Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Needles & Pinheads

The Federal District has begun a clean needle program, giving Megan the chance to open a forum for her faithful to call for the execution of addicts & so on, as well as make flimsy analogies:

It's like the proverbial gas station attendant who runs around town siphoning gas out of peoples' tanks and then sells it back to them the next day.
I can't help but wonder if she has a dog in this hunt:
it rivals Solitaire and heroin for sheer mindless pleasure.
but I'm sure she's still just a wknd. sniffer/smoker, & doesn't need clean needles.

In part two of the three-part series, we get this:
Needle exchange is one of those weird areas where bourgeois morality is actually very expensive for the state to enforce.

Probably, needle exchange does lead to more drug use by lowering the cost of doing drugs. But most of us (all of us, I hope) recognize that no matter how screwed up you are, no one deserves to die of AIDS or hep C.
Probably? No, certainly! Someone in so much pain (psycho- or physiological) that they turn to powerful, addictive, illegal drugs for relief always sits down w/ the laptop & runs a cost-benefit analysis before making the reasoned, informed decision to become strung-out. Often the cost of needles is the final determinant. See? Marx was right! Everything is economic.

True glibertarian Jim checks in; he wants local gov't. to solve (finally) the problem:

Now if society were truly interested in reducing drug use, and the demand that feeds the traffic, it would have local governments poison those needles.
Another, truer glibertarian (or Death Wish-style soon-to-be spree killer) checks in:
Besides the obvious point that we let junkies suffer the logical consequences of their lifestyle choice (i.e. death) all of the time, it seems to me that with the expansion of “shall-issue” concealed carry permits in 38 States and the growing popularity of expanding the castle doctrine beyond just the home and the workplace, we may be moving towards a place where people are so fed up with crime, that junkies (and hopefully drug dealers) lose their ability to intimidate and threaten decent people who increasingly have both the means (and eventually the will) to start thinning the herd.
I've never heard of the "castle doctrine" (at least not described as such, though it's clear what it is) but I suppose that soon enough, as it expands to include any space around "decent people," it should allow for the summary execution of indecent people. They're nothing but animals anyway, thin that herd! Other "decent" people are advised to beware of poor shots, ricochets & blood spatter. Note the capitalization of "States." Well & good, but I'm inclined to think that perhaps the County should be the ultimate governmental authority. Smaller government means one isn't immorally forced to drive all the way to the state capital to shoot any one interfering w/ one's "castle."

Not "(all of us, I hope)" seem to recognize that the screwed up & addicted don't deserve to die immediately. Does Mlle. McArdle feel any "moral obligation" to tell her commenters to shut up, or to stop being blood-thirsty wanna-be Charles Bronsons? Comments will be deleted for gratuitous trolling or whatnot, but threats of vigilante murder aren't even acknowledged, let alone disagreed w/.

Part three (in its entirety, FMM saves you a click):

Of course, I neglected to mention earlier the most hideous cost of leaving drug users to share needles: they form a solid reservoir of nasty diseases that they pretty regularly pass out into the non-drug-using population. This is one of those public health measures that actually does help protect the general public from other people.
Well of course you neglected to mention it. That's what makes you you. And we wouldn't have it any other way. That, and the belief that some public health measures actually don't help protect the general public from other people. Really, it's surprising that you even find yourself
sitting in a coffee shop with five bloggers
when you could be all by yourself. Is it some sort of support group? Or self-reinforcement? Wouldn't do to have any non-bloggers in your "castle," would it?


csdenton said...

I've always joked that Libertarians ought to describe themselves as Neo-Feudalists for full accuracy. Reading about this "castle doctrine" is disturbingly close to an admission.

M. Bouffant said...

Yeah, it kills me too. Almost literally. Isn't there something in the Constitution forbidding nobility?

And the idea of the "castle" as personal space is amusing/frightening as well. I suppose those w/ more money can buy a larger "castle" around themslves. Trespassers will be shot on sight.

Anonymous said...

Then there's a lot of evidence from Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK, that the best way of dealing with heroin addiction is not just to provide clean needles, but to make heroin available on prescription.
Out-of-date summary here.
People receiving prescribed heroin rather than prescribed methadone are healthier and more likely to be working at a paid job rather than in prison for stealing things... from an economist's perspective, this is surely a Good Thing.

Anonymous said...

That "proverbial gas station attendant" analogy is almost painful. You'd think an English major, of all people, would actually know what the word "proverbial" meant, let alone be able to recognize the hollow comparison she's trying to make.

M. Bouffant said...

CP, you would think. I've no idea what the English major of today (or 15 yrs. ago, in MM's case) consists of, but it doesn't seem like much. Not really the same as a "How to Write Good" [sic] course anyway, perhaps we should give up & leave the poor woma...Ahhh, no.

Herr Doktor is in!! And right, too. The biggest drawback to heroin addiction is its illegality, which is what makes it so damned expensive in the first place. Were skag legal, the average junkie would be no more of a problem than a functioning alkie. Maybe even less, you don't hear much about people on the nod getting into bar fights or beating their spouses.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I neglected to mention earlier the most hideous cost of leaving drug users to share needles: they form a solid reservoir of nasty diseases

IMHO opinion, that was the most offensive choice of words in the whole misinformed rant. I mean, the status quo is not a case of benign neglect where drug users are left to share needles if they want to. They are forced to share needles, because possession of a needle is a feckin' criminal offense.
She has somehow acquired this notion of the drug culture as a squalid, ugly scene where addicts pass around the needles as a kind of social bond. Of course they are a prey to their compulsions, and could not stop themselves if they wanted to. Perhaps she read too many issues of Reader's Digest at an impressionable age.

Anonymous said...

Were skag legal, the average junkie would be no more of a problem than a functioning alkie.
Case in point.

Anonymous said...

Herr Doktor,
My guess is that everything Megan and some of her less-than-compassionate sycophants know about drug abusers was learned from after school specials and multiple viewings of The Basketball Diaries.

Anonymous said...

She's certainly showing no interest in learning any better...

Probably, needle exchange does lead to more drug use by lowering the cost of doing drugs.

If anyone is interested in evidence rather than speculations divined from the bottom of a martini glass, then Sadly, No! According to the results from umpteen needle-exchange schemes trialled around the world, incentivising people to become drug addicts by removing the requirement to use dirty needles does not increase drug use. The relevant journal articles are not downloadable for free, alas, and I can't be arsed checking them at the library.

The earlier UK experience is interesting. Until the 1960s, heroin was legally available, resulting in a total number of 364 heroin prescriptions in 1964. This number was sufficiently large and alarming for the newspapers to create a moral panic. Policies were changed in the late 60s / early 70s to make prescriptions almost unobtainable.
This promptly created a market; networks of dealers sprang up; big business of the criminal kind became involved; drug use expanded exponentially, and in 1994 the estimated number of addicts was between 100 000 and 160 000. Let's hear it for market forces!