Day by Day

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And here's my problem

With the whole "just legalize drugs" movement.  Because as of right now, and for the foreseeable future, drug users are going to cost society a whole shit-ton of money in medical bills and criminal activity.  And if you're going to cost society money, then society has the right to tell you just what the fuck you can or cannot do.

The top ten drug addicts that visited Harborview Medical Center ER back in 2003-2004 cost the hospital over one million dollars.  Think about that.  That's over 100,000 per person, to treat what is essentially self-inflicted damage.  One woman, a heroin junkie who kept stabbing herself with dirty needles, cost my hospital over half a million dollars to treat her repeated MRSA infections, and that's just the monetary damage.  That doesn't take into consideration the fact that this woman was such a wretched, horrible thing that she caused an entire shift of nurses to refuse to come into work until the woman was transferred or discharged.  I remember getting called up to the floor to deal with that particular patient.  I came down a back stairwell, the patient didn't know I was there, and I got to witness a shit-flinging temper tantrum of epic proportions.  This woman was throwing trash, yelling, screaming at the nurses "I WANT MY GOD-DAMNED MORPHINE YOU FUCKING BITCH!  GIMME MY MORPHINE YOU FUCKING COCK-SUCKING BITCH!  FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU!"

Oh, but when I showed up it was "Oh, they're so mean to me!" (simper simper simper).  "They're so abusive to me!"  (whimper whine pout)  "I never yelled at them!  They're lying about me!  Why are they lying about me?"

When I pointed out that not only did I hear her yelling, I was standing not fifteen feet away as she did so and I didn't enjoy being lied to, she then became abusive towards me.  "FUCK YOU, YOU GOD-DAMMED ASSHOLE!  YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE!"  So on and so forth.  And all of this was done on a crowded hospital floor, in full view of everyone because this thing wanted her morphine.  I guess when you're shooting heroin into your vaginal lips because you've collapsed all the other veins with your drug habit, hospital morphine might be a bit light.  But I really don't give a shit, because the nurses were having to dress in biohazard suits to deal with the massive infections this thing had giving itself with it's drug habit.

Oh, and this thing had two children, both of whom were taken away by the state.  And all of this was done with your tax dollars.  This one woman consumed more tax dollars in three years than I have been able to produce in my lifetime.  And she consumed all those tax dollars because of her drug habit.  Think about that.

Now, if you tell me that drugs should just be legalized, I'm going to ask you several questions - first and foremost, how are you going to limit the cost of that drug use to society?  And since nobody has been able to answer that first question, I'll leave it right there for the time being.

How will you negate the cost that drug use imposes on society?  When the hospital bills start rolling in; when the cost of end-of-life care begins rolling in, and with some of these drugs that cost is coming earlier and earlier.  Yeah, you're 35 and you have osteoporosis?  You were a meth-head, and now your bones break if you stand up too fast?  Wow, that sucks.  And that sucks up tax dollars as people go to the doctor to deal with it.  Oh, you used drugs and now you have no teeth, and you want the government to provide you with dental care?  Oh, you had your kids taken away by the state because you spent your twenties in a drugged-out haze?

The cost of drug use in society costs us millions, if not billions of dollars currently.  If you're taking my tax dollars and using them to deal with those costs, then personally I have no problem with prohibiting drug use.  Just like I would have no problem giving drug tests to welfare recipients.  You're taking tax money to live on, you don't get to spend your money on drugs.  Sorry, but if you don't like it then either stop doing drugs or get the hell off welfare.

If someone can come up with a sufficient answer as to how to prevent drug use from costing society, then I'll freely admit that the government should back off.  But until that happens, and my tax dollars are going to the medical bills of some junkie?

Keep that shit illegal.


GeorgeH said...

We could start by looking at alcohol.
The production costs of alcohol or most abused drugs is almost trivial, allowing the govt. to put enormous taxes on them. With taxes, they should sell for about half of current street prices, putting illegal dealers out of business and capturing their overhead and profits for the government.
With drug prices cut in half, addicts should manage to kill themselves sooner, saving medical costs.

The savings in police and prison costs would be huge. Nearly half the money spent on law enforcement is drug related and could be eliminated, not to mention the societal costs of drug wars.

Sergeant Mac said...

The problem is not the drugs.

The problem is viewing health care as a "right", to be provided whether or not the patient can pay for it. be provided at public expense.

Ever notice how you eat more at a buffet?

Look, I've been a street cop since 1988, and I think that drugs should be legalized. Time to end the drug war and concentrate on actual crimes against persons and/or property.

Either that, or, if you're going to CALL it a "war", MAKE it a WAR.

If napalming farmers' fields in Colombia is not justifiable, then neither are MOUT operations carried out by cops in the USA.

DANEgerus said...

Wait a minute... substance abuse is a disease just like Cancer cause... you can just catch a cocaine habit like a disease... and stuff.


ppjakaJim said...

You’re right. A lot of drug users act terrible, do terrible, look terrible, smell terrible and cost us tons and tons of money.
And the facts are that some drugs, a partial list would be date rape, PCP and ecstasy, should be denied and the sellers put in jail or shot.
As for the users of speed, heron, morphine and coke , maybe the answer is to let them register as addicts have all the free drugs they want. And yeah, treating their medical problems will be expensive but maybe we can pay for it with the taxes collected on tobacco (the most deadly drug of all), alcohol and MJ sales.
At least it would get them off the streets robbing and killing for the money to buy the illegal drugs.
And along with that a truly nasty suppression program on the illegal sellers. Like 10 years no parole first offence, death for the second.
And a rehab program for those who want to quit.
And an effective education program on why you shouldn’t use drugs.
Would it work? Could it be improved on? I don’t know. But I do know that what we are doing now is not working.
And in the interests of transparency let me add that I don’t smoke and the only “drug” I use is an occasional Stoly or glass of cabernet.

Ragin' Dave said...

Sergeant Mac - I do agree with you, the problem is the folks to do their drugs and then demand that the rest of the country pay to fix the damage. But what it is going to take for us to look at those people and simply say "No, you had your fun, now deal with the consequences"?

I'm serious. How long do you think America could step over the corpses of dead junkies? Because that's what it would take. Turning the junkies away, and saying no. Which would mean dead addicts.

Do you really think that's possible?

Sergeant Mac said...

Nope, can't leave those corpses lying around. Haul them to the morgue, keep them in the freezer for a few days, and if nobody comes to claim them, cremate them.

I'm sure that there are charities which would fund that.

Beyond that, YES! Turn them away!

Sure, some of them will die. But it won't be US killing them. They'll be killing themselves.

It's what I call an SEP - Somebody Else's Problem.

How many decades do you suppose it would take to beat the "drug problem" that way? I'm betting it'd be less than FIVE, which is where we're at right now.....and with what, exactly, to show for it?