On Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency and promised to redirect federal resources to
the problem. In his speech announcing yet another war on drugs, Trump told a story about his brother Fred’s addiction to a completely legal substance: alcohol. We all know how disastrous alcohol prohibition was in the early 20th century, so could a
new government battle against opioids be any more successful?
“Of course not,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “Drug wars have been failing for over 100 years. The role of government is to deal with people who hurt other people, steal from them, or violate agreements. That’s it. Futile attempts to prevent people from harming themselves with drugs don’t fall under that umbrella.”
According to drug abuse historian David Courtwright of the University of North Florida, there were an estimated 300,000 opioid addicts at the peak of addiction in the 19th century, representing an addiction rate of 0.48 percent of the population.
“This is a stunningly low percentage for a time when there were essentially no drug laws,” Sarwark said. “Morphine, opium, marijuana, cocaine, laudanum, and other currently illegal drugs were freely available, with or without prescription and in many unregulated patent medicines. Today, according to the rehabilitation specialists at Addictions.com, there are 12 million illegal users of opioids. That’s 3.9 percent of today’s population — an eightfold increase.”
Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a small but stable correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths from any opioid, legal or illegal, between 2006 and 2010 — roughly one death per 13,000 prescriptions. In 2010, federal pressure caused a decrease in legal opioid prescriptions. The correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths turned sharply negative. Fewer legal prescriptions led to more overdose deaths.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The no. 1 cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”Read more
Libertarian candidate for governor says he offers a break from two-party bickering
by Lisa Speckhard, The Cap Times
There are a lot of declared Democratic contenders for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks they’re all pretty much the same. "For me, it really doesn't matter who comes out of that primary; it’ll be more of the same," he said right before announcing his run for re-election.
Phil Anderson, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and another gubernatorial candidate, agrees. But he thinks voters will get "more of the same" whether they vote for a Democrat or Walker.
“People know what the two-party system is. They resign themselves to it, but they know that it’s corrupt. They know that no matter who’s the governor, a Democrat or Republican, spending goes up and up and up and up,” he said. “More intrusion into our lives increases all the time. And they’re really, really tired of it.”
Anderson appeared on the Sunday political talk show “Capital City Sunday,” to talk about his bid for governor. As a libertarian, he advocated for small government, small spending and a big emphasis on local control. “We want to give the state of Wisconsin back to the people of Wisconsin,” he said.
It is all over the newspapers, magazines, and television; we have an Opioid Crisis!
According to Healthy Wisconsin, “Over the last ten years, opioid related hospital visits and deaths in Wisconsin have doubled, especially among young adults. Prescription opioids are the most common culprit, but using heroin—a strong, cheap and easily available alternative to prescription drugs—is also on the rise. In fact, three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription painkillers.” (Not marijuana.)
Unfortunately, then this state agency, as well as our President, promote more government “solutions.” The real cause of this “crisis” goes back to many government policies which must be dismantled.
Why do we have an Opioid Crisis?
- Big Pharma (large pharmaceutical companies which have a powerful, negative influence.) has influenced doctors and government agencies to accept increased doses of prescription drugs. When addicted and their prescriptions run out, some patients then switch to black market drugs (more pills or heroin). Big Pharma also influences legislators to prohibit cannabis (marijuana) as a safe, natural, non-addictive alternative to the chemicals they sell. Recent bills in the Wisconsin Legislature to permit more adults to use licensed cannabis have been blocked.
- Drug Prohibition. Until the Harrison Act was passed in 1914, heroin and cocaine were both perfectly legal and easily obtainable over the counter. There was no opioid crisis because there was no war on drugs. With drug prohibition, the black market took over and the availability of the drug one wanted from a clean store in a specific strength in a safe, legal transaction disappeared. Thanks a lot, Washington. Why does this failed program continue? Follow the money.
Provisions tucked into a Republican bill relaxing Wisconsin's concealed carry would allow felons to possess antique firearms. Right now, felons in Wisconsin can't own firearms for the rest of their lives.
Wisconsin's constitution (Article I, Section 25) clearly states that “The people” have the right to bear arms for “any lawful purpose.” Do ex-felons stop being people for the rest of their lives?
Many people believe that most felons are violent. That simply is not true. With mandatory sentencing guidelines, most drug possession charges are felonies. So are check fraud charges, tax offenses, and other frauds. As a result, Wisconsin has a huge group of former felons today who were guilty of victimless crimes and the majority are entirely non-violent.
