Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Health Care and Drug Policy

Who saw Sicko this weekend? I did. And I think it's worth seeing, no matter where you fall in the political spectrum, if only to get a better sense of where the national dialog on the health care issue is evolving in the U.S.

Like it our not, Democrats have the majority in Congress. And Pew reports that 69% of Americans think that the government should take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, which is up from 57% in 1994, the year that the GOP took Congress.

So, what does this have to do with drug policy reform? It has everything to do with drug policy reform.

As we reformers move forward with our intention to replace drug prohibition with sensible alternatives, we are constantly forced to propose a model for those alternatives. This is underscored by the fact that the majority of Americans, when polled, believe that the War on Drugs has failed and can never be won, and yet, the majority of Americans fail to embrace legalization.

And can we blame them? "Legalization" is a scary word to many, especially if unaccompanied by the specifics of what a post-prohibitionist world would look like. So, I'd like to challenge you to propose those specifics, by answering the following two questions in the comments:

1) What post-prohibitionist drug policy model would you prefer? Should drugs be tightly regulated by the government, or should they be sold on the free market with little government intervention? Or would you prefer a model that fits somewhere in between?

2) If you don't get your way on question 1, would the alternative be preferable to prohibition? For example, if you favor free market capitalism, would tight regulation or distribution by the government be better or worse than the current War on Drugs?

Post your answers to these questions in the comments.


Anonymous said...

sale of weed, shrooms and other organics are regulated like booze, with no regulation on growing your own. LSD is available at rite aid. Heroin, coke and X are a little tighter without driving purchases to the black market; meth like needle exchanges today.

Anonymous said...

would you like examples of the immense power of and corrupt relationships among the drug testing industrial complex CEOs and our government's faithful servants? the boys overseeing these testing giants (unregulated monopolies)find lots of room to snuggle-up with them in bed.

JT Barrie said...

I would prefer elimination of well rewarded "gatekeepers" like the AMA,FDA,DEA,and the Health Care lobby of insurance companies. Open up the health care field to more lower level providers and alternative medicine. That's what keeps up prices!
I would then revamp the education system to make drug education more comprehensive. Stop actively discouraging diet and exercise. Except that I would change diet to nutrition. Replace the FDA with the FTC and regulate advertisement of drugs and health care devices. We need fewer gatekeepers and more information available. We need more education to empower self medication and therapy for those who can't afford physical trainers, private gyms, and doctors with 7 year degrees [when a two year degree would suffice for 90% of ailments - since most ailments are self inflicted by decadent lifestyles].

Anonymous said...

What if the US adopted (just for the time being) European policies on everything ever? As I sit here and listen to the little children playing peacefully outside my office I can't help but think, 'It ain't all that bad' Also, the US should FREE SOUTH AMERICA (pretty please)

Anonymous said...

i think the most importantly thing is obviously achieving legalization. whether we allow drugs to be sold in stores in a free market system, and which drugs, and whether we allow advertising for them like we do alcohol, or whether all drugs must be obtained by prescription basis and controlled by the government, is vastly secondary to the need to get them legalized in the first place. i belieive 100% that, although some would call the statement ridiculous, that drug legalization is the most important issue of our generation. discrimination against drug users affects way more people much more harshly than does discrimination against women, homosexuals, or minorities. not to mention hurting everyone else as well through crime and the huge taxes needed to fund prohibition (more per year than the war in iraq by some estimates). and most sickenly perhaps, ruining millions of innocent people's lives.

but yeah, i think that any concoction of drugs that cannot kill you, such as marijuana/hallucinegens, or more dangerous drugs like alcohol or opiates in a liquid format that you cannot die from should be allowed to be sold in stores but not allowed to be advertised for (for instance no smirnoff ice commercials). by "not being able to kill you" i mean like the difference between beer and vodka. your stomache cannot take in enough beer to die of alcohol poisoning. if drugs were legal the majority of heroin and cocaine use would be in drinks like this and would cut down on OD's and extreme physical addiction in regards to opiates drastically.

all preparations of drugs that can kill you- injectable heroin, powdered cocaine, hard alcohol, should only be sold at speciaized stores like is done with hard alcohol in most states, where liquor stores are state run. i think that these should be more in the medical realm than the state realm though. but i dont think this is as big an issue. i dont think hardly anyone would continue to sniff cocaine or inject heroin when you could by them in liquid solution, or even smokable solutions as well. when drugs were legal in pre-harrison act years they were almost always ingested orally or through smoking, not sniffed or injected.

finaly, i do agree that Sicko obviously draws attention to healthcare problems in the U.S. but i think alot of liberals/libertarians like the majority of those like us who support legalization are actually not well served by Moore. his films are, whether you like it or not usually filled with lies and gives those who support the issues of his films a bad name. and also, he is definitely NOT someone who is in favor of drug legaliztion based on everything ive read about him. and is also anti-gun, which i feel is an issue very closely related to the right to use drugs, and i think that extreme gun-control would create many of the same problems created by drug-prohibition.

J. Langness University of Washington Chapter of SSDP

Anonymous said...

We need a post drug war policy that reform advocates can quickly site in debates and in the media.

Interviews on marijuana prohibition usually break down into drug "legalization" arguments. That scares off Americans. We need to be a web site with a policy statement that can be quickly rattled off in debates.

Something like the PostProhibition.org or something similar. It could be a clearing house for ideas and policy focusing on the end of prohibition.

We are faced with two burdens. 1) Showing how the War on Drugs is a failure and 2) Proposing an alternative.

What do I endorse-Pot joins alcohol in regulation. Meth/Heroin get government distribution for addicts. Drugs in the middle get a new class of private/public supply.

Anonymous said...

My take, a multi level system based on how harmful and addictive the drug is.

Marijuana: Sold anyplace you can buy smokes at. And, tying into health care reform, tax it. $10 or so for the cost of the smokes and $10 in taxes that could be used to fund health care for all.

Pretty much the rest: You go and see some sort of drug expert or doctor and request a prescription for X. The person informs you on things like how to minimize harms and avoid becoming physically addicted and then writes you out something like a prescription, with unlimited refills, and you go to your local pharmacy. And you know what? You tax it and use the money to pay for health care.

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