient Wilson from explaining to a jury why he used marijuana. The jury will be left to infer he merely wanted to party or to sell it for profit. Motive is not relevant in Reed’s court.

  • cabdriver

    DdC,

    “Where’s” my “beef?” I just wrote two extensive posts which I thought made that plain.

    “Of coarse religion is responsible for the hobgoblins. Cuba, China and Russia are the religions.”

    Come on. The Marxist-Leninist states were/are explicitly atheistic. If you’re bent on redefining “religion” to include “atheism”, Dialetical Materialism, or Marxist-Leninism, you might as well redefine the word “water” to include “petroleum.”

    No, I haven’t “attended one too many DARE seminars.” I have spent 20 years working on “the streets” you refer to. I wasn’t out there all those years attending a Grad Seminar in Middle Class Liberal Fatuity.

    And I’ve spent a lot more time researching this issue than simply reading an old copy of The Consumer Report Guide to Licit and Illicit Drugs. (In my observation, that’s the main reference source provided for the pernicious canard that it’s practically impossible to overdose on pure heroin. It’s imperative to realize that an LD50 is an LD50- no more; no less. With the opiates, that’s a dosage range that swings back and forth rather precipitously for people, even in the case of many confirmed addicts. And if you flip that particular coin 2500 times, it’s liable to end up on edge at least once- providing a lethal dose in a range where none was expected. Legal and pure, or not. Consider what’s being risked- your respiratory capability.)

    “As for getting heroin in drug stores. I can’t think of a better place outside of a clinic. Consistent dosages, clean dope without adulterants and cuts, Clean paraphernalia. Getting a thorough medical examine and a proper dosage for weight condition tolerance etc.”

    In the first place: setting up clinics where heroin users can receive controlled dosages of their chosen substance is not what BruceM was talking about. He was talking about selling “100% pure heroin at Costco for $19/ounce” (direct quote.)

    But beyond that- you think the medical services sector of this nation can afford the sort of expense and effort you speak of, so people can do their pleasure drugs? Get real.

    Honestly- don’t you ever argue with yourself, in a seriously diligent manner, bringing up as many plausible objections to a course of action as possible, including granting the valid points of adversaries and taking steps to modify your position in response?

    How do you presume that this society is going to provide cheap or free heroin on demand, when the pharmaceutical companies charge big money to sell morphine to cancer patients? Legal morphine is more expensive than illegal heroin- even under most insurance plans!

    Do you expect the drug law reform movement to change that status quo? You must be missing out on the health care debate in this country. Talk about biting off more than you can chew…

    As for the comparisons of heroin addiction to diabetes- I’m not sure what people think they’re gaining with that one. Diabetes is a disastrous chronic disease, and one of the biggest public health problems in the country. It isn’t some simple deficiency to be solved with a snap of the fingers by a few insulin injections every day.

    The fact is that neither diabetes or opiate addiction are trivial syndromes whose consequences are to be trivialized or minimized.

    I’ve put my own compromise position out there in at least one previous comment: allow the sales of dilute opiate preparations like hydrocodone/oxycodone cough medicines over the counter, with age restrictions, and strict limits on the amount to be purchased. And don’t expect a 4 oz. bottle to be cheaper than 750ml bottle of vodka.

    No pure powder opiate drugs, with their lethal overdose/date rape/”Mickey Finn” capability.

    Also, I think it’s imperative to discourage and minimize needle use. Not only do needles facilitate overdose consequences, their use calls for a degree of responsibility that’s too much for most opiate addicts to handle.

    I don’t like beer cans much as litter- but at least they aren’t Hazardous Waste material. I don’t like hypos showing up in bathroom stalls, sandboxes, public park grounds, or street gutters.

    That’s one main purpose of the injection clinics found in Europe, of course- because as a rule, needle users can’t be trusted to even find a place to safely dispose of their sharps.

    Considering that something like 2/3 of injection drug users in California are Hep C positive, that is not a schoolmarmish nanny-state concern. The idea that needle exchange offers a foolproof solution to that problem is a fantasy:

    “Young injection drug users (IDUs) in San Francisco may
    be at high risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection despite access to several needle exchange venues…Since tests to detect anti-
    body to HCV (anti-HCV) became available in 1990,2 multiple
    studies have found that 50% to 95% of IDUs are anti-HCV
    seropositive…”

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=CZP&q=author:%22Hahn%22+intitle:%22Hepatitis+C+virus+infection+and+needle+exchange+use+…%22+&um=1&ie=UTF-8&oi=scholarr

    50-90% Hepatitis C positive. That’s a PUBLIC health problem, not a private health problem.

