Pubdate: Tue, 17 May 2011
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: James E. Gierach


Chicago leads the nation in heroin emergency room admissions and
overdose deaths. Not an unexpected result since heroin is a dangerous
drug, particularly when prohibited. Drug users have no idea of the
potency of the heroin in their pocket on any given day, because the
substance is outlawed and, therefore, unregulated.

Take the case of Melissa Best, who allegedly shared heroin with
in-laws and died. She quickly passed out after injecting heroin and
whatever cutting agent, but was it just "good stuff" or was it too
much stuff? It's anybody's guess until the toxicologist gets to work,
which is always long after the ingestion-dosage decision is made in
prohibition darkness.

In a free society, facilitators of recklessness are often protected.
For example, the legal doctrine of assumption of risk protects the guy
who puts the air in Evil Knievel's tires before he jumps his
motorcycle over the Grand Canyon. It protects a golfer whose errant
shot strikes another golfer, since every golfer voluntarily subjects
himself to harm by setting foot on the course.

But when it comes to voluntary drug use, aiding and abetting reckless
buddies or loved ones becomes a zero-tolerance crime.

The Best in-laws are charged with "drug-induced homicide" and "moving
and concealing a dead body." They face a 15-year minimum sentence.

The moral to the story is: the war on drugs makes everything worse for
everybody -- Melissa Best, her husband, her kids, her in-laws and society.

James E. Gierach

Palos Park 
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