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posted by martyb on Tuesday August 18 2015, @09:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the will-it-help-or-hinder? dept.

The White House announced a new Heroin Response Strategy on Monday to combat a "heroin/opioid epidemic" across 15 states in the northeast:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would spend $2.5 million to hire public safety and public health coordinators in five areas in an attempt to focus on the treatment, rather than the punishment, of addicts. The funding — a sliver of the $25.1 billion that the government spends every year to combat drug use — will help create a new "heroin response strategy" aimed at confronting the increase in use of the drug. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that heroin-related deaths had nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.

[...] Once thought of as a drug used only by hard-core addicts, heroin has infiltrated many communities, largely because of its easy availability and its low price, officials said. The problem has become especially severe in New England, where officials have called for a renewed effort to confront it. Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont devoted his entire State of the State Message in January to what he called "a full-blown heroin crisis" in his state. Like the new White House effort, the governor called for a new, treatment-based approach to the drug.

[More after the break...]

Thomas McLellan, President Obama's chief scientist for drug control policy from 2009 to 2012, said $2.5 million "is not close to the financial commitment that is needed" and that use of the opiate-blocker naloxone is a squandered second chance without proper follow-up care. Executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, was also dismissive of the announcement:

Nadelmann sees drug policy as existing along a continuum, from "lock'em up, hang'em, pull out their fingernails, Singapore, Saudi Arabia" all the way down to "essentially no controls whatsoever, maybe a little for kids." Unfortunately, he says, American drug policy under Obama is way too close to the hang'em end of the spectrum—and this new heroin program won't change the administration's position much in his eyes. That's because it's a bait-and-switch. It's promoted as a treatment-first program, but the details lean heavily toward enforcement and incarceration. It calls for 15 drug intelligence officers and 15 health policy analysts to collect data on overdoses and trends in heroin trafficking. Everyone will feed the data back to a joint health-law enforcement coordination center, which will distribute the data across state lines. That's great for cops. They need fresher leads on where heroin is coming from, who is moving it, and where it's being purchased. But public health officials don't need to know the intricacies of trafficking in order to respond to an ongoing epidemic.

According to a July 7th report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2002 to 2013, with 8,200 deaths in the year 2013. During that period, heroin use increased the most among females (100%), the 18-25 age group (109%), and non-Hispanic whites (114%). Heroin use among households with less than $20,000 of annual income increased 62%, compared to 77% for households with $20,000-$49,999, and 60% for households with $50,000 or more. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, said that the "epidemic" is growing out of prescription opioid painkiller abuse. He estimates that heroin is available at one-fifth the cost of prescription painkillers.


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  • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday August 20 2015, @04:01AM

    by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday August 20 2015, @04:01AM (#225275)

    Sure we do. We declare people incompetent and remand them and their affairs to the custody of others in lots of situations.

    You don't understand what you're talking about. Whether you're ignorant, drugged, or what, through your own actions, you exercise your liberties. It doesn't matter how or why you do. You can't protect fundamental liberties by taking them away. If you criticize the government, you are *logically* exercising your right to free speech no matter what your state of mind is or how ignorant you are. Your logic that because someone is drugged they can't exercise their rights is pure and utter nonsense.

    And that's where we diverge. A junkie who wants his next fix isn't acting in his own best interests.

    What is and is not in their best interests is subjective. And even if that is true, that is their decision. That's part of the fundamental right to control your own body.

    I am not appealing to the constitution for authority.

    I am merely saying it is not currently constitutional.

    And ultimately the constitution should reflect the society we collectively want, not the other way around.

    Sounds like a good way for the minority to be stripped of their rights by the tyrannical majority. Popularity should have nothing to do with it. Popularity rears its ugly head even in representative republics, but that shouldn't be the main consideration.

    I didn't say they needed to be banned entirely.

    Oh, no. They just need to be forced into rehab when you don't like their decisions. That's totally different from being banned.

    Chris Christie is wrong to use that argument to justify the NSA's ongoing mass surveillance. However its essentially the same argument as the mandate to wear a seatbelt; or the mandate against selling leaded gasoline.

    The constitution doesn't grant the federal government the authority to mandate either one. Short of a constitutional amendment, they're currently violating the constitution.

    Seatbelts should not be required, but not wearing a seatbelt is still not on the same level as the fundamental right to control your own body. For leaded gasoline, you are merely exercising your privacy property rights, and doing so in a way that isn't really that important to protect (and something most people can't do anyway); I would support such a constitutional amendment here. But neither are as important as the drug issue.