    And I’m weary of hearing Needle Exchange proffered as a cure-all solution to it. I know how needle exchange works. I support it, under the guidelines whereby it’s supposed to work- one clean for one dirty. But the fact is, it often amounts to clean needle handouts, the “exchange” part goes by the boards. And it’s a partial stopgap for a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Needle users are reckless people by nature. Most of them are too reckless to care about where they leave their contaminated syringes. And even the “conscientious” ones rarely do it right. To do it right, you need to snap off the needle into its plastic cap, and toss it into a red bag. Hospitals have special containers for disposal of blood/lymph wastes- with good reason. The janitors who deal with wastebaskets in public parks aren’t availed of that option…you ever work as a janitor in a public park? I have.

    “Most Americans don’t know anything about heroin or junkies outside of what prohibition has shown us. Before prohibition many artists and writers indulged in public places like the Chelsea Hotel and the Hashish Club…”

    DdC, putting “Hashish Club” in there is a flat-out non sequitur.

    And the fact is that the entire human experience of concentrated, purified opiates is only of about two centuries duration. There was never any halcyon pre-prohibition era where no one ever OD’ed or suffered adverse consequences from addiction. I’ve thought through my position on the matter, not with the idea of imposing a moral prohibition, but in light of the practical consequences for public health. It’s as liberal as I care to get.

    I think that it’s absurd to expect that legal drugs would ever even be as inexpensive as a bottle of whiskey, much less “$19 an ounce.”

    I don’t like needles on my beaches.

    I don’t want my tax dollars supporting someone’s volunteered slavery at a publically funded injection clinic.

    And I don’t like the idea of seeing my friends or relatives slipping into drug addiction, through easy access to unlimited quantities of powerful opiates. It isn’t a “deficiency disease”- not in the usual sense. Not for most people.

    As David Smith MD, founder of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic- and husband of a recovering drug addict- puts it, “there’s a large number of people out there with a taste for heroin.” It’s a taste. A choice, that turns into a no-choice.

    Heroin addiction is no picnic. It induces withdrawal from the world. Even granting that opiate use in and of itself doesn’t lead to organ damage: drug addicts have a way of grossly neglecting their health. Many of them have trouble caring enough about themselves to bathe, take care of their oral hygiene, or to get even minimal exercise or adequate nutrition. That isn’t a stereotype, it’s an epidemiological fact. The exceptions do not abrogate the rule, any more than the fact that some people survive typhus or dengue fever indicates that those are harmless diseases.

  • cabdriver

    DdC,

    “Where’s” my “beef?” I just wrote two extensive posts which I thought made that plain.

    “Of coarse religion is responsible for the hobgoblins. Cuba, China and Russia are the religions.”

    Come on. The Marxist-Leninist states were/are explicitly atheistic. If you’re bent on redefining “religion” to include “atheism”, Dialetical Materialism, or Marxist-Leninism, you might as well redefine the word “water” to include “petroleum.”

    No, I haven’t “attended one too many DARE seminars.” I have spent 20 years working on “the streets” you refer to. I wasn’t out there all those years attending a Grad Seminar in Middle Class Liberal Fatuity.

    And I’ve spent a lot more time researching this issue than simply reading an old copy of The Consumer Report Guide to Licit and Illicit Drugs. (In my observation, that’s the main reference source provided for the pernicious canard that it’s practically impossible to overdose on pure heroin. It’s imperative to realize that an LD50 is an LD50- no more; no less. With the opiates, that’s a dosage range that swings back and forth rather precipitously for people, even in the case of many confirmed addicts. And if you flip that particular coin 2500 times, it’s liable to end up on edge at least once- providing a lethal dose in a range where none was expected. Legal and pure, or not. Consider what’s being risked- your respiratory capability.)

    “As for getting heroin in drug stores. I can’t think of a better place outside of a clinic. Consistent dosages, clean dope without adulterants and cuts, Clean paraphernalia. Getting a thorough medical examine and a proper dosage for weight condition tolerance etc.”

    In the first place: setting up clinics where heroin users can receive controlled dosages of their chosen substance is not what BruceM was talking about. He was talking about selling “100% pure heroin at Costco for $19/ounce” (direct quote.)

