Sunday, January 27, 2008

ONDCP's moral bankruptcy

NPR reports on a drug called naloxone (marketed under the brand name Narcan). This drug is proven to be highly effective at reversing opioid overdoses such as those from heroin and morphine. It is administered as a nasal spray. If a person is ODing from heroin, using this nasal spray will revive the person and save his or her life. It costs $9.50 per dose.

According to NPR "public health workers from New York to Los Angeles, North Carolina to New Mexico, are preventing thousands of deaths" through distribution of naloxone to drug users.

Some might hear this news and react positively. They might say, wow, look at the good that can come from medical science and well-executed public health programs. The folks at the Office of National Drug Control Policy would not be among them.

The ONDCP, through its deputy director "Dr." Bertha Madras, tells NPR that it is against distribution of naloxone. Apparently ONDCP has concluded that naloxone makes heroin less lethal, and therefore, uh, this is bad. I'd like to provide more detail, but that appears to be the sum total of their thinking on this issue.

Of course, we can look forward to hearing more from them in the future as they ramp up the fight against naloxone. The FDA and the DEA can be expected to promulgate a bunch of regulations, policy statements, and other forms of weaponized propaganda (probably accompanied by more than a few enforcement actions involving military style SWAT raids where commandos, clad in black body armor, point automatic weapons at terrified social workers and order them to lie flat on the ground or be shot). What you will hear will be a lot of statements containing very little other than transparent, fact-free bullshit, which will, when boiled down to its essence, equate to "Drugs're bad, mmkay?"

Because, you see, the ONDCP doesn't want to save heroin users. Anyone who uses heroin becomes a non-person in their eyes. They want to see that non-person incarcerated or dead. Or, at the very least, they want to have him or her under their control via probation or parole officers, living in a half-way house, under orders to comply with multi-page lists of dos-and-don'ts, with failure to comply resulting in -- yes -- incarceration or death.

The Drug War is a mechanism for control. It is the machinery of tyranny, whose purposes are two: (1) enrich those who participate in it and share a certain orthodoxy of thought, and (2) oppress, enslave, or kill those who do not. Persons falling into the former category include law enforcement personnel, those who build and run prisons, manufacturers of all manner of armor, armaments, and high-tech enforcement gadgetry, unscrupulous lawyers and judges, "scientists" like Ms. Madras, and, of course, politicians. Some of these people are not getting "rich" off of their participation (e.g., front-line enforcers like beat cops, DEA agents, probation officers, etc), but they are nevertheless the beneficiaries of employment opportunities which would not exist absent the Drug War (you can imagine what types of jobs these people might otherwise be able to get).

The latter group? Made up almost entirely of very poor and/or brown people.


Robert Guest said...

Brilliant piece.

HHL, where/what is your law practice?


HHL said...

Thanks much for the comment, Robert (and especially the blog-roll add). Have emailed you my info.

For those of you who agree with this post and don't regularly read IWTS, you are missing out on some of the best anti-Drug War blogging going on anywhere.

bgirl said...

We shall miss the entertainment value of the adrenaline shot a la Pulp Fiction, but other than that, what's the problem? I am constantly struggling to try to understand the hatin' - must stop that.