The drug war: no one is winning but people are dying

I find a lot of stories interesting, amusing, strange but this one is just heartbreaking. 16 year old Danielle McCarthy died because someone wanted to get tough on drugs.

Going through new materials on the Drug Policy Alliance site (for all of us fighting the war against the war on drugs) I ran across this story they highlighted from the Seattle Stranger. It’s called a Death in Edmonds. You can go to the source for the details but what it boils down to is that a teenage girl, Danielle, took Ecstasy, had an adverse reaction, and died, because people were too frightened of the possible consequences, to call for medical help. She is just the latest case and others are described where people knew that if they called there was a good chance they would end up in prison. The author of the piece, when he was 17, was handcuffed and interrogated by police for hours after calling for medical help when a friend showed up at the door suffering from an LSD overdose.

If you give or sell someone drugs, and then if they react badly to them and you call for help, and the person dies, you may be charged with homicide. Some people might say that this is pretty straight forward; just don’t give anybody drugs. But life isn’t quite that simple, you get into situations, and if you’re young and feeling good, and you have drugs, why not share with your friends. Should someone actually be at risk of dying, or of facing prison time just because they wanted to feel good, and wanted others to feel the same?

This in an American situation and so if this happened in Canada it would be a little different but the government we have right now, and it is right, now, I could easily see attempts at adopting a similar law.

It beggars understanding. Now, I’m pretty hard line on this issue. I think that crimes that hurt people in any way are very bad. I also think that your body is your own and you have the right to make it feel good, and if that involves putting substances into it, who cares? I think that drugs or not, you are responsible in your interactions with society and you better still support whoever you have to, make sure your children are fed and have a roof over their heads, be attentive to your loved ones, do your job, and don’t endanger anyone while you are high, just like you should not drive when drunk.

The stalwart warriors in the war on drugs have decided that this is such an evil that if some people die as a result of these measures, well that’s just a price we have to pay. I know that I am probably preaching to the choir on this one but after reading this tragic story I felt I had to say something. These moral guardians do not give a shit about your children; their rhetoric spouts off about saving the children but their moral crusade does nothing but cost lives. If these guardians are not evil, they are ignorant, and that is no excuse when the stakes are this high.

Imagine a world where people just didn’t care about drugs. Billions of dollars and so much effort that could go to solving real problems. They think that the only thing stopping the world from descending into chaos are their efforts but think about how many people don’t do drugs. Not because its illegal but because they just don’t want to. Other people live in hell, and drugs make it bearable. And for others, it might just be for fun but whatever, its wrong being persecuted for it.

5 comments on “The drug war: no one is winning but people are dying

  1. The author of the piece, when he was 17, was handcuffed and interrogated by police for hours after calling for medical help when a friend showed up at the door suffering from an LSD overdose.

    Uh. There’s no such thing as an LSD overdose unless you consume a whole bucket of that stuff. There are bad trips, though. And with bigger doses, you’re pretty much guaranteed a really bad trip. The best solution is a quiet room with no distractions until the whole thing wears off.

    LSD is something I’d like to try, but it’s almost impossible to get nowadays. Pity.

  2. The author used the term overdose, and I support it in that overdose defines as simply being much more than the effective dose, more to the point where there are adverse physical or psychological effects. Its not a substance that will kill you but overdoses are certainly possible (I’ve been around them myself).

  3. […] pm Tags: drug policy alliance, drug wars, ethan nadelmann, prohibition The day after I posted my entry on the drug war victims my colleagues and I ended up in a room listening to a cd by one of the people I regard most highly […]

  4. Here, here!
    But also, there really are some drugs that should remain banned. Not because they play hell with a person’s body or they can die from it, but because of what the drugs can lead a person to do. The inhibitions that allow them to function in society are what keeps them from shooting up every person who makes them mad.

  5. Using that yardstick would put alcohol at the top of the list since it seems to be the prime factor in most crime. And that would sadden me because I like alcohol. So the question would be, is it worth depriving billions of something that makes their lives a little better because some become destructive on it? Always felt that it was the person and not the drug to blame for violence.

    But I get your point. I’ve always supported banning guns for the same reason.

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