Monday, 28 September 2009

Where is the junkie rights movement?

I've just finished watching the movie "Milk" and I'm wondering where the junkie rights movement is. Addicts don't choose to be addicts. They are just people who were sad, bored or ignorant at one point in their lives, made a really bad decision and found themselves imprisoned in an addiction from which they find it impossible to escape. Homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, but addiction is. There's no way you can imagine a crowd marching down the street singing "Say it loud, I'm a junkie and I'm proud." Heroin and crack are illegal for starters, but I suspect it's not the addiction that is the source of shame. Prohibition is compelling these people to go against their moral values and break social taboos by stealing and prostituting every day of their lives. How could they not feel shame? How would you feel if you had to steal or sell your body every day of your life to fend off great physical or emotional pain? Addicts are living that life every day. No wonder they seek escape in their next fix. If I were living like that every minute of sobriety would gnaw away at my conscience.

We now know that they don't have to live this life of shame. Prescribing heroin (and/or cocaine) can break the cycle of chaos and allow them to reflect on their lives with the knowledge that they need not go back to stealing and/or prostituting themselves. But yet we hesitate to embrace this new initiative. In the Daily Mail the Taxpayers Alliance states:

"Many taxpayers will have a massive problem paying for addicts’ heroin, particularly at a time when the NHS is unable to provide them with doctor’s appointments or life-saving cancer drugs."

But the Taxpayer's Alliance fails to recognise that in the status quo everyone continues to unwittingly play the "victims of crime" lottery.

Release the balls please.

And the first ball out is BURGLARY! Yes, Janet from Wokingham, you'll go home to find your new flatscreen TV, your Wii, and all your heirloom jewellery gone and your house in a bit of a state. There hasn't been a day when Burglary hasn't been drawn, and 80% of domestic burglaries are motivated by drug use. Hard luck Janet.

Next ball is MUGGING! Angela from Poole, it appears your husband has been stabbed by a drug addict because he wouldn't give up his watch and wallet. Ooh, it says here he's in intensive care so yes Angela, you are excused.

And the third ball out is PROSTITUTION! You won't like this Dave from Milton Keynes. That new boyfriend your 14 year old daughter mentioned just happens to be a drug addict, has your daughter hooked on drugs and she won't be home tonight because she's working the streets in your wife's favourite minidress to fund their addiction. Woah, hard luck Dave... get the idea...

So commiserations to our losers and we'll see you in about 5 minutes time when we start all over again. We're here 24/7 year after year until the Daily Mail , the Taxpayer's Alliance and the rest of the country's prejudiced individuals remove their blinkers and realise what's really going on.

So, back to my point. The addicts may be too ashamed to fight for their own rights so we should fight for them. And frankly, I think we have a right to live in neighbourhoods with vastly reduced levels of burglary, mugging and prostitution do we not? Also, a (few years old now) leaked Downing Street strategy unit report found a yearly £16bn cost of crime committed by addicts to fund drug use. We could really be doing with that money right now.

Addicts' rights to live a life free of shame allow the rest of us to live a life free of fear. Please support the prescription of hard drugs whenever and wherever you can.


Aveek said...

Ewan, I know you're not a big fan of philosophy, but there's a pretty significant debate generations of philosophers have been having about whether we really have free will or not. Personally, I say no, but generally people seem to agree that it's best to at least pretend that we do. If indeed we do accept free will exists, your addict-homosexual analogy doesn't stand up. Gays cannot help who they fancy, addicts have, at some stage made a choice - you even use the word yourself. It's a slightly pedantic point, but one I feel is worth flagging up.

Ewan the liberal beardy said...

I didn't intend to compare the two directly, it's just the film got me thinking about why the last remaining group in our society who are victims of widespread vitriolic prejudice don't stand up for themselves. And yup, still not a big fan of philosophy.