Drug users do not require state supervision

newspaper | Support this author on Patreon

Supervised injection sites (SIS) are not a new phenomenon. State-designated locations at which recreational intravenous drug users may legally shoot up, while under the supervision of medical professionals, have been prevalent throughout Europe for over two decades. The concept of SIS first garnered widespread public attention in the United States in 2003 when North America’s very first legally-sanctioned safe injection facility, Insite, opened its doors in Vancouver. Thirteen years later and this continues to be the only building on the continent where the unsanctioned possession and recreational use of federally controlled substances — with the exception of marijuana — is not an offence punishable by incarceration. Svante Myrick, mayor of Ithaca, is attempting to change that by overseeing the establishment of a safe injection site in Centeral New York. Unfortunately for him, though, drug warriors — conservative and liberal alike — are not concerned with the welfare of users. Drug use simply must be eradicated. Harm reduction be damned.

Don’t get me wrong: the abolition of all laws governing the possession, use, and sale of psychoactive substances is paramount to the proliferation of chemical liberty in America. The prevailing narrative surrounding recreational drug use in the US is immensely problematic in that even self-proclaimed opponents of massive-scale criminalization couch their opposition in appeals to the inefficacy of the War on Drugs. The liberal Democrats and “libertarian”-leaning Republicans who would theoretically support measures that allow for the opening of safe injection facilities in the United States frequently point out how carceral tactics have done nothing to curtail drug use or addiction. This is undeniably true, but what if it wasn’t? What if mass incarceration worked? What would these so-called socially progressive politicians say if criminalizing addiction, locking up users, and breaking up families had proven beneficial to the state’s anti-drug crusade?

While providing users with spaces where they may safely and legally engage in recreational drug use is an undoubtedly good thing, it shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. The fact that safe injection sites are becoming more commonplace is a sign not of a shift in the state’s attitudes toward drug use, but of a shift in its preferred method of control. For example: when the paternalistic busybodies that be, of both the political and medical persuasions, finally came to the realization that curbing opiate abuse would require more than simply arresting heroin dealers and cracking down on phony prescriptions they began implementing methadone replacement programs that forced compliant addicts to follow a highly restrictive, intrusive, and utterly impersonal psychopharmacological regimen designed to reign-in their degenerate habits while allowing the state to closely monitor their behavior — all under the guise of collective wellbeing. Postmodern philosopher Michel Foucault viewed coercive psychology as simply another, albeit less outwardly violent and far more subtle, manifestation of discipline. This particular perspective smacks of salience in an era where addicts and other undesirables are robbed of their individual agency and forced to either comply with dehumanizing “treatment” programs or risk ending up in prison.

The medicalization of drug use and addiction in the absence of freedom is nothing more than clinical authoritarianism, and the advent of state-sanctioned safe injection sites has done nothing to change that. While any and all efforts to expand the ability of individuals to voluntarily engage in recreational drug use with legal immunity should be lauded, the health and welfare of those struggling with addiction demands an end not only to the destructive War on Drugs but to the state’s paternalistic approach to rehabilitation as well. Exacting control over the lives of addicts, whether through incarceration or coercive psychology, serves only to strip them of their right to free choice and further stigmatize their very existence. Drug users are neither hopeless dependents nor degenerate monsters, and they most certainly do not require state supervision.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.