Can US overdose deaths be stopped?

Guest post by Thinking Clearly

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse overdose deaths are on the rise:

We have done it to ourselves with our country’s drug policies.


How the US Stopped a Possible Solution to the Heroin Epidemic https://t.co/k9PSxAIv8T

“Before America’s War on Drugs, the “British System” was successful in keeping addiction rates low and drug-associated crime nonexistent.”

… “The practice of prescribing heroin to manage addiction was originally invented in the UK—and was so entrenched here that it was formally known in international policy circles as the “British System”. Throughout the early 20th century, as America began forcing its War on Drugs on the rest of the world, it was Britain that represented the most promising alternative model. The story of the British System, and of how it was dismantled under American pressure, has been all but forgotten. It shouldn’t be. This story illuminates not only fascinating truths about drug policy, but about entire liberal traditions in British political history.” …

“The other crucial difference between life under the British System and American-style prohibition is that there was absolutely no link between addiction and other forms of criminality. When you get your prescription from a doctor, there is simply no need to steal to fund your habit.”

“When the American journalist Edgar May came over to report on the British System he wrote, “No one in England—from the toughest London detective to the most liberal-prescribing clinic physician—suggested to me that narcotics addiction increases criminal behavior… in England there is no cause-and-effect relationship.” The creation of a criminal addict underclass seems to only emerge under a system of drugs prohibition.”

“By 1959, the number of known heroin addicts in Britain had dropped to 59, before rising to 342 by 1964. By today’s standards these numbers are almost comically low. On all evidence, the British System seemed effective in preventing the spread of addiction and associated criminality. So what happened? How did it all fall apart?”

“Ultimately, the answer is that, in 1961, Britain was pressured into signing the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs—a US-led policy formally committing every member state to prohibition. The American architects of the War on Drugs despised the British System, and constantly briefed against it in policy documents and propaganda. It was thus inevitable that the British System would come under sustained diplomatic attack.”

… “Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. Instead of fixing the problem of rogue doctors over-prescribing, the government pressured doctors doing valuable work. Addicts could no longer get prescriptions, so illegal heroin began trickling into the country to satisfy demand. Unlike America, this did not come from Italian mafia organizations, but from Chinese Triads working out of Hong Kong. Little red packets of south-east Asian heroin, stamped with an elephant design, began littering the gutters of Gerrard Street in London’s Chinatown.” …

The drug war pushed by America has been the source of a rich and lucrative black market.

The Dea and the controlled substances act has given the US a rising statistic of death that began again recently as doctors prescribing habits of opiates were curtailed by the DEA.

The death and destruction of human life in America can be stopped by ending the drug war and ridding ourselves of the controlled substances act.

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