Whinery: Whitney Houston & The Drug War

Having just watched the funeral of this legendary performer I can’t help but wonder if the way society treats drug addiction didn’t somehow contribute to her death…

Drug addiction is a public health issue that is primarily handled by the criminal justice system. Instead of throwing addicts into rehab we throw them in prison, which makes no sense whatsoever. A lot of people are of the opinion that drugs are evil, that they cause crime and ruin lives- all of which are true but isn’t because they are criminalized?      

By making drugs illegal the prices are artificially inflated, the proceeds are used to fund criminal enterprises and billions are being wasted in the “Prison- Industrial Complex” warehousing people that are sick and not necessarily criminal.

What if drugs were decriminalized, taxed and addicts were rehabilitated instead of incarcerated?

Take a look at Portugal. Ten years after decriminalizing ALL drugs, abuse is down by HALF!

The success there shows that treatment works where incarceration fails. State spending on drug related problems have also dropped by treating addiction as a public health issue.

The drug war frames addiction in fear, discouraging the addict from getting the help that they need and leaves the State with few resources to help those that need it. 

So how could stopping the drug war have saved Whitney?

It probably would not have. A person with her resources already has access to the finest rehab facilities in the world.

But where even a “mediocre” treatment center can cost 20K a month- who but the rich or the well-insured even have the option to get help? Decriminalization may not stop addiction- nothing will. People are going to abuse intoxicants. But as a Society- we need to move away from demonizing the sick and provide them with the help they need, and a jail cell is just making the problem worse.

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8 Responses to Whinery: Whitney Houston & The Drug War

  1. Super Dave says:

    Not A Public health Issue
    I have to say that drug addiction will carry on regardless of the law. When we worship people who die from it, lower flags to half-mast for them who die from it, we are admitting what a bunch of losers we are. She didn

  2. chuck says:

    Excellent take Hearne and dead on the money.
    I like this take from Super Dave too.

    “When we worship people who die from it, lower flags to half-mast for them who die from it, we are admitting what a bunch of losers we are.”

    In day to day life, on the news, in the media, reality TV, sitcoms, your neighborhoods good and bad, at work, in restaurants, everywhere folks are smoking marijauna. Obviously they shouldn’t be doing it at work or driving, but the point is, that the use of marijauna is ubiquitous. When our government criminalizes an activity that is so common, there are pernicious and unexpected repercussions.

    Our government criminalizes a large segment of our society, thereby decreasing respect for the law and for law enforcement officers.

    Then, after conviction, a law abiding citizen is ostracized by way of work opportunity, social status and may even lose his/herr right to vote.

    This is absurd and the government’s postion on marijauna is categorically and metaphysically untennable on ANY level.

    The war on drugs is a complete failure, that has destroyed respect for the law, marginalized and incarcerated our neighbors, burned through utold trillions of dollars and spread fear and anger throughout our nation.

    I realize that I have been speaking of only marijauna and here is why. For crying out loud, locking up folks for smoking or selling pot is as big a travesty as I can think of. I wish I liked the stuff, it would be a hell of a lot better on me mentally and physically than booze.

    We have all known pot heads all our lives. In my life, I have NEVER seen a couple of pot heads fight, shoot each other, wreck cars, or any of the many negative aspects associated with booze. Yes, I am sure that it must happen, but not much.

    The dumbasses are sitting around eating Cheetos and watching bad TV.

    Wow. That is dangerous.

    Of course it would be a better world if no one drank or smoked pot, I guess… That is not realistic and the least we can do, is to mitigate the problems we have on the Mexican border, in our prisons and in society, by legalizing marijauna, taxing the shit out of it and putting some cash in the Federal and State banks.

    Clear out prison space for violent ofenders, not drug addicts and pot heads.

    Lock up violent offenders and keep them there, off of the streets, instead of having to release them because of a lack of prison space.

    One of my best friends, 20 years ago had a sister in law who, in Oklahoma, got her 3rd offense for using drugs. Her first offense was I believe, pot, then the last two times coke. A weekend user. We are talking grams, nothing… She just got out. She had three kids.

    She was just some dumbass lady, who smoked cigerettes, drank canned beer, had 10.00 an hour jobs and was totally insignificant.

    Befor ya go crazy, I am NOT saying she was a model citizen or a perfect mom. I am saying that imprisoning her for all these years, THAT my friends, THAT was a crime. A ridiculous, needless cost, to our society, her family and children.

    Its just sick, and its gotta stop.

    Great article Hearne.

  3. tiad says:

    tiad says:
    If they legalize drugs, will there be room to be put the “no legal drugs” sign (a hypo needle with a big red line through it) next to all of the “no legal guns” signs on all of the doors to all of the buildings in town?

  4. mike says:

    what is crazy
    What I really don’t understand is how on one hand the drugs are illegal, but on the other hand, much of what we spend on welfare and food stamps is actually enabling those with substance abuse problems. We spend taxes on the drug war and give money to the drug users with our tax money. Meanwhile, the drug use keeps increasing, the crime rate goes up, children are neglected, and people keep dying. Obviously what we are doing now is not working and making the illegal drug cartels rich and powerful similar to how the prohibition did with the criminals in the 1920s.

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    No need to ramble on endlessly to say…
    I agree.

    Bobby Brown = guilty of manslaughter.

    Accomplices = Clive Davis, Ray Watson, et al.

    I was in Springfield for the weekend so only caught bits and pieces till last night. My primary visual indication something was wrong? Jessie Jackson on the platform, barely awake. That piece of slime manages to show up for anything that involves a camera.

    I had one conclusion after fast forwarding through it on DVR; Tyler Perry missed his calling. He

  6. JWHS says:

    Wrong
    Not sure why it is so hard for some people to accept. Whitney was the problem. Not Bobby Brown, Clive Davis or anyone else. Whitney was messed up long before she met Bobby Brown. She sought out her own kind, yet he wasn’t nearly as screwed up as she was. She was not a sweet innocent thing who was corrupted by others. Get a clue before making such comments. Good article that made a lot of sense.

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    JWHS, I dont think I said she wasnt the problem
    ..and I didnt make any excuses for a lack of personal responsibility. She was, however, surrounded by people who could have been part of the solution but they chose to profit off of her instead. Looks like most family members were on the payroll in some way or the other.

    But since you seem to know her personally and have more inside facts than anyone, I’ll defer to you while I go shopping for a clue.

  8. balbonis moleskine says:

    witney bigger than Elvis
    Witney had an addiction that could have been treated, she just never made the jump to sobriety like she should have. It isn’t our job to sit around and tisk tisk her lifestyle. She was very talented, sold many records, lived hard, partied harder, and died young. Died in a bathtub filled with Olive Oil, which is pretty baller way to check out.

    All in all, it could have been a life better lived. But she lived it the way she wanted and to a certain extent we have to accept that people’s bodies are sovereign and their decisions to abuse drugs are their own.

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