Tuesday, June 15, 2004

New neighbor in the Bloggerhood

I guess I have Pete at Drug War Rant to blame, 'um I mean thank, for introducing us. Goddess help me, I have no free time but I've added the Vice Squad to my list of daily reads. I had to do it, Jim and the VS team are doing some great posting over there. For instance, you can find out how slot machines are regulated in Las Vegas. Let me tell you if voting machines were as well monitored as slots, we wouldn't have to be worried about the Bush brothers finding a way to queer the next election with those Diebolds.

I also particularly enjoyed (well enjoyed is not quite right but I found it interesting) reading about Alcohol Prohibition Deaths in Iran. Jim notes that as alcohol was prohibited in 1979 there, so was a black market created and since it's unregulated, (not unlike the current prohibition against some drugs in this country), the quality and the safety of the product is uneven at best.

At least 19 have died and 60 have been poisoned from drinking bootleg booze distilled from methanol (an ingredient in anti-freeze). And as fabled in the history of alcohol prohibition in the US, several have gone blind in Iran from drinking this poison.

It's not unlike the unregulated chemical drugs that flood the underground markets in our own inner cities. Take Anchorage - a place I wouldn't expect to have a heroin problem - where they had 5 overdose deaths in the month of May alone. Whether it's because the dope is tainted or simply too pure, either way people are dying unnecessarily.

As Anchorage Police Lt. Caroline Stevens puts it, "This is not a product that's controlled by the FDA. This is a product that you have no idea what is going into it. It's made on the street, there's toxins in it." And you the taxpayer, are footing the bill for the social costs, the medical costs and the related crime costs that come with an unregulated industry.

You might as well face it, they're addicted to drugs out there. You can't force them to stop with threats of incarceration (or in some countries, even death.) Why not try to help them instead by providing a safe and legal environment and health counseling?


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