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.
Last year Time reported that in the growing number of states which have re-legalized cannabis, prescriptions dropped significantly for painkillers and other drugs for which cannabis may be a safe alternative. It reported that “a growing number of experts and even some states are considering the idea that medical marijuana should play a critical—and legal—role in combating the nation’s painkiller epidemic.” Two years ago, Minnesota added chronic pain as one of the conditions that could be treated with legal medical cannabis. (Wisconsin is almost surrounded by states which have some access to medical cannabis.)
The Crisis was created by the government. Ending the Opioid Crisis can be simple and inexpensive.
- Re-legalize cannabis and leave people alone.
- End the War on Drugs and let people make their own choices and take responsibility for them.
Libertarians believe that it is immoral as well as unconstitutional for the government to dictate which substances a person is permitted to consume. These decisions belong to individual people, not the government.
James Maas is former editor and chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and resides in Weston, Wisconsin.