Re: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing ->Drugs & addicts

From: Vanessa Novaeris (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 14:57:04 MST

It is impossible for me to comment on this without making some reference to
the other posts on this issue. However, rather than rehashing the opposing
arguments, I selected the segments most relevant and insightful (only posted
as of yesterday) to the matter at hand - that being the rights & treatment
*by the State* of drug addicts.

Amara wrote:
>Drug-use is a victimless crime. The State has no business being
>involved with what one does with their own person and property as
>long as they don't physically harm the person or property of
>Drug use is just one of a long list of victimless crimes, that the
>State has no business sticking their stinking noses into. I wonder
>if anyone here finds any similarities in the rhetoric between the
>'War on Drugs' and the 'War on Terrorism' ?

I probably wouldn't have replied, as I'm new to the list, but I was
compelled by the following post.

>From: "Arona Ndiaye" <>
>Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 10:56:25 +0100
>I ask to Mike Lorrey:
>What negative experience have you had with drugs ? (directly or indirectly)
>Have you ever used any ?
>If the answer to the first question is anything but "none", please share.
>We are here to discuss, not to destroy other's arguments.
>If the answer to the second question is 'no', it would be wise for you to
>'chill' when discussing that topic. You're not knowledgeable enough on the
>topic at hand.
>And just reading books and papers don't mean shit in this case. You cannot
>'attack' users without having been one and you cannot attack them AFTER
>having been one yourself. If you just have a pretty 'tough' stance but do
>not explain why, people might label you as a 'troll', just like it's done
>on Slashdot on in newsgroups/mailing lists etc... I'm sure you actually
>wantto discuss things, don't you ?
>In that case, you still need to start...

I must admit, I didn't expect to encounter such insightful perspectives on
addiction on this list. Of course, there is a stigma attached to addicts by
society at large. Unfortunately, however, the misconception of addiction has
infiltrated the realm of the more highly educated as well, and we sometimes
find that people who "should know better" really have no clue. That's why I
find the above posts so refreshing.
I've been reluctant to post anything but Arona's reply really compelled me,
& I said to myself, "now *here* is something I actually *know* about!" For
me, this is Synchronicity working overtime. Being terrified of sounding
stupid, I would have never imagined I would willingly disclose this, but
this exchange is somthing... So I apologize if my contributions right now
are limited only to my personal experience.

2 months ago I tried to kill myself (& nearly succeeded). After my lovely
stay in the trauma unit at McLean Hospital, (yes, the Girl, Interrupted one.
Apparently, lots of other famous people went there, like Sylvia Plath but I
guess they weren't so successful with her!:P) I was transferred to Drug
Rehab. Why was I going there? I thought I was just crazy? And so, "recovery"
just came out of nowhere & bit me in the ass. Needless to say, the education
I have gained throughout this process has been priceless. But one thing
emerges as an indesputable fact from all this - No one can get sober unless
they *WANT* to.

I agree with Mike Lorrey that:
<<the claims that drug use is a 'victimless crime' is notas black and white,
slam dunk as many legalization proponents would liketo claim. Having been in
the trenches of dealing with addicts, the damage they do ALWAYS extends
beyond themselves as individuals>>

But that's about where it ends for me.
So my only point of contention with Amara would be this: don't be deceived
into thinking addiction is a victimless crime. Legally, perhaps, that may
usually be the case, but the mental, emotional, & financial damages
inflicted upon others can be devestating enough to qualify as victimization.
Other than that, I think you are totally right on in your evaluation.

The FACT of the matter is that you cannot force an addict/alcoholic to get
clean. Nothing in existence can keep the afflicted from that next hit or
drink or whatever EXCEPT their own free will to *choose* to stop. S/He will
require assisstance (sometimes a great deal) to carry out this choice
completely, but the *choice* by necessity must be freely & willingly made by
the addict of his/her own accord.
This stands in stark contrast to the idea posted by Mike:

>Are you advocating that an addict has a greater right to get high and
>drive their kids off a cliff than their kids have to continue living?
[This is just nonsense & inappropriate]
>Such individuals are no longer freely acting adult citizens.

I disagree. They are indeed freely acting and their action is to use. Just
because you think they are wrong in their decision doesn't mean that they
are not freely making it. Not all junkies *want* to get sober & my feeling
is that if they don't want to put in the effort when given the opportunity,
then they are fucking themselves. The State need not waste money or
resources on people who continue to make the *choice* to use.

