A Closer Look at Legalizing Heroin


Addicts need medical support like heroin maintenance, which is illegal in the U.S. thanks to the war on drugs.

Valerie Vande Panne  writes;  A great entertainer overdosed on heroin two weeks ago. He was found dead, a needle hanging from his arm. Dozens of empty drug baggies were found strewn around his apartment.He was considered a fantastic actor. Influential. Powerful. Insightful. Potent. Everyone, by this time, knows this man’s name. It’s been plastered across the media landscape not just in the United States, but worldwide: Philip Seymour Hoffman.In the days since, there’s been all kinds of chatter about the evils of heroin or the need for better drug education. But there hasn’t been much talk about the painful, obvious, cold, hard truth: Heroin should be regulated—and not only because science says so, but because, (and again, let’s be honest) look around.

Drug prohibition didn’t keep us from this great cultural loss. In fact, drug prohibition causes thousands of unnamed human losses we suffer day after day, month after month, year after year in this country. Think of the person you know (or your friend who knows someone) who has died because of a heroin, or opiate, overdose. Say their name—because they deserve to be remembered, as much as Hoffman does. And because in a health-centered, rather than law enforcement-centered, world, they didn’t have to die.According to the Center for Disease Control, “opioid analgesics, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, were involved in about 3 of every 4 pharmaceutical overdose deaths” and “38,329 people died from a drug overdose in the United States in 2010.” According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, from 2006-2010, that was a 21% increase.Death by heroin increased 45 percent during the same time frame.

Allan Clear is executive director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, a non-profit organization that advocates for injection drug users in the United States. When I contacted Clear to comment, he started by reviewing Hoffman’s history. “He had problems when he was younger, got help, then he was using pills, then he switched to heroin,” Clear noted.

In fact, pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycontin that are one of the primary reasons we have an opiate addiction crisis in the U.S. in the first place…

 Read the rest…

The Daily Beast

One Comment on “A Closer Look at Legalizing Heroin”

  1. jrbenjamin says:

    Very interesting. I think there are compelling reasons for legalization; but as we’re seeing with marijuana, a state-by-state program may be the best way forward. Eventually, perhaps, we will see this happen (I hope so, because Lord knows our current system is broken), but I’d guess it will be after many years (and many more tragic deaths).

    Thanks for the reblog.

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