Richard "Dick" Illyes

Richard “Dick” Illyes

To the drug warriors and druggy haters, I ask: What would you do if someone broke open your door and shot your dog. What if you were in a back bedroom and your gun was handy? Would you say to yourself: “No problem, this is probably just a SWAT team with the wrong address?”

Folks, the drug war is insane. It has failed for years, just as alcohol prohibition failed. It can’t possibly work. It has cost trillions of dollars and screwed up the entire Hispanic world, where gangs are now so bad that cops are leaving their countries to try to save their lives.

There’s a way to stop it. Let addicts go to any physician and get a prescription for their drug. If we allowed addicts to get their fix cheaply and legally the profit from illicit drug dealing would immediately disappear, along with dealers and drug gangs. Addicts would just be seen as addicts, not edgy people who have found a way to feel good all the time.

If that happened, addicts would look like losers and winos, not interesting people who could get you into the game. Their presence in society would actively discourage drug use.

Instead of trying to hook others as customers to make money and help feed their habits, they could get all they could use at very low cost. Would they still try to hook others to make money abusing their prescription? Maybe, but if those others got addicted they could just get cheap drugs too.

There’s a belief among the non-using public that drugs are some magic key to a life of peace and happiness. To those of us who have seen it and known addicts and users, it’s obvious this isn’t true. As Mel Tillis sang: “…ain’t no big rock candy mountain where you feel good all the time.”

Drugs have side effects. In a world where addicts could get them legally the side effects would be printed on the bottles. They’re not something most people would want to subject themselves to. Drugs also lose their intoxicating effects after continued use, but larger doses make the side effects worse.

The most widely trafficked drugs, opioids and opium derivatives, and methamphetamine, have some really discouraging side effects. Common side effects of opioids are vomiting, constipation, delayed gastric emptying, scratching of non-existent itches, loss of sexual performance and hormonal dysfunction.

Common side effects of methamphetamine use are nosebleeds, blackened, rotting teeth (“meth mouth”), broken teeth (the result of meth-induced tooth grinding) and the famous “meth sores,” caused by endless scratching of non-existent itches, also found in opioid addiction. If there was no money in pushing them, nobody would be trying to get on these drugs.

Let’s stop throwing good money after bad. No more SWAT team raids, no more taxes on non-users to support an industry of drug warriors, counselors, prosecutors, and prisons. No more taxpayer hits for millions in payments to SWAT team screw-up victims. No more vicious drug gangs. No more endless thievery to support addictions.

Take the profit out of it and the problem will disappear.

Richard “Dick” Illyes is a Libertarian Party activist and lives in Dickinson.


(14) comments

Carlos Ponce

What you describe is already in effect. Haven't you heard of OxyContin and the thousands of deaths associated?
"Take the profit out of it and the problem will disappear." You wish!
The "snake oil salesmen" of yesteryear have been replaced by the street drug seller of today.
"Don't go to the doctor to get your high. Only a wimp would do that. Now I've got some GOOD stuff! Step right up, put your money down."
The above presentation is hokey but you get the gist.

Bailey Jones

While I generally agree with the idea of treating addiction as the disease it is, your proposal would just transfer the profits from drug addiction from the illegal drug dealer to the legal drug maker (Big Pharma). And that's not without some benefits - lord knows our insatiable hunger for drugs is coming back to us in the form of refugees fleeing the remains of the countries that our habits have destroyed. But the ultimate solution to our drug problem lies in investing in those programs that treat addiction (preferably not in the current form of for-profit "addiction centers " with dubious effect) and also in something much more nebulous and difficult - restoring to Americans the kind of hopeful and fulfilling lives that don't need to be filled with drugs. That comes through education, a sense of purpose and community, and useful work that pays the sort of wage that allows for a dignified life.

George Croix

Don't shoot the dog.
Shoot the dam_ dopers.

Problem solved........

Don Schlessinger

George you always seem to have solid, practical answers to problems like this. I like that.[beam]

Bob Gresham

What Mr. Illyes is proposing is the ONLY way to solve the problem. As he noted, during Prohibition, the "gangs" came about as a result of the money. Today, we spend billions on the "War on Drugs" with poor results. As long as the profits are there, the underground criminal element will be all in. Unfortunately, this legalization and taxation of common drugs will never happen, due to far too much money and far too many jobs being linked to the War on Drugs. The US Govt has never had much stomach for admitting a losing policy was indeed losing!

George Croix

"Let addicts go to any physician and get a prescription for their drug.'

So, other than the dopers would then get their doctor visits and their disconnects from reality paid for by someone else, how exactly would still being doped up solve the problems the dopers create of broken homes, family abuses, collateral damage to innocent parties, the public still on the hook for 'rehab' for the ones forced into that, etc.....? That up-close-and-personal impact that the doper has on those around him.

