by Revan Filiaexdeus
Mandatory drug testing continues to reinforce the idea that drug use and drug addiction is a criminal problem. It is part of the fundamental war on consciousness. I believe wholly in the right of an individual to regulate their own consciousness; each individual has the right to maintain their consciousness, alter it, have final say over their own medical treatment, and end their consciousness if they so desire.
Drug use, as a part of the right to consciousness, is ethical. There should be no distinction between "illegal drugs" and "legal drugs". Tramadol and celexa are, to me, in the same sphere as marijuana and MDMA. All four of the mentioned drugs have benefits when rationally and scientifically applied, can be misused, and will not react in the intended fashion with 100% of people.
Drug addiction, on the other hand, is a medical problem. Alcohol is a drug, yet it's addiction is not criminalized. It is, instead, treated.
By continuing to criminalize addiction, we exacerbate the problem. Prohibition and criminalization is counterproductive; like the failed prohibition of alcohol in the turn-of-the-century United States, it has led to an increase in use, addiction, and crime.
By contrast, let us examine the Swiss model. Switzerland experienced a full blown heroin epidemic in the 1980s. Rather than criminalize users, they treated it as public health crisis. Switzerland built a well regulated and well funded program that gave users a safe, clean place to use, access to clean needles, HIV testing, and even regulated, government-tested injectable heroin.
The net result of that Swiss program was the total eradication of the epidemic. Less than a decade after the program began in 1993, Switzerland had cut the number of heroin related deaths and HIV cases in half.
I am an advocate of the public-health approach and an advocate against the criminal approach. Compare the contemporary time period in the United States: "More than 80% of the increase in federal prison
population from 1985 to 1995 is because of drug convictions”.
I firmly believe that mandatory drug testing of any type is a continuation of both the war on drugs and the war on consciousness. Perpetuating the war on drugs is profitable for the private prison complex; I believe our Dept. of Humanities chairpersons can speak with some authority on this topic, Chris Omillian as a well researched advocate and Dr. William Steven as a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, having first hand experience with the system.
My proposed solution, therefore, is:
1) Immediately end the war on drugs by descheduling and decriminalizing all illegal substances on a Federal level.
2) Any inmate currently in an American prison or jail for a nonviolent drug conviction should have their sentence commuted to rehabilitation.
3) Defund and close the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Clinton-era Community Empowerment Program, and any and all other Federal programs that participate in the war on drugs.
4) Assess the funding utilized by these organizations and create a new federal initiative under the Department of Health and Human Services. That amount now becomes the funding of this initiative. The new initiative would follow the Swiss model and allocate funding to existing private rehabilitation and state-run institutions to expand their ability to recieve and treat drug addicts.
I would that the above solution could be lobbied into a bill. However, I do not see that happening during the Trump administration. Let's see what the political climate is like in another three years and perhaps there might be some hope to introduce such a solution on a Federal level.
Chandler, S., Caulkins, & P, J. (2006, October 1). Long-run Trends in Incarceration of Drug Offenders in the United States. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0011128705284793