What do you propose then? How about instead of trying to pick apart my side, you offer up something that might work, as whats in place, clearly doesn't. Who knows, maybe between the two, we'll actually find a solution, which you know, is kind of the whole point of tossing out options.
Being completely close minded as you've been is unproductive. From crazy ideas, smart solutions can be discovered. Instead, all you've done is attack instead of trying to workout a better solution. Whether that be using parts of mine, or offering up your own.
For one, I would overhaul US drug policy so that addicts have nothing to fear, legally, from coming forward to seek help (a la Portugal). This requires that addiction doesn't lead to a loss of rights, or negative consequences, for those with addictions. And it has been shown to vastly decrease cases of addiction and more addicts actually seek aid, because they don't need to hide from the gov't.
Furthermore, by legalizing drugs, you are able to move the drug trade into the public sector, which makes it much easier to control and police. It allows the gov't to set prices and control quality (so you don't accidentally OD of something that looked like a normal dose but was laced). Setting prices also helps drive out illegal dealers, who can't afford to sell drugs in the greatly diminished market at a rate that allows them to compete with the approved dealers. They are also far more likely to be caught in an environment where addicts actually come forward voluntarily.
Plus, you can impose laws on the amount dealers provide at once (and possibly limit the number of dealers per town, and only allow them to sell to those with a local ID, to prevent multiple doses from different dealers in one day).
Right there you just massively curbed the number of OD cases, opened up a ton of options for addicts to actually seek help, and forced drug users to go to a clinic to get their fix (clinics where they could also be encouraged to seek help).
Hopefully, this will let a lot of addicts get clean, and reduce the number of users across the board (especially as the controlled amount of product would curb the amount of substances distributed at venues like parties).
Finally, we come to the people that just aren't going to get clean (or stay clean) in any circumstance. Hopefully, for some of them, the controlled doses and reduced number of illegal dealers would allow them to actually function in the world while not high. Unfortunately, that's about the best you could hope for. You aren't forcing them into rehab (unless they want to go, in which case it should always be available). And they only go to prison if they do something that requires it.
Now we are left with those that just can't stay clean (which, if everything else works, is actually a small number).
Honestly, I would largely leave them alone. We don't bar them from receiving medical treatment, but after any case of ODing (which shouldn't be that common, assuming the public drug control works) they have to detox at a rehab. After they detox and spend some time in rehab, they are given two choices. They can either leave, or they can enter a mental care facility, as they are no longer able to take care of themselves. I'm betting a lot will choose to leave, and eventually kill themselves over a failed liver.
But I'd also bet there are a decent number who will come to understand that they don't have the willpower to keep themselves from using, but also recognize that they definitely don't want to. In that case, the mental hospital doesn't sound so bad. And they can actually be a productive member of society while there, if things are organized properly.
It's probably gonna be a financial drain, sure. But that's why you take the steps to massively lower the number of addicts in the first place. And the only ones that end up here are the worst cases.
Plus, the actual drug trade would obviously be taxed and help cover those costs to begin with.
Maybe this is too idealistic, but the legalization of drugs has been shown to produce those results. Whether or not we'd be able to force the drug trade into legitimate channels is my only real worry. But I'm inclined to say that we should at least try. Edited, May 6th 2011 5:33pm by idiggory