Krokodil is one of the most dangerous and destructive drugs known to humanity, and it is solely a product of the Drug War being fought not just in the United States but all over the world. Due to policing, the availability of heroin has decreased, and the price correspondingly increased, which left heroin addicts in a position of being unable to purchase heroin. They turned to a substitute, one that could be produced cheaply and with relative ease–and one whose destructive side effects are absolutely unparalleled in the history of substance abuse.
Oh, yes, this stuff is devastatingly real, and it’s not simply a Russian problem. In fact, krokodil has come to the United States.
A lot of people are taking a look around Cheshire County, particularly certain parts of Keene, and asking, “What happened to this city? Where did all these heroin addicts come from?”
Let us be clear on this subject.
The heroin addicts are a product of the current legal system. Each addict has their own unique reason that they turned to drugs as an escape, and the only way to help any of them, if they decide they want help, will be individually and personally. There is no easy, convenient, one-size-fits-all answer. The folly of simplistic solutions like “Arrest them!” is that it allows us to feel like we are doing something about the problem, but we aren’t–at least, not anything beyond exacerbating it.
Now that cannabis is being legalized across many of the states, we see the old impurities, the dangers of laced marijuana, the incarceration of sellers, and drug-related robberies on a sharp decline. This is not a coincidence, and we should have learned our lesson from the alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s. When the state bans something that people want to do, they won’t simply stop doing it; they’ll instead turn to the black market, to operate in the shadows of society where people are not held to the light of moral expectations. Just as Al Capone and his kind vanished overnight when alcohol Prohibition ended, so will horrific things like krokodil–and the rate of heroin overdoses will plummet, due to users knowing the purity and dosage of what they are taking, things that are solely guesswork these days.
We know that drug sellers will lace heroin with deadly chemicals if they believe the user is a police informant, and we know that the government is willing to poison prohibited substances to “discourage” people from using them.
The truth of the matter is that a person who wants to do heroin a few nights a week when they get off work is no more inherently destructive to themselves or others than a person having a few drinks after work. It’s no more destructive than a person taking a few legitimately-prescribed pain killers. It only becomes destructive because we’ve criminalized it, and will destroy their lives in a misguided effort to “discourage them” from using these substances.
I can’t tell you why a person turns to heroin. I can tell you why I turned to opiates years ago, became addicted, and ultimately kicked the addiction. Each person has their own problems to be dealt with, and drugs typically offer the easiest (if least effective) way of handling them. But if threatening people with assault, kidnapping, and imprisonment was enough to keep people from doing drugs, then we wouldn’t now be at a point where we’re legalizing cannabis because we know it’s not actually as bad as we were once led to believe.
However, the Sheriff’s Office is not a legislature, and is powerless to change the laws on the books. That said, the Sheriff’s Office can refuse to enforce bad laws, and there are few laws worse than Prohibition. As Sheriff, I would ensure that the department enforced and acted upon only those crimes which have an actual victim.
A victimless crime isn’t a crime. It’s a choice.
Candidate for Sheriff of Cheshire County