    But beyond that- you think the medical services sector of this nation can afford the sort of expense and effort you speak of, so people can do their pleasure drugs? Get real.

    Honestly- don’t you ever argue with yourself, in a seriously diligent manner, bringing up as many plausible objections to a course of action as possible, including granting the valid points of adversaries and taking steps to modify your position in response?

    How do you presume that this society is going to provide cheap or free heroin on demand, when the pharmaceutical companies charge big money to sell morphine to cancer patients? Legal morphine is more expensive than illegal heroin- even under most insurance plans!

    Do you expect the drug law reform movement to change that status quo? You must be missing out on the health care debate in this country. Talk about biting off more than you can chew…

    As for the comparisons of heroin addiction to diabetes- I’m not sure what people think they’re gaining with that one. Diabetes is a disastrous chronic disease, and one of the biggest public health problems in the country. It isn’t some simple deficiency to be solved with a snap of the fingers by a few insulin injections every day.

    The fact is that neither diabetes or opiate addiction are trivial syndromes whose consequences are to be trivialized or minimized.

    I’ve put my own compromise position out there in at least one previous comment: allow the sales of dilute opiate preparations like hydrocodone/oxycodone cough medicines over the counter, with age restrictions, and strict limits on the amount to be purchased. And don’t expect a 4 oz. bottle to be cheaper than 750ml bottle of vodka.

    No pure powder opiate drugs, with their lethal overdose/date rape/”Mickey Finn” capability.

    Also, I think it’s important to discourage and minimize needle use- not only do needles facilitate overdose consequences, their use calls for a degree of responsibility that’s too much for most heroin addicts to handle. I don’t like beer cans much as litter- but at least they aren’t Hazardous Waste material. I don’t like them showing up in bathroom stalls, sandboxes, public park grounds, or street gutters.

    That’s the main purpose of the injection clinics found in Europe, of course- because as a rule, needle users can’t be trusted to even find a place to safely dispose of their sharps.

    Considering that something like 2/3 of injection drug users in California are Hep C positive, that is not a schoolmarmish nanny-state concern. The idea that needle exchange offers a foolproof solution to that problem is a fantasy-

    “Young injection drug users (IDUs) in San Francisco may
    be at high risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection despite access to several needle exchange venues…Since tests to detect anti-
    body to HCV (anti-HCV) became available in 1990,2 multiple
    studies have found that 50% to 95% of IDUs are anti-HCV
    seropositive…”

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=CZP&q=author:%22Hahn%22+intitle:%22Hepatitis+C+virus+infection+and+needle+exchange+use+…%22+&um=1&ie=UTF-8&oi=scholarr

    50-90% Hepatitis C positive. That’s a PUBLIC health problem, not a private health problem.

    “Most Americans don’t know anything about heroin or junkies outside of what prohibition has shown us. Before prohibition many artists and writers indulged in public places like the Chelsea Hotel and the Hashish Club…”

    DdC, putting “Hashish Club” in there is a flat-out non sequitur.

    And the fact is that the entire human experience of concentrated, purified opiates is only of about two centuries duration. There was never any halcyon pre-prohibition era where no one ever OD’ed or suffered adverse consequences from addiction. I’ve thought through my position on the matter, not with the idea of imposing a moral prohibition, but in light of the practical consequences for public health. It’s as liberal as I care to get.

    I think that it’s absurd to expect that legal drugs would ever even be as inexpensive as a bottle of whiskey, much less “$19 an ounce.”

    I don’t need needles on my beaches.

    I don’t need my tax dollars supporting someone’s volunteered slavery at a publically funded injection clinic.

    And I don’t like the idea of seeing my friends or relatives slipping into drug addiction, through easy access to unlimited quantities of powerful opiates. It isn’t a “deficiency disease”- not in the usual sense. Not for most people. As David Smith MD, founder of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic- and husband of a recovering drug addict- puts it, “there’s a large number of people out there with a taste for heroin.” It’s a taste. A choice, that turns into a no-choice.

    Heroin addiction is no picnic. It induces withdrawal from the world. Even granting that opiate use in and of itself doesn’t lead to organ damage: drug addicts have a way of grossly neglecting their health. Many of them have trouble caring enough about themselves to bathe, take care of their oral hygiene, or to get even minimal exercise or adequate nutrition. That isn’t a stereotype, it’s an epidemiological fact. The exceptions do not abrogate the rule, any more than the fact that some people survive typhus or dengue fever indicates that those are harmless diseases.