    It's invalid when Christie used it largely because its a serious breach of rights with no measurable benefit.

    Well, you're certainly a piece of garbage. If it did lead to measurable benefits, it sounds like you would support it. For that, you are not a true ally in the fight against mass surveillance, because all they need to do is make their surveillance more effective. One day you're an 'ally', and the next you are a mere traitor to human rights. That is what makes you 'safety' nuts so dangerous. You really aren't much different from Chris Christie and his fellow scumbags. You are in good company.

    I do not think that you should live in countries that supposedly strive to be free. Somewhere like North Korea might be a better country for you.

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  • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday August 20 2015, @08:43PM

    by vux984 (5045) on Thursday August 20 2015, @08:43PM (#225573)

    And even if that is true, that is their decision.

    That is the entire argument. Once your drugged up, your decision making is suspect. Are you even doing what you really want to do anymore? Sure you made the initial decision to take the drugs, but does that mean you should now be trapped by that decision?

    You can't protect fundamental liberties by taking them away.

    If a man takes pills and lands himself in a coma, can I revive him? He's lost control of himself, and can not "decide" to wake up. But he did decide to take those pills.
    Same for addiction, once he's taken the drugs and gotten himself addicted, he's trapped... I'm not saying he can't take drugs, but I'm saying once he's messed up by them he's not "making decisions" anymore. His brain is under the influence of the drugs.

    Well, you're certainly a piece of garbage. If it did lead to measurable benefits, it sounds like you would support it.

    It's still an egregious violation and the benefits would need to be equally immense. I don't expect this to be the case; and certainly not a threshold reached even if they caught a few thousand actual terrorists by doing it. I think your painting a picture of me that is a gross mis-characterization.

    But lets say the threat is big... not "oh noes terrists gonna blow up mah minimall" but "an extinction level event is happening" as in a virus that is wiping us out (not merely decimating us, but getting nearly all of us ... 6'9s fatality rate; airborne, lives months without a host, no vaccine\cure... but we can stop it with some serious curtails of our liberty until we find a cure. travel restrictions, mandatory blood screening to catch early infection, quarantine, ... )

    Do we do it? Its an infringement on your constitution rights after all.

    I am not a safety nut. I don't think mass surveillance is justified for terrorism. I think its a huge invasion of privacy, and it would take a LOT more than terrorism... a phenomena that ranks down with "accidental bathtub related fatalities" before I'd ever consider it justified. But yeah, I can think of threats so large that they represent an existential threat to the country itself, or humanity itself that large infringements on our freedoms could be necessary... and being prepared to consider that we might curtail our freedom to survive as a species hardly makes me chummy with North Korean dictators.

    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @10:53AM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @10:53AM (#225782)

      That is the entire argument. Once your drugged up, your decision making is suspect.

      Suspect to you, maybe. But you only care about this because you want government thugs to stop people from exercising their fundamental right to control their own bodies. There's nothing you could say that could convince me that you're anything but a hardcore authoritarian.

      If a man takes pills and lands himself in a coma, can I revive him?

      There's a big difference between being in a coma and on drugs. Even on drugs people have some ability to make decisions. You might as well be comparing a drug addict to a corpse; it's nonsensical.

      It's still an egregious violation and the benefits would need to be equally immense.

      As I thought.

      Do we do it? Its an infringement on your constitution rights after all.

      The government has no legitimate authority to violate the constitution. Give me liberty or give me death.

      I am not a safety nut.

      Your stance on drugs proves otherwise. If someone has a brain state you deem abnormal or undesirable, you're perfectly happy to use government thugs to make them 'normal' again.

      • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday August 21 2015, @05:32PM

        by vux984 (5045) on Friday August 21 2015, @05:32PM (#225948)

        The government has no legitimate authority to violate the constitution. Give me liberty or give me death.

        You didn't really answer the question. Let's try again:

        The travel restrictions that were in place to fight ebola? Were they an intolerable infringement on your rights?

        "New guidelines will force travellers from affected countries to fly via US airports with screening procedures in place"
        http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/21/us-limited-ebola-travel-restrictions-west-africa [theguardian.com]

        If someone has a brain state you deem abnormal or undesirable,

        I prefer to leave medical diagnosis in the hands of professional medical associations. I'm not suggesting I personally have any say over it.

        you're perfectly happy to use government thugs to make them 'normal' again.

        If, by that, you mean "let doctors treat the mentally ill", yes.

        • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @05:41PM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @05:41PM (#225955)

          You didn't really answer the question.

          What part of "The government has no legitimate authority to violate the constitution. Give me liberty or give me death." did you not understand? I find you cowardly for suggesting that it's alright to violate the constitution.

