There is an opioid crisis now. White suburbanites, sometimes young, middle class, white suburbanites, are dying. So now there’s a crisis. It’s a crisis we can’t arrest our way out of either. I agree 100%. The fact that we obviously can’t incarcerate our way out of any of our narco-alco-substance abuse problems is equally obvious.
I’m not at all surprised, but I am angered by the fact that one white teenager’s death gets people thinking outside the box of The War on Drugs, but thousands of communities terrorized by the obligatory violence that a black market system creates only elicits an idiotic ratcheting up of the same failed policy. I’ll admit to a libertarian streak regarding drugs and alcohol; police intervention should occur only when the behavior impacts on others.
I’m not causing the uptick in heroin deaths. My attitude has no impact on the number of people who make the decision to use heroin. If this “crisis” can be used to alter drug policy, moving it away from a criminal justice response, and towards a health care/intervention response then so much the better. Poverty creates its own problems and its own patterns of pathologies. Criminalizing the way people self-medicate isn’t helping.
I suppose middle class ennui causes people to self medicate as well. They shouldn’t go to jail either. Nor should their weakness, any more than a poor person’s, require them to engage in commerce with black marketers whose only means of contract enforcement is violence.