Opinion: If NJ Legalizes Drugs, Fewer People Will Die
A drug dealer from Camden County was just sentenced to seven years in prison for the death of a man who bought heroin from him. The man who died is from my town, but I don't know him. What we all know is that nobody forced him to buy or take the drugs, but still someone should be held liable and we take it out on the drug dealer. Of course our hearts go out to the family of this man and anyone who's had to endure someone in their family battling the horrors of addiction. Drug dealing is illegal and it's one of the reasons why taking drugs is so fraught with peril. If you don't get mugged or shot going to places they sell drugs, the stuff you're buying is unregulated, uncontrolled and unaccountable to anyone.
In case you're wondering, I hate drugs, don't use them and don't advocate anyone using them. Especially in the way we handle the situation here and in most places in the world, except places like Portugal. That country decriminalized ALL drugs almost two decades ago, with surprising results. Addiction rates are down, along with teen usage and violence.
No one in "the war on drugs" wants to talk about that because it doesn't fit their narrative. The one that says drugs are bad and we must illuminate this scourge at any cost. And the cost is high. The black market that is a result of criminalizing drug use has increased violent crime, drug overdoses and enriching drug cartels and gangs all over the world.
It's not like we haven't seen this movie before. The criminalization of alcohol, know as prohibition, increased violent crime, resulted in deaths due to impure alcohol products, and grew the American mafia and other criminal organizations to epic proportions. But for some inexplicable reason, no one in power seems to want to even have a reasoned discussion on attacking this problem in another way. It's starting to happen with marijuana, but mostly by politicians who want to rake in big tax money to fuel their political empires.
Drug use is a social and medical problem. Jailing drug dealers and drug users, wasting time and money and acting like a dog chasing it's tail is doing no one in society any good. Go to the place where the Marlton man who died bought his heroin, and you'll surely be able to find someone to buy drugs from, even though the man who sold it to him will be spending 7 years is jail. Someone has taken his place. It's how this stupid, futile system works. Until we replace the politicians and law enforcement leaders with people who will have an honest look at the problem, more people will die every day.