          The travel restrictions that were in place to fight ebola? Were they an intolerable infringement on your rights?

          Yes.

          I prefer to leave medical diagnosis in the hands of professional medical associations. I'm not suggesting I personally have any say over it.

          If, by that, you mean "let doctors treat the mentally ill", yes.

          Ah, right, because what qualifies as a mental illness is so objective. It's so objective, in fact, that homosexuality and many other things were once treated as mental illnesses. But because someone likes doing something you don't like, and they have a state of mind that you don't like, you'd better let loose the government thugs to force them to behave.

          This isn't a matter of just letting doctors treat people, and you know it. You want to use government force to ensure the doctors will treat them. There is nothing voluntary about this exchange. By definition, you want a nanny-state that policies people (and as usual with authoritarians, you think you are helping them even if they don't want your 'help', just as advocates of mass surveillance think they are helping everyone) if they have a brain state that you don't like. The middle man you use to force your opinions on others is the government.

          • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday August 21 2015, @07:39PM

            by vux984 (5045) on Friday August 21 2015, @07:39PM (#225992)

            The travel restrictions that were in place to fight ebola? Were they an intolerable infringement on your rights?

            Yes.

            Nuff said.

            • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @08:25PM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @08:25PM (#226008)

              Yep. I'm not an authoritarian scumbag who is willing to allow the government to violate the highest law of the land for safety. The only powers the government legitimately has are those mentioned in the constitution, and if it attempts to overthrow our constitutional form of government by violating it, that is deeply unethical and The People have a duty to stop it.

              • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday August 21 2015, @08:58PM

                by vux984 (5045) on Friday August 21 2015, @08:58PM (#226022)

                Yep. I'm not an authoritarian scumbag who is willing to allow the government to violate the highest law of the land for safety.

                Correct.

                You're an entirely different kind of nutbag.

                • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @09:27PM

                  by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @09:27PM (#226042)

                  A patriot/someone who values freedom highly, if you consider that a nutbag.

                  • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday August 21 2015, @10:31PM

                    by vux984 (5045) on Friday August 21 2015, @10:31PM (#226069)

                    A patriot/someone who values freedom highly, if you consider that a nutbag.

                    A rational person balances all sorts of competing moral and practical imperatives. You only consider "freedom" to the exclusion of all else. You are an extremist.

                    You called the minimal travel restrictions and medical screening on passengers arriving from west africa an intolerable infringment of freedom. Presumably it wouldn't matter how serious the threat was.. ebola... bubonic plague... whatever rolled humanity over in The Stand. I can only presume you side with the anti-vaxxers too.

                    Yeah, that sailed right through "patriot" and deep into "nutbag" territory.

                    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @10:53PM

                      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @10:53PM (#226082)

                      A rational person

                      A rational person also can take their own values into account, which I am doing. The fact that I value freedom more than hardcore authoritarians such as yourself doesn't mean I'm not being rational. You don't get to decide that rational means having a certain set of values.

                      You are an extremist.

                      I see you as an extremist. What qualifies as "extreme" is subjective.

                      You called the minimal travel restrictions and medical screening on passengers arriving from west africa an intolerable infringment of freedom.

                      The federal government has no constitutional authority to do such a thing, and I value a government that respects the constitution more than I value physical safety.

                      I can only presume you side with the anti-vaxxers too.

                      Incorrect. Getting vaccinations is a good thing. I just wouldn't force it on others.

                      Yeah, that sailed right through "patriot" and deep into "nutbag" territory.

                      Defending the constitution and the principles to which this country is supposed to aspire is patriotic, no matter how "extreme" you think I am.

                      • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday August 21 2015, @11:08PM

                        by vux984 (5045) on Friday August 21 2015, @11:08PM (#226087)

                        The federal government has no constitutional authority to do such a thing, and I value a government that respects the constitution more than I value physical safety.

                        Yes. You've stated that you'd rather let a plague kill us all rather than see any sort of medical screening or travel restriction imposed on you. I got it.

                        Incorrect. Getting vaccinations is a good thing. I just wouldn't force it on others.

                        Not forcing it on others AND allowing them to live among us IS the problem.

                        • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday August 21 2015, @11:56PM

                          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday August 21 2015, @11:56PM (#226100)

                          Not forcing it on others AND allowing them to live among us IS the problem.

                          So you say. But that's still not being anti-vaccination, because such people tend to say that getting vaccinations provides no substantial benefits, does substantial harm (causes autism, etc.), and/or doesn't benefit others. I don't say any of that.