Opiates in America
JILL'S WALL OF HEROES
Congressman Dr. Ron Paul
Nobel Laureate, the late Dr. Milton Friedman
CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com (YouTube video)
[Ed. Note] Linda Christas College does not encourage the use of drugs of any kind, including alcohol or opiates. However, this student article contains a point of view that the College administration believes worthy of being heard.
In literature, the name Charles Dickens is synonymous with championing the downtrodden. Without exception, Dickens' name appears when respected literary critics are asked to identify a "top ten." Several leading sociologists have cited Dickens' work as the greatest influence for social good of the past two hundred years.
Florence Nightingale, known to the world as the "Saint of the Crimean War," worked well past the point of exhaustion for several years, sacrificing herself in order to treat wounded military personnel. She also established nursing procedures and standards, many of which are still in use today.
Elizabeth Barret Browning and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are perennially named to lists of the West's greatest poets.
We indeed are familiar with these household names, even though, as in the case of Marcus Aurelius, two millennia have passed since his death.
However, one interesting reality with which many of us are not familiar is that all of these individuals were life-long opiate users, finding comfort in them at a time when others were, as today, ruining their lives, and the lives of their families, with another drug, alcohol.
This essay is not a call for the abolition of alcohol. We in the US tried that from 1919 to 1933.
We learned much as a result of the social experiment referred to as the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution. For instance, the overall consumption of alcohol actually increased during Prohibition. In New York City alone there were upwards by one estimate of 100,000 speakeasys.
Upon the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the consumption of alcohol dropped by 8% overall for a decade thereafter.
Congressman Dr. Ron Paul
Another effect of the Harris Tax Act is the planet-leading incarceration rate of the US. The Country now leads the world in the number of its people in prison, a large percentage having been convicted of possession or sale of opiates.
Congress wonders why less than 30% of their fellow Americans would have them remain in power if given an alternative.
Governments never seem to learn one valuable lesson: People will only allow themselves to be oppressed for a time and to a certain degree. After that, a government no longer speaks to the hearts and minds of its citizenry. When that occurs, people begin earnestly to seek ways of removing those who deliver speeches relative to freedom, but follow them up with additional freedom-robbing laws, ordinances and regulations.
Few Americans are aware that their governing bodies local, state and federal pass a huge number of additional laws annually. For example, on average each state legislature passes 2,000 new laws every year. On top of that, countless local and federal mandates are introduced and signed into law. How long can this situation go uncorrected?
As a college student scheduled to graduate in June of 2011, I am attempting to express my views regarding opiates in the United States.
In contrast to the experience of my 19th century ancestors, made known to me through their diaries, my family has been plagued by alcohol abuse since the passage of the Harrison Tax Act in 1914 which in effect made opiates illegal in the US.
When drinking alcohol, you might say our men become uncontrollable.
Dr. Milton Friedman
Opiates have been demonstrated to be not only effective for alleviating depression, but they also produce a result on personal behavior that is diametrically opposed to that of alcohol in nearly all people. That is, opiates calm people, generally make them pleasant to be around, and, in the end, induce sleep.
People who use opiates don't as a rule murder others, beat their spouses, or run down children with their automobiles, despite what the power elite in the US might have us believe.
As the late Dr. Milton Friedman said, "If opiates were legal, ten thousand homicides per year would be prevented, and this does not include death at the hands of the police that is so common when they are called upon to handle alcohol induced violence."
Opiate using households tend to remain intact, police involvement is rarely necessary (it was only when, for example, gin began to be sold at prices the masses could afford in England that an organized police force became important there), and children do not experience the kind of trauma that is often provided them by alcohol dependent parents.
When opiates and alcohol are both legal, gangs and outlaws generally have a difficult time making the substances profitable.
When opiates and alcohol are both legal and taxed, government revenues are increased by an average 6% overall. In addition, revenues previously dedicated to fighting a losing battle on drugs become available for other purposes.
It is well known that, in Russia, the average age at death for men is approximately 60 years, largely due to vodka consumption. In addition, the poor behaviors associated with vodka in Russia are so troublesome that the typical Russian greeting among men is "Do you still respect me," meaning that very few men are certain from one day to the next just how much shame they have brought upon themselves and their families as a result of their consumption of alcohol.
Turning to another concern, the raising of opiates in places like Mexico, Afghanistan, Columbia, Venezuela, and elsewhere, one finds that the growers are receiving very little money for their effort. Most of the time it is barely above subsistence payments. And, yet, when they look up in the sky, they see emblazoned on the sides of the aircraft engaged in poisoning their environment letters announcing UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
On the other hand, the so-called drug cartels are enabled by the US government's ineffectiveness, combined with citizen disregard for rules passed without their consent, to realize huge profits from the sale of opiates in America.
Repeatedly, the US government has admitted to having failed to control the flow of drugs into the Country, capturing and seizing less than 10% of the opiates crossing its borders annually.
In addition, three million Americans are now serving sentences in US prisons, a very large percentage incarcerated for providing a service citizens clearly want.
In other words, the US government has imprisoned more of its citizens than China, North Korea, Burma or any other country we wish to name. America is currently the world's most enthusiastic jailer, while politicians from the ruling class continue to assure those remaining free that they are the freest people on planet Earth.
This is all to say, America has been on the wrong track for almost 100 years with respect to the opiates.
And, we have not as yet even considered in this essay the billions of dollars in property losses due to drug related theft each year.
Drug Cartel Money and Guns
Harry Truman once said, "Any politician who comes to Washington as a middle class citizen and ends his tenure a millionaire is a crook. There is no question about it, he's a crook."
Frankly, I don't believe American citizens care much whether their government is made up of crooks. Corruption and power have a way of seeking each other out everywhere.
What they, the people of the US, would like though is for the crooks to get off their collective backs.
I desperately want to be a loyal American. However, with the current level of government intrusion, if I behave loyally, I will be forced to live my life as a prisoner in my own home.