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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Opioid crisis—Conservative Kansas law makers care more about controlling morality than saving lives

From The Idiot Factor:

Once again we see the paranoia of anti-drug Kansas conservatives. The latest fiasco is the Kansas legislators refusing to lift a ban on strips that would allow a person to test recreational drugs for fentanyl. According to Kansas Reflector:

"Hutchinson Rep. Jason Probst pleaded with legislative colleagues Sunday to repeal a 41-year-old state statute defining test strips as drug paraphernalia to enable Kansans to more easily test illegal drugs for presence of fentanyl that has fueled a wave of overdose deaths.

The 2022 Legislature returns to Topeka on Monday for what typically amounted to a brief ceremonial gathering to close out the annual session. There is potential, however, the Republican-led House and Senate could be interested in taking up tax or transportation legislation, which could open the door to a longer day and consideration of other issues.

In April before the Legislature took a long break, the Kansas Senate blocked a bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine. Dealers can be blend it with heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, but consumers of those drugs can’t visually discern contents of those substances."

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic narcotic. The Kansas Department of Health Environment pointed to 338 overdose deaths in this state from Jan. 1, through June 30, of 2021. They estimated that 149 were linked to fentanyl. That is a 54% rise in overdose deaths from a similar period in 2020.

In my opinion that drug is responsible for the majority of opioid deaths since the so called “opioid crises” began.

For years now, politicians and the mainstream press have attacked all opioid drugs and have accused drug dealers (legal and illegal) of all-out murder. We keep hearing all the statistics of large amounts of deaths attributed to opioids.

I for one have suggested that people who use drugs like that should have some degree of freedom of choice over how they live their lives. There are people who use narcotics for pain relief and at times, self medication for a number of illnesses of both of physical and psychological needs. We don’t need the government to tell us what we can and can’t do in the privacy of our own homes.

Opioids have been around for most of my life time. There have always been some deaths attributed to their use—especially heroin. But the death statistics today seem much higher than in more recent years. The one element that seems to make sense is that fentalyn is much stronger and more dangerous than heroin or any other opioid. Fentalyn is 100 times stronger than heroin. It only takes a tiny pinch of pure heroin to get a person high and just a little more than that to kill a first time user. A fentalyn dose is as small is just two grains of salt. Normally, on the black market, both drugs are diluted by their dealers. It is hard to mix and dilute a drug like Fentalyn, since it takes so little to kill a person.

One problem with Fentalyn is that it is sold legally in hospitals for use to kill pain. Heroin, on the other hand, can’t be sold legally under any circumstances, even though it is the safer drug.

Several years ago, there were people proposing that addicts be given clean needles to stop such diseases as AIDS.[1] Conservatives blocked it and even admitted that they would rather see addicts die rather than take drugs. For a lot of us, such a sentiment is unthinkable and just plane cruel. People with a drug problem, or those who self medicate, don’t deserve the death penalty.

Kansas Reflector provided this example of such an opinion by a Kansas Senator:

"Sen. Kelli Warren, a Leawood Republican seeking the GOP nomination for attorney general, said passage of the bill could appear as if Kansas was creating a haven for consumption of illicit drugs. She said people should take personal accountability and shouldn’t take illegal drugs."

She is one of those who would rather see an drug user die than get high. Those who hold such views are no better than Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who has made the murder of drug users not only legal but a national policy. Surely we can do better than that.

Those strips do not make it easier to use hard drugs. They can save a lot of people’s lives. It is about time we start focusing on saving people’s lives rather than trying to control personal morality.

America does not need a form of fascism to control drug epidemics. It is time to get rid of those out-dated and destructive laws that are part of our capitalist society.  This attitude helps prevent us from achieving a much freer society.

Pix by Why fentanyl is deadlier than heroin.


[1] acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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