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    Drug Users Are Ultimately Responsible
    By Laurence M. Vance
    October 15, 2019

    Opioids are narcotics used for pain relief and for their euphoric effects.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of opioids: prescription, fentanyl, and heroin:
    Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but can also have serious risks and side effects. Common types are oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, and methadone.
    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Illegally made and distributed fentanyl has been on the rise in several states.
    Heroin is an illegal opioid. Heroin use has increased across the U.S. among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels.

    According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there is an opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2018:
    130 people died every day from opiod-related drug overdoses
    47,600 people died from overdosing on opioids
    81,000 people used heroin for the first time
    2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time
    32,656 deaths attributed to overdosing on synthetic opioids other than methadone
    10.3 million people misused prescription opioids
    2 million people had an opioid use disorder
    808,000 people used heroin
    15,349 deaths attributed to overdosing on heroin

    And how did this epidemic come about? According to HHS:
    In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.
    Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.

    In 2017, HHS declared a public health emergency and announced a 5-point strategy to combat the opioid crisis:
    Improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services
    Target the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs
    Strengthen public health data reporting and collection
    Support cutting-edge research on addiction and pain
    Advance the practice of pain management

    Government attempts to combat the opioid epidemic are doomed to fail. Nowhere on the CDC or HHS websites are opioid users said to be responsible for their actions. If only the government, society, the medical community, and mental health professionals did more of this or that, tried this or that, or had more money to do either, then we would not have such an opioid epidemic in the United States.

    Purdue Pharma, the maker of the popular opioid OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy protection last month after the filing of more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the opioid epidemic. The states are salivating over the prospects of getting billions of dollars from the company.

    And it’s not just Purdue Pharma that is under attack, “big pharma” and the physicians who prescribe its drugs are increasingly being made out to be monsters.

    Now, I am no fan of the pharmaceutical industry, and I stay away from doctors as much as possible. But whatever their share of the blame for the opioid epidemic, there is someone that I never hear blamed for being addicted to or overdosing on opioids: the opioid user.

    Drug users are ultimately responsible for the negative consequences of their actions.

    I write often about the evils of the government’s war on drugs. Throughout all of my articles I make clear the libertarian position on the drug war:
    There should be no laws at any level of government for any reason regarding the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, or possessing of any drug for any reason.
    It is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.
    The war on drugs should and could be ended immediately and completely. All drug laws should be repealed, all non-violent drug offenders should be pardoned and released from prison, and all government agencies devoted to fighting the drug war should be eliminated.
    There should be a free market in drugs without any government interference, regulation, taxing, or licensing.

    But with freedom comes responsibility.

    Just because libertarians believe that “illegal” drugs should be legal, doesn’t mean that we believe that these drugs are harmless, beneficial, safe, or healthy. To the contrary, they may be addictive, dangerous, destructive, or deadly. Using drugs may ruin you financially and cost you your health, your mind, your job, your status, your reputation, your family, your friends, or your life.

    But whatever the negative consequences of using drugs, there is one person who is ultimately responsible for whatever happens to him: the drug user.

    In a free society, individuals, not government bureaucrats, decide what risks they are willing to take and what behaviors are in their own best interests. A free society has to include the right of people to take risks, practice bad habits, partake of addictive conduct, engage in self-destructive behavior, live an unhealthy lifestyle, participate in immoral activities, and undertake dangerous actions—including the use and abuse of drugs.

    But then they are responsible for their choices and actions. State and local governments shouldn’t be spending one penny on any drug user’s drug-related medical treatment. If you overdose on OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, or any other drug, then you pay the hospital bill—if you make it to the hospital. If you need a clean needle, then you pay the bill. If you need help getting off drugs, then you pay the bill. With freedom comes responsibility. You are ultimately responsible.
    The state — whatever its particular forms — always expresses itself as a collective form of property ownership. All political systems are socialistic, in that they are premised upon the subservience of individual interests to collective authority. Communism, fascism, lesser forms of state socialism, and welfarism, are all premised upon the state’s usurpation of privately-owned property. Whether one chooses to be aligned with the political "Left," "Right," or "Middle," comes down to nothing more than a preference for a particular franchise of state socialism.

  • #2
    Outstanding piece here Mr. Vance.

    That said, let's discuss the points made. "I don't like it" isn't good enough...

    You are responsible is always what I have said....
    The state — whatever its particular forms — always expresses itself as a collective form of property ownership. All political systems are socialistic, in that they are premised upon the subservience of individual interests to collective authority. Communism, fascism, lesser forms of state socialism, and welfarism, are all premised upon the state’s usurpation of privately-owned property. Whether one chooses to be aligned with the political "Left," "Right," or "Middle," comes down to nothing more than a preference for a particular franchise of state socialism.

    Comment


    • #3
      Purdue Pharma was really sleazy. They pushed the most powerful opiates available at the time. Good to see them go under.

