Health Care News & Discussion
Drugs, More Drugs, More Criminals, More Prisons
03/04/2000 1:29 PM
The new Y2K Medicare Bulletin was received in November. Except for the first page, all subsequent pages listed the year as 1900. The revised Y2K Medicare Bulletin had a special letter inserted stating that this was NOT a Y2K error, but “”a printing oversight.”” Unless the intelligence of a bureaucrat is in the imbecile range, not even they would enter 1900 as the year that succeeds 1999. The government, which has never made an accurate prediction nor ever admitted to any inaccuracies, can’t even admit to an error when caught red handed in an obvious and glaring Y2K error. Those that trust the government for healthcare are in the same intelligence category.
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who used drugs in college but none since, is the second governor to pronounce the war on drugs a dismal failure. He told the Taos Chamber of Commerce, “We are putting more and more money into a war that we are absolutely losing.” He suggests that we legalize it, control it, regulate it, tax it. This might actually produce a healthier society. David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, a Washington, DC, think tank, in an editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer, states that after spending $30 billion a year in arresting one and one-half million people a year and creating 60% of all federal prisoners (violent prisoners are only 12%), we haven’t made much of a dent in the flow of dope. This, he feels, is why more and more thoughtful people have been questioning the war on drugs and calling for decriminalization . The Cato Institute suggests that we have an honest debate on the subject. Congress should deal with drug prohibition the way it dealt with alcohol prohibition. The 21st Amendment did not actually legalize the sale of alcohol, it simply repealed the federal prohibition and returned to the states the authority to set alcohol policies in-tune with the preferences of their citizens.
Thanks to Dr John McCarthy of our own editorial board for raising our consciousness on this subject in the pages of this journal over the last several years.
A high-school-aged patient told me last week that it is harder for a teenager to obtain a can of beer than crack cocaine. It does sound like California’s alcohol control policies are more effective than federal drug policies. Maybe taxing drugs like we tax alcohol could eliminate the income tax? But that would produce so much wealth that people could again afford private healthcare and HMOs might disappear. Then organized medicine wouldn’t have much left to do – except become a professional organization once again. And we could once again fill twenty tables at the Martinique Room at the Sacramento Inn the third Tuesday of every month.