9 August 2001.

- HEROIN. Diacetyl Morphine. SMACK. HORSE. etc. -

The recent debate on the talk back radio waves of Sydney, Australia is whether to provide Heroin to addicts.

Opium is the original substance from which Heroin is derived.  Given raw Opium, any reasonably competent chemist can refine it to produce morphine & then Acetylize the product.  Opium derivatives produce a pleasant dream state, constipation, and a general feeling of relaxation.  Opium is grown in Tasmania, Afghanistan, Turkey & the Golden Triangle (the Thailand-Burma-China border area).

Heroin purchased illegally usually comes as a white or gray solid (rocks) or powder.  It may be smoked in a cigarette, put on foil and heated until it bubbles & vaporizes (when the fumes are inhaled, called "chasing the dragon") or dissolved in water & injected either intramuscularly or intravenously.  However it is taken, it quickly forms true addiction.  When injected intravenously it produces a "rush" or "flash" which is considered extremely gratifying by users.  Injected intravenously, Heroin it is extremely addictive.

Until the 1920's Opium was readily available without prescription from the local chemist as "Laudanum Solution".  Morphine has been used for decades by the medical profession as a preoperative relaxant and pain killer.  It is generally injected into a muscle.  In clinical doses it has no known harmful side effects.

If Opium and it's derivatives were reasonably priced and legal, they would probably present no more of a social problem than do cigarettes or alcohol.

It is the year 2001 & Heroin has been illegal in Australia for more than 70 years.  In that time it's use has grown steadily.  Because it must be imported with considerable risk, it is very expensive.  It costs less than AU$5.00 per gram in India.  In Australia it can be purchased for up to AU$200.00 per gram.

For the addict, the problem with Heroin is twofold.  It is expensive, and as the addict's tolerance rises with use, so the consumption also rises.  It is extremely difficult to give up, although former addicts state that it is easier to give up than cigarettes.

The rise in tolerance of users is the reason that addicts most frequently overdose.  After a period of deprivation, an addict's tolerance drops rapidly.  When a new supply is found, taking of the amount that would previously have been adequate is now lethal.

Importers of Heroin are undoubtedly making a fortune.  Addicts are dissipating fortunes, committing crimes of theft & violence & engaging in prostitution to purchase the drug, overdosing and spreading STD (AIDS) within the community.

All of the above evils directly result from the fact that using Heroin has been made a criminal act by our legislators.
Legislators made the same mistake with "the prohibition" in the USA, and similar evils resulted.

The existence of laws against Heroin is clearly not reducing it's use.

The question that radio talk hosts ask should not be "should we legalize Heroin?".  The question should be "Why did we ever make Heroin Illegal?".  History suggests that Opiates are illegal because our bosses needed workers.  Opiated workers are not good workers.

So where does SPIN stand?  Apart from legal questions, SPIN is unconcerned if other people want to use Heroin.  As a libertarian, SPIN feels that unless Heroin has been proven to cause the user to be a danger to others (as for instance DUI) then it should not be illegal or prohibited.   The downside of using Opiates are widely known.   If people wish to use Heroin despite that knowledge, then that is their concern and responsibility.

SPIN would favor legislation that permitted any doctor to prescribe Heroin to anyone over 21 after giving a warning of the dangers & likely consequences.

SPIN would try to teach children that indulging in Heroin is a no-no, just as indulging in cigarettes or more than about an ounce of alcohol daily is a no-no.  Having the state act as a backup parent is not a good idea.

And finally, SPIN thinks that if ever diagnosed with a painful and incurable disease, then it would be nice to be able to go to the nearest doctor and ask for take-home Heroin to alleviate the pain.


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