      Of course addicts are responsible for the results of their own decisions. But, there is a lot of brainwashing pushing them in that direction too. Those who promote drugs and drug use are not without responsibility for they present drugs as basically harmless and as a "right" for anyone who desires to use them. Knowing the harm drugs cause pushing their legality and use carries it's own responsibility. Anyone who claims to be a Christian cannot avoid that responsibility for the very basis of Christianity is to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is not loving to tell people drugs should be legal and they should be free to use them when drug usage carries such negative results.

      I speak from the position of someone who spent a lot of time destroying myself with drugs. The results were not pretty. Fortunately for me God interposed in my life. He gave me the ability to stop using and gave me back the attributes drugs had destroyed. Without God's intervention I'd be dead or institutionalized long ago for I had done serious damage to myself with all my drug use. God is good. Drugs are evil.
      “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
      ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

      “One and God make a majority.”
      ― Frederick Douglass

      Comment


      • #4
        This was a bigger issue than "should all drugs be legal?"

        Where pharmaceutical companies got themselves in trouble was in assuring doctors that their research showed these to be safe and non-addictive, and in planning to sell more of it to patients who thereby became addicted.

        Patients who in good faith, trusted doctors and drug companies, and thereby became addicted, are not in any sense responsible for those addictions. And since addiction is not and never has been, an issue of "will power", such people were either lucky or unlucky in their response to the medications.

        Pretty much the same as tobacco companies, which promoted cigarettes as safe, (occasionally touting them as "good for you") while at the same time, knowing that they were unhealthy and dangerous.

        And it's not surprising that they would be held accountable for it.
        This message is hidden because ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by drbrumley View Post
          Drug Users Are Ultimately Responsible
          By Laurence M. Vance
          October 15, 2019

          Opioids are narcotics used for pain relief and for their euphoric effects.

          According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of opioids: prescription, fentanyl, and heroin:
          Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but can also have serious risks and side effects. Common types are oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, and methadone.
          Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Illegally made and distributed fentanyl has been on the rise in several states.
          Heroin is an illegal opioid. Heroin use has increased across the U.S. among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels.

          According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there is an opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2018:
          130 people died every day from opiod-related drug overdoses
          47,600 people died from overdosing on opioids
          81,000 people used heroin for the first time
          2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time
          32,656 deaths attributed to overdosing on synthetic opioids other than methadone
          10.3 million people misused prescription opioids
          2 million people had an opioid use disorder
          808,000 people used heroin
          15,349 deaths attributed to overdosing on heroin

          And how did this epidemic come about? According to HHS:
          In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.
          Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.

          In 2017, HHS declared a public health emergency and announced a 5-point strategy to combat the opioid crisis:
          Improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services
          Target the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs
          Strengthen public health data reporting and collection
          Support cutting-edge research on addiction and pain
          Advance the practice of pain management

          Government attempts to combat the opioid epidemic are doomed to fail. Nowhere on the CDC or HHS websites are opioid users said to be responsible for their actions. If only the government, society, the medical community, and mental health professionals did more of this or that, tried this or that, or had more money to do either, then we would not have such an opioid epidemic in the United States.

          Purdue Pharma, the maker of the popular opioid OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy protection last month after the filing of more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the opioid epidemic. The states are salivating over the prospects of getting billions of dollars from the company.

          And it’s not just Purdue Pharma that is under attack, “big pharma” and the physicians who prescribe its drugs are increasingly being made out to be monsters.

          Now, I am no fan of the pharmaceutical industry, and I stay away from doctors as much as possible. But whatever their share of the blame for the opioid epidemic, there is someone that I never hear blamed for being addicted to or overdosing on opioids: the opioid user.

          Drug users are ultimately responsible for the negative consequences of their actions.

          I write often about the evils of the government’s war on drugs. Throughout all of my articles I make clear the libertarian position on the drug war:
          There should be no laws at any level of government for any reason regarding the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, or possessing of any drug for any reason.
          It is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.
          The war on drugs should and could be ended immediately and completely. All drug laws should be repealed, all non-violent drug offenders should be pardoned and released from prison, and all government agencies devoted to fighting the drug war should be eliminated.
          There should be a free market in drugs without any government interference, regulation, taxing, or licensing.

          But with freedom comes responsibility.

          Just because libertarians believe that “illegal” drugs should be legal, doesn’t mean that we believe that these drugs are harmless, beneficial, safe, or healthy. To the contrary, they may be addictive, dangerous, destructive, or deadly. Using drugs may ruin you financially and cost you your health, your mind, your job, your status, your reputation, your family, your friends, or your life.

          But whatever the negative consequences of using drugs, there is one person who is ultimately responsible for whatever happens to him: the drug user.

          In a free society, individuals, not government bureaucrats, decide what risks they are willing to take and what behaviors are in their own best interests. A free society has to include the right of people to take risks, practice bad habits, partake of addictive conduct, engage in self-destructive behavior, live an unhealthy lifestyle, participate in immoral activities, and undertake dangerous actions—including the use and abuse of drugs.