Reason wrote:
>Anyhow. "War on *" = stupid. Not even evil, just stupid, stupid, >stupid.
>We live in a sick, controlling society that encourages denial >and a lack
>of responsibility, can't look beyond tomorrow, curtails >freedoms for idiot
>reasons and looks more and more like the worst of >Europe. Career
>politicians are a major source of stupidity, popularity >contents are no
>way to run a society.

EXACTLY! In fact, accepting responsibility for ones own actions, (past,
present, & future) is literally the first step in treatment of addiction.
Addicts cannot get sober without first taking full responsibility for
themselves & their condition. That's mostly why AA & NA have such monumental
success - completely voluntary, totally self-supporting, based on tolerance
& open-mindedness, & absolutely free from any State or religious doctrine -
compared with many state-funded programs (including prisons) that function
with the sole purpose of pulling in funding (State employees need to get
their jobs *somewhere).

as Amara pointed out:
>I do not find your Means acceptable. Once you tell the government
>that it's OK to throw someone in jail or take their property because
>of some behavior that is not harming anyone else, but that you find
>unacceptable, then what comes next? Firing them, evicting them,
>denying them credit, stripping away their civil rights, and the list
>goes on without end. If a person chooses to diminish their lives
>by using some drugs, then they have every right to do so.
>All drug use carries a risk, and the risks are varied. As an adult,
>each makes his/her own decision as to whether to expose themself to
>that drug, and one measures the potential good/harm against their
>own personal form of measure.

Even without interference from the State, an addict can manage perfectly
well to destroy & lose everything of value in life. Therefore, the
rehabilitative benefits Mike cited from such losses can be preserved. For
example, just within the timeframe of my treatment, I have been forced to
drop out of school in my senior year, I was evicted from my apartment in DC,
I lost my scholarship, my partner, my job, blah blah blah. And none of this
involved the State - I managed to destroy my life by my own hand & all the
consequences I faced were a DIRECT result of my own decision to use. I think
this is immensely important because there was no scapegoat - I could NOT use
the State as the fallguy for my demise & so I was forced to accept total
responsibility for the actions, MY actions, which brought me there. I fucked
myself up big time & I deserved everything I got - I had it coming. For this
reason, I think it is ESSENTIAL to the rehabilitation of the addict that the
State NOT be involved on any level. I cannot stress this point enough. The
individual MUST take full & total responsibility before reaping any benefits
from treatment.

Amara also highlighted another crucial factor in this issue:
>"Inform yourself, then choose". The best way to remove the largest >dangers
>regarding drug use is education .. not throwing that person >into jail !!

I couldn't agree more. An old friend (a programmer) brought some books for
me to borrow while in treatment. Reading about Omega Point Theory I felt
sparked but I was left rather unsatiated. I decided I had no choice but to
refresh my (elementary) knowledge in math & physics so I could advance to
more interesting subjects. So I managed to get some textbooks & I started
reviewing (yes, while in the hospital & rehab). Once I got out I did some
quick searching online, which lead me to transhumanism & extropy. I was
blown away. It was new to me, but it all seemed so familiar in a way -
perhaps because (unlike most things in the free world) it actually made

So I guess to answer Reason's question:
>Blah, blah, blah, heard it all before, possibly even from me, what are >we
>going to do about it?

I would have to agree with Amara - EDUCATE. Put the word out there & (at
least try to) have faith that people will follow. Just like you can't force
a junkie into sobriety, you can't force a person to change the way they
think - even if its an improvement - it just doesn't work that way. But I
wouldn't have even made it this far without education, specifically science.
Early sobriety is like schizophrenia without all the noise. At such a
critical time, I found science & math to be a great comfort because, unlike
society or religion, I could trust them.

I know I'm not very smart & stand to gain a great deal more from this list
than I could ever hope to contribute, so I'm just grateful for the exposure
to such great ideas & exchanges. But I think, if nothing else, it proves
that if someone, regardless of education or intelligence, is open & willing
to *understand* then a great deal can be accomplished. so again, if anyone
has any suggestions/instructions for me, feel free; self-ed, while
gratifying, is still a bitch so I'd welcome the help :P
Thanks so much,

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