EDITORIAL/Drug liberalization

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The war on drugs has been waged through the criminal justice system for 100 years and we’ve failed, some would argue. 

There is a vibrant underground market causing violence in our streets, increasingly deadly substances causing overdose deaths to soar, and millions of incarcerated consumers causing families to be destroyed.

 We’re losing on every front, they claim — but are we?

While they generally do not celebrate, encourage, or trivialize drug use, there’s a call to “core values” and legalization by some advocacy organizations.

The problem is those “core values” have significantly deteriorated over the last 50 years.  They are not core values at all.

Has Western Civilization turned down the slope of permanent decline when the legalization of drugs is argued? Are we on the decadent and degenerate phase of the civilizational life cycle?

We should certainly focus on drug treatment, not always incarceration.  

Two life sentences without the possibility of parole for possessing seven empty boxes of Sudafed? It’s a true story.

Meanwhile, six children have grown up without their father, and Mississippi taxpayers will probably spend $1 million to house and care for James Vardaman. 

Supposedly, some European countries have had some success with legalization coupled with mandatory treatment — approaching the problem as a medical issue and not criminal if you are “caught” using and/or end up being a danger to yourself (overdosing) or others e.g. caught under the influence during some reckless activity etc.  

The problem is that we’re creating a culture of pathological tolerance very often in the name of Christianity, which in the past has stood for the idea of “go and sin no more” and self-control.  

Human nature is such that anything you subsidize or go lenient on you will likely end up getting more of. 

Do we have billions to spend on drug treatment?  

Where is the balance between individual responsibility and social expectations to maintain a certain level of conduct versus addressing such a problem as a social ill that requires social policy and government expenditure?  Good question.  

We could end up spending billions on drug treatment for chronic users/abusers and bankrupt ourselves.  

Do we end up with drug companies manufacturing heroin or cocaine for people to legally purchase and use?  

How does legalization work exactly and,  as the old phrase goes, cui bono?  Who really benefits from such a societal-wide change? Big pharma?  Little “drug stores” run by boomer hippy mom and pop owners or drug tolerant millennials?  

Drug legalization is yet another social ill that has exploded that will cost us in the end.  

Do we have doctors prescribe recreational drugs or allow people to buy drugs legally off the street?  

This is part of the mess created as liberalism exploded and has trickled down since the 1960s and free love.

Three strikes and James Vardaman is out. But does the punishment fit the crime?

Vardaman is serving two life sentences under Mississippi’s habitual offender law for seven empty boxes of Sudafed, as told by the conservative think tank Empower Mississippi.

He’s an offender convicted of a crime not ordinarily considered a crime of violence but is caught in the state’s habitual offender law. 

Vardaman had two previous offenses in 2000 for possession of meth and simple assault of a police officer. He was sentenced and served his time – 51 months – for those offenses.

He served his time and when he was released found a job as a welder and soon ended up with the seven empty boxes of Sudafed in Brandon one night and eventually received the two life sentences.

“I am not proud of my drug use,” said Vardaman, 45, who currently lives in a prison in Marshall County.

“I’ve prayed for God to change my life and He has,” Vardaman told Empower. “I have prayed for him to remove my desire to do drugs. I no longer have that desire. Even though I know there isn’t much hope for me, I now realize how precious life is. I can’t take the next heartbeat without Him.”

The impact of Vardaman’s incarceration reaches far beyond the four walls of his prison cell. His wife Christina lives in Texas with the youngest two of their six children.

“It’s hard,” she said. “I’m having to do it on my own. It’s tough on our relationship and his relationship with our kids. I’m at my breaking point.”

Reform and rehabilitation, yes, but a culture of pathological tolerance is dangerous when it comes to legalized drugs.


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