Fortunately, legalizing booze solved all those problems as they related to alcohol consumption.......

But, but, would stop the street wars and gang fights and trafficking that all are a result of selling dope, just like it did for alcohol!!!

For some reason, I am reminded of World War I....the 'War to End All Wars'.........

Robert Braeking

Not only is the 'war on drugs' stupid, it has unintended consequences. People are going to prison for taking their own money out of the bank and paying their bills with it. The crime is 'factoring'.

People are going to prison with the attendant consequences for smoking wild vegetation when nobody is effected except themselves. The natural fiber rope industry was outlawed with the controlling of this substance. That fiber can also be used to make textiles but the government is dead-set against the industry. It is easy to produce on marginal land - such as that found in Galveston County.

Also it is incumbent on one to go to a doctor to get a prescription for a routine drug. I take Lisinopril® to control blood pressure. I monitor the results and my dosage is correct for my condition. Why must I go to a doctor and give her my hard-earned cash to have her agree and renew my prescription every 90 days? One day when I am in a country that is not so stupid I will purchase a couple of years' supply and cut out the middle man (woman).

Mr. Illyes is on the right track but is holding back on the throttle. I say take government control off of all drugs and return to an age when we went to a pharmacist instead of a physician.

Don Schlessinger

Apparently the future bodes well for dopers and those who have made a decision to just not work. Cheap legal drugs dispensed by pharmacies and a Socialist government that will pay you not to work, man that's going to be popular! I wonder, after reading the physical effects of meth and other drugs, if we will see more people wandering the streets with black and missing teeth along with the other side effects. Given my age I don't think these ideas will effect me. I do worry about my great grandchildren and the America they will live in though.

Kelly Naschke

If any of that made a case against this commentary drink are a hypocrite.

George Croix

Not wanting MORE legally intoxicated people ending up driving around or screwing up other people's lives or their own family's or soaking taxpayers for 'rehab' and not wanting to pay to subsidize some doper's SELF-addiction is hypocrisy?
Is anyone advocating supplying drunks with booze at government expense so they theoretically don't cause problems?
Ok. Actual hypocrisy would bother me but then I don't care what dopers think, or drunks...only what they do that impacts anyone other than themselves......
Can't quite agree with that one bad thing is legal so another bad thing should be's oil poured on grease already on a slippery slope....

BTW, I don't drink or's too short to spend it disconnected......imo......

Robert Braeking

George, you don't understand the problem. I would never advocate the government supplying the substances but the cost would go down so low without jack booted thugs blasting down doors. The drugs that people abuse are relatively very cheap but government interdiction raises the cost to such levels as to encourage organized criminals to be involved in production and distribution. Even alcohol is cheap to produce but taxes raise the cost by $26.50 per gallon for federal tax and $2.40 per gallon for state tax. That does not include the 8.25% sales tax which is charged on the taxed value of the product.

Wildwood flower grows wild. Everything else is as cheap to produce and distribute as aspirin. The point is that without government interdiction dopers would not have to steal your stuff and pawn it to buy drugs. Dealers would not find it worthwhile to battle over territory. Police departments could protect and serve instead of terrorize and intimidate.

The amount of money expended and lives endangered by the totally ignorant 'war on drugs' could be saved. Our prisons would become relatively vacant.......but that would not be good for the prison owners......who are profiting from the futile war.

George Croix

Disagreeing is not a synonym for misunderstanding.
I understand what you think the solution to the problem is, Robert.
It sure sounds good the way you say you figure it would all work out......sounds great...
No sarcasm DOES sound fine.
But, in the present reality, dopers already don't HAVE to steal stuff...they choose to do so...just as they choose to be dopers...
Unless they were held down and forced to use that cra_ it's their choice....
You may well be right and me wrong. Freely admitted by me. But for now, IMO, I'd rather save the dog and get rid of the dopers....
I'd actually support government supplied FREE dope of all kinds for anyone wanting it as long as their PERSONAL ACTIONS were confined to a place away from anyone they could cause grief or harm...just smoke/shoot/snort that stuff till death do they part on the taxpayers dime while they lasted....
I have a very personal issue/viewpoint about dopers ruining lives of others, so freely admit to being very much prejudiced on the subject....
I am not looking for agreement. Just stating my personal opinion.

Paul Hyatt

Drugs and alcohol are the bane of this society as to many do not know how to control themselves. As for cheap drugs dispensed by Doctors? Well if you have a good talk and go to a pain management Doctor you can get your drugs and they are not that expensive. But then when the dopers are killing themselves by taking to much the public gets upset. The public also gets upset when the prisons are full because of the dopers and suppliers and people do not know what to do. Our nation started tossing God out of the equation and our lives back in the 60's and now we wonder why everything has gone upside down. Of course this is all just my opinion.

Robert Braeking

I think you hit the nail on the head, Paul. Without God and a moral compass all these things are possible.

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