The End of American Drug Prohibition
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Currently the United States of America, while having only 5% of the world's population, has around 25% of its committed inmates. A large portion of these are for non violent drug related stautory crime, even possession. I have experienced the unrelentingly crushing effects of the justice system and the after effects on my life and I share this in common with literally millions of other Americans who have done nothing but at worst have a substance dependency issue. One where the most deleterious effects are produced by the prohibition itself. Unlike alcohol, the one legal intoxicatingly drug, most of the hem caused to the user, his or her family, and society at large is a product of the very laws seeking to prevent it. Have we not learned as a nation that no law no matter how severe can ever stop an individual from seeking for whatever reason, be it self medication or simply wanting to party, that legislation never has, doesn't and never will have a positive effect on the recovery of the user or the social and family issues exacerbated by these laws. We learned fairly quickly with alcohol. But not with drugs. So now instead of having the right to use cannabis and psychedelics, and medically provided opioids for addicts, we have ever increasing varieties of impure and deadly fentanyl analogues and analogues of just about every drug category. So many even the DEA with its analogue laws and emergency scheduling power cannot even begin to keep up with it. It is time we as a nation realize that drug users and addicts are no less worthy as human beings than anyone else and should not ever have their lives destroyed not by the drugs themselves but by the very laws supposedly meant to protect the potential users from these drugs. I've been physically dependent on opioids for 25 years and while I could get them legally (ie methadone) I went from being a street junky to an Ivy League PhD chemist. But after years of internalizing society's stigma I decided it was time to come off methadone and this was a bridge too far. But it was too late I couldn't go back so after using Street heroin to function the only idea I had to survive and finish my education was to develop a new (and as yet not fully published) fentanyl synthesis. I did this not for money or any stereotyped opioid epidemic news story headline but simply to maintain my functionality. But due to the laws my only real choice was to do this on my own and hope to not be discovered. I became a chemist because I wanted to research potential treatments if not a cure for HIV disease not to make drugs. But what society doesn't understand is that there are just some people who for whatever period of time need them to function. It's not about "getting high". But eventually I got caught and went to prison had my reputation and character assassinated and was left with virtually no chance at employment once I was released. I say this not because I want sympathy but because I know things like this happen to decent people every day in this country just to perpetuate a misguided and corrupt 100 year old prohibition regime and it must change. Not only is it the last legal civil rights issue left in this country but were the populace to know how our kind is truly treated by the system it would be seen as a human rights issue as well. We are your fathers and mothers, sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. And we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity both society and the users of these substances.
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