Drug addicts do not deserve our indulgence

An opinion piece from the Telegraph (U.K.):

…yo-yo addicts silt up the courts and the judiciary system, lower the quality of life and deplete medical funds that might otherwise be available for hip replacements and Alzheimer’s drugs. Addicts mug old ladies to pay for their habit, then commit even more heinous crimes when off their faces on their beloved drugs.

The sympathetic, liberal portrayal of them as a luckless lot brought low by reduced circumstances and foreshortened futures is wearing very, very thin.

Ronnie and Gordon Ramsay shared a difficult, fractured upbringing, but while Gordon worked day and night to better himself and his situation, fragile Ronnie preferred the muffling embrace of the drug trance to the brisk slap of reality. So many do, when faced with a tough choice.

Yet everyone has problems, and the lives of most of us are storm-tossed in one way or another. It must not be forgotten that the root cause of drug use is the desire for enhanced pleasure; it might degenerate into self-inflicted misery at the end, but that’s how it starts.

They get a high, everyone else gets a low. They want to cut out tedium and monotony, the rest of us just have to get on with it. In many ways, chronic drug addicts are even more selfish than suicides because – for their family and friends – the agony goes on and on.

For Ronnie Ramsay, the living will not be easy in a Far East prison. Not like here, where jailed addicts are to be given disinfectant tablets with which to clean their syringes, in an attempt to protect their human right not to suffer blood poisoning.

You would think they might have thought of that before they started filling their veins with Class A drugs, but reason has never been the strong point of druggies. They render themselves helpless through their vices, while expecting us to pick up the pieces.

What is there to say? I saw some of the same sentiment in the ABC Primetime episode focusing on Daniel Baldwin. The reporter was unable to conceal her contempt for the disease model and repeatedly suggested that addiction is a result of choice. (Although, it is possible to be an irresponsible creep and an addict.)

We have done a poor job of defining the balance volitional impairment and personal responsibility.

I suppose an important lesson is to consider the impact of interventions, not just on the target, but also on public attitudes.