Pubdate: Sun, 07 May 2000
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2000 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Jesse Goplen


The April 30th State Journal article "Dying for a high," was guilty of
irresponsible journalism.  The article was an unthoughtful
regurgitation of the prohibitionist party line, discussing heroin's
harms out of context, lacking any thought toward the social
environment in which heroin use takes place.

Yes, heroin is today far purer than in decades past.  However, the
source of the drug still remains the drug dealer.  Heroin can be cut
with dirt, baking soda, cement mix, or whatever happens to be powdery
and lying around the drug dealer's house.  A medicaly regulated supply
would eliminate lethal contaminants.

Doctors are not allowed to prescribe heroin to an addict to reduce
addicts' consumption and stabilize their lives.  It is clear to us how
someone kicks a habit like nicotine addiction - through patches, gum
or cutting down.  Such help is not available for heroin addicts.  We
offer them methadone, a largely ineffective substitute.

This article blames the problems associated with heroin solely on the
drug itself.  It's time to examine the social context of prohibition,
not to print mugshots of Madison heroin addicts to justify their
lives' destruction by the criminal justice system.

Jesse Goplen
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