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January 27, 2005

Heroin Fatalities Double in Austin, Texas, Despite Prohibition

KXAN News 36 in Austin, Texas has reported that despite drug prohibition remaining fully in place, heroin deaths in Austin nevertheless more then doubled, from the low-mid twenties in 2003 to 50 in 2004 -- 2005 has gotten off to a bad start with the latest fatality coming this past Tuesday. According to the report, prosecutors are seeking severe prison terms even for low-level players in the distribution chain as a result.

It would be unfortunate if they got them. The way to reduce heroin overdoses and poisonings is to move the trade into a legal, regulated environment in which users can know what they are getting. Certainly there are some, probably many dealers who knowingly put their customers' lives at risk by providing bad stuff, and there are dealers who engage in violent behavior and who are legitimate targets of the criminal justice system for that reason. Going after the former group might help a little in preventing ODs; going after the latter will clearly not. Many low-level suppliers are addicts who have been driven to it by the high price of heroin that prohibition has caused. Many others are just down and out people who are doing what they need to do to survive.

In the end, the government shares in the blame for most if not all of these deaths, because the government's prohibition laws made them more likely. Legalization, not prosecutions or lengthy sentences, will rescue generations of heroin addicts.

KXAN News 36 accepts comments online here. I haven't seen this story run anywhere else yet; please post back here if you do.

- Dave Borden, DRCNet

Posted by dborden725 at January 27, 2005 07:05 PM

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Comments

Please listen to me! I had a friend who went from Minnesota to this area and became a junkie. He lived in abandoned houses and shot up dope and had to kill Mexicans who threatened to blow things...if ya know what I mean! He told me of the terrors and I should've listened harder because the next thing I knew my LandLady was murdered. She left her door open at night, etc. He knew she had money and booze. To make a very long story short, if dope was legal and people weren't being cheated by the government and Big Biz and let's face it!!! The Drug War is just a MASK for the REAL Drug Dealers-Companies...Ya know the Pharmaceutical Ones! Oxycontin is a way better way to go for dopers who want cocaine or heroin and could be given away by these HUGE MOGULS who run capitol hill and just lately had to quit giving presents to doctors (bribing)and who won't give me what I need and I have GENUINE PAIN BIG TIME! Tell me, do you think if you had your leg popped out backwards and got pins, plastic, and even a screw in your knee it would hurt? Yet, because I would not stay in a Nursing Home after I could use crutches to walk, they cut me from 100mg. Duragesic and 2 oxycodone every 4 hrs. to nothing in 1 month flat. I never had a "Drug Problem"...Alcohol caused me plenty of problems after some brain injury...but NOT until this leg thing 1999 did I have the urge to be dead due to pain! Everyday has been a struggle, I'd get a new doc and someone had to mess with it...Detox, Gfriend, The System, what do I do? I been trying my ass off to get somewhere on the net so I can afford the crap if I can even get a script out of these jerk doctors here...in Bum F**k Egypt!!! I need to talk to the right people SOON...b4 I GIVE UP! I can't even sleep due to pain and what I get off the street isn't cutting it! HELP---SOMEONE! I'd like to think I'm a very talented artist and quite knowledgeable about alot of stuff, but...what do I do?

Posted by: Bunholio at January 28, 2005 07:19 PM

The Daily Texan covered it here:

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2004/10/06/StateLocal/HeroinRelated.Deaths.In.Austin.Rise-743223.shtml

and I put something on Grits.

Best, Scott Henson

Posted by: Scott at January 28, 2005 07:22 PM

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