Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Vested Interest in the War on Drug Consumers

Here's another letter to the editor that I had published a few months ago in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Larry Counts runs a drug-rehabilitation center that exists by virtue of the taxpayers:

Re Larry Counts’s Voices article “Aid for substance abuse is at hand”: It is hard to see what Counts means when he says drug addiction is a disease. People become addicted by willfully taking drugs repeatedly, and countless people become unaddicted by willfully stopping the taking of drugs, often without any outside help. This does not sound like disease.

Also puzzling is Counts’s attitude toward state-exercised violence. Clearly, he believes that the state is justified in banning certain drugs, even though people routinely consume them peacefully and in moderation. Moreover, his silence on whether drug consumers should be forced into what he calls treatment implies that he believes this is an appropriate use of coercion. But some people don’t want treatment. They submit to it only because a judge has threatened them with prison if they don’t. Finally, Counts advocates forcing taxpayers to finance drug treatment. Why should non-drug-consuming citizens have to pay the bills of drug-consuming citizens? That's a poor way to teach self-responsibility.

A civil society would forbid all the coercion that Counts champions and profits from. The proper rule is simple: Ingest what you want and pay for it, along with any unpleasant consequences that may ensue.


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