Many prior 2 Paragraphs editions have outlined how our government’s policy of Drug Prohibition is killing people, both through the absence of quality control as well as the rampant violence of Mexican drug cartels and juvenile street gangs which emanates from the sales of illicit drugs.  But now we can update those unnecessary deaths with the current so-called opioid crisis.  Yes, drug “overdose” deaths have increased recently, many coming in combination with alcohol and other substances.  But a closer look at the news reports shows that many of these deaths are caused by the synthetic form of heroin called fentanyl.  This is manufactured in Mainland China that is as much as 50 times more potent than heroin, such that a sugar-packet-sized bag of it is strong enough to kill 500 people!  But, since it is so potent, only small amounts are needed, and they can be shipped into our country without detection fairly easily.  So it is the absence of quality control and accurate labeling caused by the illicit market spawned by Drug Prohibition that is killing so many people.

As reported on October 21, 2018 in the Orange County Register, the Zheng drug trafficking organization in Shanghai advertises and sells fentanyl and its synthetic cousins quite cheaply and openly in 35 languages on the internet.  And since the DEA is now monitoring our country’s medical doctors so strongly when they prescribe narcotics as pain medication, many doctors are hesitant to provide them to their patients.  So this either leaves the patients in needless pain, or forces them to seek relief from street drugs, like heroin.  And the result?  Last year there were 28,826 recorded deaths in our country from overdoses linked to synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl, which is up from “only” 3,100 such deaths in 2013.  But in countries that do not prosecute the possession and use of heroin, such as Portugal and the Netherlands, fentanyl is virtually unknown.  So, for all of the potential harm that can be caused by heroin, don’t you agree that the quality control and death prevention efforts would be better left in the hands of a legal market overseen by medical professionals, than an illegal one overseen by mobsters?  In other words, the term “Controlled Substances” is the biggest oxymoron in the English language.  Why?  Because as soon as we prohibit a substance, we leave all of the control regarding quantity, quality and age restrictions in the hands of the bad guys!  There must be, and is, a better way!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President