My favorite example of an ex-felon is Martha Stewart. In Wisconsin's system of perpetual punishment, she would be prohibited from lawfully exercising her constitutional right to bear arms because of a dispute with federal law enforcement. Who seriously considers her a danger to the community? Libertarians want former lawbreakers who have paid for their crimes to fully become productive and participating parts of our society once again.Read more
“A 23-year-old Rothschild man was sentenced Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court to nine years in prison for providing heroin to a man who later died of an overdose in Weston.” Wausau Daily Herald, 9/13/2017
So, a Rothschild dealer sold something to a guy who wanted to buy it in Weston and later died. “Reckless homicide by the delivery of drugs.” What a crock.
A heroin epidemic has been expanding enormously for the last several years. While politicians offer failed solutions, the real solution is to legalize drugs.
There are two causes for this drug problem:
- The War on Drugs which creates profit incentives in the black market for the distribution of the most dangerous drugs.
- The pharmaceutical-medical-FDA complex, or Big Pharma, which profits from treating pain with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
In a free market, heroin would come in an unadulterated pharmaceutical grade form of various identified doses. It would have warning labels and instructions. Someone might have to consult a medical doctor or pharmacist before purchasing heroin, or might have to go to a clinic. The producers, distributors, and retailers would have some liability for negligence. Before it was made illegal in 1914 one of the most popular heroin products was Bayer’s Heroin.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un has launched another missile, probably the country’s longest-range missile to date. The missile was launched in open defiance of President Donald Trump’s threats of fire and fury if further test launches and nuclear bomb development continue in North Korea.
“Clearly, Trump’s bellicose threats had the opposite of the intended effect,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “This kind of verbal grandstanding is one way wars get started. A nuclear war with North Korea is a war no one would really win. And the casualties, particularly in South Korea, would probably be in the millions. For all their faults, and they were legion, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama had the common sense to avoid this kind of escalation.”
Sarwark continued, “Kim is the worst kind of evil communist dictator. We know from most of our post WWII experience, however, that intervention by the United States in foreign countries to fix their governance problems usually backfires. The most obvious examples are Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Korea itself. The people in those countries are mostly worse off now than when we became militarily involved.”Read more
We have a different idea for the proper role for our state government. Want to help elect Libertarians? Want to run for office? Stay tuned.
In July, the headline read, Gov. Scott Walker Signs 11 Bills Investing Millions In Drug Treatment Programs.
Libertarians believe Wisconsin government, once again, chose the wrong solution for a growing problem. The Libertarian solution is “More Freedom, Less Government.” We should try it.
Mark Thornton of the Ludwig von Mises Institute attributes the crisis to the following four causes.
- Drug Prohibition
- The Iron Law of Prohibition
- Government intervention in the economy
- Aggressive marketing of opioid painkillers to doctors
Thornton recommends two simple, inexpensive acts which would solve the problem.
- End prohibition of hard drugs
- Re-legalize cannabis
“The Opioid epidemic is killing more than 30,000 Americans a year. For most experts, the epidemic is a mystery with regard to its cause and solution. A little progress has been made, but to really eliminate the problem we need to legalize drugs, reduce the size of government, and increase freedom in our lives.”
By Nichols Sarwark, LP National Committee Chair
After toppling the Afghan government almost sixteen years ago, the United States entered into nation building thinking that it would help improve corners of the world that terrorists find inviting. Our country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives in these futile efforts.
According to Forbes: "Since [the initial] intervention in the aftermath of 9/11, roughly 2,400 American military personnel have died and more than 20,000 been wounded attempting to bring democracy to Central Asia. Some 3,500 military contractors have been killed, along with more than 1,100 allied personnel. Overall the US has poured more than $800 billion into the war. Set aside the costs of combat. The US has spent $117.3 billion on relief and 'reconstruction,' that is, attempting to create a functioning state in Afghanistan."
Despite all of this sacrifice and hard work, nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a failure. No matter how sophisticated our military is and no matter how much we sacrifice, nation building is far more difficult than our politicians believed. Not only that, it may create more terrorists than it quells.Read more
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Government of the United States should immediately begin a transition to a foreign policy that includes:
- Rejecting the role of “policeman of the world,” ceasing military and covert intervention in the affairs of foreign countries, and using military force only when absolutely necessary to protect U.S. sovereignty, territory, and vital interests, narrowly defined;
- Substantially reducing the more than 700 U.S. military installations around the world;
- Curtailing the bloated military budget, allowing resources to be redirected towards cutting the deficit, cutting taxes, investing in America, or any other use as Americans see fit;
- Reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to a minimum deterrent level, and fully supporting the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
- Emphasizing diplomacy, law, and cooperation in international relations and dispute resolution;
- Upholding civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution; and
- Reining in executive military action.