A few days ago a homeless dumpster diving tweaker actually bitched me out for putting dirty diapers in the garbage. As I laughed at him with complete and utter disregard for his situation, I found myself thinking that there has to be a better way to deal with junkies. Thankfully, the city of San Francisco is leading that very charge.

“This is the San Francisco Drug Users Union, one of a few such groups in the U.S. and part of a growing worldwide movement of thousands who, according to the International Network of People Who Use Drugs, are demanding a voice “in decision-making processes that affect our lives.” The network is a group that seeks to represent people who use drugs before government bodies and international agencies.

In the coming months, members of the San Francisco group plan to testify before a city panel on housing discrimination, cohost the first conference in the U.S. by and for drug users, and hold a design contest for a safe-injection site similar to one in Vancouver, Canada, where public health workers provide sterile needles and intervene in cases of overdose. They also have crafted a manual for medical personnel, to be released later this month, in hopes that drug users will get better emergency care.” – THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

I’m a pretty liberal guy. And I think that our laws with regard to certain drugs are kind of quaint and obsolete. But, I’m also a realist and as such have never been able to completely embrace the view (espoused in many European countries) that hardcore drug use is a disease. It would be the only disease that someone chooses to contract. At some point every meth and heroin addict made a decision. And they did so with a fairly good idea of what was going to happen next. Likewise, nobody has ever stopped by their dealer after a shitty day at work and tried to score some rickets or lupus.

It’s not like there are any stories that start with “So I started doing a mountain of drugs…” and end with “Now I’m a huge success in life!” Well, maybe if you’re Fergie or George Bush. But, usually, no. Nobody’s road to the Supreme Court or the board of a Fortune 500 corporation began with sucking cock in an alley for crack or getting gangrene from shooting heroin.

Sure, I think drug addiction should be dealt with medically and not legally. But, for me, that means taking junkies and strapping their asses to hospital beds until they’re clean. Not spending precious tax dollars to make sure they’re destroying their lives safely. Not when somewhere there’s a bright young kid in a shitty neighborhood who could lead a productive and happy life if only their local school had adequate funding. Anyway, the article goes on to say:

“The group’s ultimate goal is decriminalization, an unlikely prospect but one increasingly debated by policy analysts who contend that the four-decade “war on drugs” has exacerbated social ills.

Linked to the harm-reduction movement — a philosophy that aims to reduce disease, injury and death among drug users without passing judgment or demanding abstinence — the union mostly hopes to put a face on those whom, Jackson said, “most people despise.”

“People say, ‘You’re a drug user, you brought this on yourself,'” Jackson said. “Do people say that when you’re 300 pounds with heart problems from eating McDonald’s every day?”

Yes, actually, they do say that to 300 lbs people. And having lived near Skid Row in Los Angeles for a number of years I can actually say that despising junkies kind of comes naturally when they’re passed out in the doorway of your building or pissing on your parked car. But that aside, I do agree that the “war on drugs” has largely been a waste of time and money. And while it’s helped various people get elected or justify their government salary (DEA, I’m looking in your direction) it has accomplished nothing.

Then again if there’s one thing we do well in America its blow tons of money on shit that will never work or even serve any purpose. Just look at Iraq or Afghanistan. Or faith-based initiatives. Or that effort by the local DA to “prosecute” me for those naked pictures I emailed to his wife. Sorry, dude, but all the “charges” in the world aren’t going to give you a package like mine.



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