          But then they are responsible for their choices and actions. State and local governments shouldn’t be spending one penny on any drug user’s drug-related medical treatment. If you overdose on OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, or any other drug, then you pay the hospital bill—if you make it to the hospital. If you need a clean needle, then you pay the bill. If you need help getting off drugs, then you pay the bill. With freedom comes responsibility. You are ultimately responsible.
          I realize this is somebody else's article but I couldn't resist shedding light on it.

          POTD
          Last edited by Poly; October 16th, 2019, 11:45 AM.
          "The most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan



          Check out the "rightest" of all right wing moms. FarRightMom


          Upgrade your TOL membership.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have two words to say to the OP: "Rush Limbaugh." Oh, and one more: "OxyContin."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by User Name View Post
              I have two words to say to the OP: "Rush Limbaugh." Oh, and one more: "OxyContin."
              And?
              "The most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan



              Check out the "rightest" of all right wing moms. FarRightMom


              Upgrade your TOL membership.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Poly View Post
                And?
                I thought it would have been rather obvious. No less a rabid right wing reactionary conservative than Rush Limbaugh became a "drug addict"! His former housekeeper claimed that Limbaugh got her to supply him with thousands of doses of pain pills from 1998 to 2002. Several years later, he was arrested and charged with "doctor shopping" in order to obtain more drugs.

                The conclusion of the article in the OP is absolute garbage. I'm referring specifically to the following quote:


                State and local governments shouldn’t be spending one penny on any drug user’s drug-related medical treatment. If you overdose on OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, or any other drug, then you pay the hospital bill—if you make it to the hospital. If you need a clean needle, then you pay the bill. If you need help getting off drugs, then you pay the bill. With freedom comes responsibility. You are ultimately responsible.



                I'm all for freedom and responsibility, but once people become addicted, they are, by the very meaning of the word "addicted," neither free nor responsible. Addiction to prescription medications can happen through no fault of one's own, and in fact it can happen without the person even realizing it until some point after the addiction has set in. This is especially true with pain medications that are prescribed by doctors.

                Rush Limbaugh was fortunate in that he was in a position to afford the best therapy money could buy to treat his addiction. Most people are not so fortunate, but Mr. Vance (the author of the article in the OP) couldn't care less. He writes, "State and local governments shouldn’t be spending one penny on any drug user’s drug-related medical treatment," and he laments the fact that "Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection last month after the filing of more than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the company helped fuel the opioid epidemic." He comes to this conclusion even after admitting that "pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive." So he admits that Purdue Pharma both lied about the addictive nature of its product and pushed and promoted its sale and use to the fullest extent possible. Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler Family, got filthy rich off of their lies about the addictive nature of their product, so why shouldn't they be held liable for the aftermath?
                Last edited by User Name; October 16th, 2019, 05:27 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by User Name View Post

                  I'm all for freedom and responsibility,
                  sorry I couldn't tell.
                  The state — whatever its particular forms — always expresses itself as a collective form of property ownership. All political systems are socialistic, in that they are premised upon the subservience of individual interests to collective authority. Communism, fascism, lesser forms of state socialism, and welfarism, are all premised upon the state’s usurpation of privately-owned property. Whether one chooses to be aligned with the political "Left," "Right," or "Middle," comes down to nothing more than a preference for a particular franchise of state socialism.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Addiction isn't a choice. It's a biochemical process. If you are exposed, you either have the propensity to become addicted or you don't.

                    It's not a moral issue. It's not a matter of willpower.

                    The people who trusted their doctors (who trusted the drug companies who lied about the addictive nature of those drugs) didn't choose to become addicted.

                    The Sackler family, however, did have a choice as to whether or not they would lie about the true nature of the drug in order get more addicted patients who would then provide a reliable income for the drugs they were pushing.

                    If there's any justice in the world at all, they will all be financially ruined.
                    This message is hidden because ...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by drbrumley View Post
                      sorry I couldn't tell.
                      You may be surprised to know that I went through a libertarian phase that lasted about a decade. I donated to Ron Paul's presidential campaign in 2008--my first and only campaign donations. I bought a lifetime membership in the Libertarian Party. I even considered running for public office as a Libertarian. I didn't, but I did give it some real thought. I'm happy to say that my political views have improved considerably since then.

                      Libertarianism lacks nuance and pragmatism. It is not very deep thinking. However, I still take the libertarian position on some issues. For example, I agree with the OP that the war on drugs is wrong, a dismal failure, has done more harm than good, and should be ended. But that doesn't mean that I think pharmaceutical companies shouldn't be held liable for manufacturing and hard-selling dangerously addictive drugs, especially when it can be demonstrated that they knowingly lied to everyone about these effects. So while I agree that the "war on drugs" must end, that doesn't mean that I think there shouldn't be any regulation of drugs at all.

                      Comment

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