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Monday, January 01, 2007

Drug Freeland Part 3 Abuser Pays

Part 2 of Drug Freeland dealt with restoring parental authority over children, the next step we should take before legalising drugs is reforming the health system.


Step Number Two. The Replacement of State Medicine by Entrepeneurial Medicine

Abuser pays should be the rule when it comes to "recreational" drugs and medical care.

Taking mind altering drugs always damages the body and/or brain to some degree.

Their whole effect depends on distorting the nervous system in order to produce an unreal perception of reality.

Currently huge amounts of taxpayers money is diverted to alleviate the damage caused by drug abuse.

Most psychiatric hospitals are full of chemical heads, as are accident wards and rehab units. The taxpayer funds methadone programmes, employs numerous counsellors and psychiatrists and runs "halfway houses" all over the country.

In New Freeland all this state mollycoddling will stop. All medicine will be private and paid for by the user, his insurance company, or by some form of private charity.

If an individual overdoses on heroin, gives himself cirrhosis, lung cancer or a mental breakdown, he will bear the cost.

Obviously private health insurance will be near universal and the premiums paid will take into account the individual's reliance on toxic "relief". Most drug abuse will probably result in complete denial of cover, or heavily loaded premiums.

Drugs will soon lose their "glamour" if you have to sell your house to fund a two year spell in a psychiatric ward.

Those who insist on damaging their brains through the ingesting of toxic chemicals will either bear the cost themselves or depend on the goodwill of others to help them out of their difficulties.

The good news is that if drug abuse is treated as a medical rather than a criminal problem, more effective means of help will be available.

The network of private charities and charity hospitals partially destroyed by the welfare state will re-generate. The free society will also be the benevolent society.

Currently state drug rehab services have a vested interest on keeping people on their books, in order to justify their own existence.

Private providers rely on private money and have a vested interest in getting results, getting people off drugs and back into productive employment. Private charities are run largely by volunteers, many of whom would love to do themselves out of a job.

Private companies will also step in to provide better and better drug dependency cures, rehab clinics and the like. Curing drug abuse will become a "gap in the market", just like curing erectile dysfunction, acne, bad breath or crooked teeth.

Entrepeneurs will enter the market looking for more and better ways to cure drug abuse.

Many entrepreneurs and charities will probably contract out to insurance companies. The faster they get people back on their feet, the more money they will make.

If we are bold enough to treat our health services with as much respect as we do the food and clothing industries, we will start to make some real progress on the drug abuse front.

Free markets encourage intelligent business decisions and penalise stupid ones. This gives us better businesses and more wealth.

A free health market would work in the same way. Drug abuse would be treated as the foolish activity it is and be penalised accordingly.

The market, being the most merciful of mechanisms, would also offer fools much more opportunity to overcome their folly.

This would add up to a lot less drug abuse than we suffer under the present irrational regime.

4 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

Trevor, you are on the wrong planet.

Taking mind altering drugs always damages the body and/or brain to some degree.

Try removing "mind altering" and you get

Taking drugs always damages the body and/or brain to some degree.

which is plainly false (or modern medicine is a sham) as anyone can see.

And it's still plainly false when you put "mind-altering" back in

Taking mind altering drugs always damages the body and/or brain to some degree.

Haven't you heard of psychiatric medicine? Nootropic drugs? And, yes, there are recreational drugs with nootropic effects.

I suggest that you have an irrational fear and hatred - akin to homophobia - of drug users (many of whom are libertarians, just like yourself).

3:28 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Richard

There are several points here.

There is a difference between nutrition and drugs.

Vitamins are natural substances which the body needs. They can be absorbed naturally in food or synthethetically in pills.

Steroids are drugs that enhance strength and muscle mass but have some pretty horrendous and sometimes fatal side effects.

Correcting chemical imbalances or deficiencies in the brain through nutritional or even synthetic means is similar in principle, in my opinion to vitamin therapy.

Supercharging your neurons with an unnatural synthetic drug, is in my opinion similar in principle to steroid use.

There may be benefits, but there will almost certainly be a downside.

As I said in my post, there may be medicinal benefits in using psychiactic drugs, but I doubt that anyone would disagree that virtually all have damaging side effects.

To ingest toxic chemicals merely for some kind of high, is in my opinion, highly irresponsible.

I don't hate people who do it. Most people I know use some kind of recreational drug.

I simply want to ensure that they pay for the downside, not me.

How fair is that?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

There is a difference between nutrition and drugs. Well, no, not really. (Or, yes, but it's arbitrary. Take your pick.) All substances that we ingest have a dose-response curve. Take, for example, vitamin C (a "nutrient") and alcohol (a "drug"). In small doses, both are harmless nutrients (alcohol has calorific value) and in large doses both are harmful drugs (too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones).

It seems you are also a true believer in the Luddite distinction between "natural" and "unnatural". This distinction is spurious. Alcohol, GHB (marketed by the mass media as "fantasy"), many opiates and many steroids all occur naturally [sic] in the body. So you cannot legitimately make generalisations like steroids are drugs that have some pretty horrendous side effects, or there will almost certainly be a downside, or virtually all have damaging side effects. It depends entirely on the specific drug, and on the specific dose.

There may be benefits to supercharging your neurons with an unnatural synthetic drug. Damned right. By the end of this century, it will neurologically-augmented humans (or their successors) who govern the planet. See under Transhumanism.

To ingest toxic chemicals merely for some kind of high, is in my opinion, highly irresponsible. To ingest chemicals for some kind of high is, in my opinion, the only rational course of action! Naturally [sic], it's common sense to avoid the more toxic ones. I've taken dozens of different psychiatric and recreational drugs, some on a daily or weekly basis for years or decades, and so far, so good.

Which brings me to the main point of your post. The idea that we must reform the health system (and restore parental authority over children) before we legalise drugs is pernicious! You and I both know that these two conditions are unlikely to be met anytime soon. But sensible drug law reform could be a reality tomorrow if we work together to make it so.

The majority of drug users are not abusers. Just for irony, let's use Peter Dunne's figures of 90% non-abusers, 10% abusers. That means that, under your proposal, the 90% of drug users who do not place extra demands on the public health system must continue to bear the costs of the War on Drugsā„¢ indefinitely. Bugger that.

There is, after all, no evidence that the number of abusers would increase if drugs were legalised, so we would be no worse off in terms of the costs of public health, but so much better off in other respects, if we simply scrapped the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Also, under existing law, discerning drug users are denied the option of using numerous illegal but safer alternatives to our most popular recreational drug, alcohol, which causes more hospitalisation and death than all illicit drugs combined.

And to add insult to injury, we are denied the benefits of research and development into more effective and safer recreational drugs. Who would bother to invest in such research if, as is threatened to happen in the case of STANZ and "party pills", the fruits of such effort are immediately banned?

How fair is that?

4:21 PM  
Blogger MikeE said...

"I suggest that you have an irrational fear and hatred - akin to homophobia - of drug users (many of whom are libertarians, just like yourself)."

Lets assume that Trevor does have an unnatural hatred of all things drug related. He still advocates the legalisation of drugs and personal ownership of ones body. What is wrong with that.

Further more, even if someone has an irrational hatred of homosexuals, what is wrong with that if they believe that people should be able to do what they want in their own bedroom as long as its between consenting adults.

I'm not a fan of fat chicks, but I still think they should have equal rights to others.

Richard -while I agree with what you have said what was the point of you post, it doesn't seem to be relavent to the topic at all?

11:09 PM  

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