Heroin, Harm Reduction, and Self-Defeating Leftists

As it relates to progressivism/leftism, there are two observations that we frequently make in these parts:

  • progressivism necessitates governmental expansion
  • progressivism makes possible the political entrenchment of corporatist & globalist interests that do not have humanity’s best interests at heart.

For these reasons alone, progressivism is an incredibly virulent agent of unfreedom and destruction that must be combated at every opportunity.

The thing about progressivism that I’ve always thought curious is the disconnect between the policies that progressives support and the consequent outcomes of those selfsame policies. What I’ve noticed is that the policies, systems, and actors that they favor more often than not create the conditions that inadvertently facilitate the rise of policies, systems, and actors that they disfavor. This occurs because the average progressive leftist is incapable of making connections between disparate and seemingly unrelated things.

To make things more concrete: leftists support unfettered social liberalism at all costs and either (1) ignore the societal decay that this extreme liberalism leaves in its wake or (2) blames the resultant decay on “the system.” They decry all formal attempts to police the decay and malign all informal criticisms of the decay as “intolerant.”  Leftists are, at the same time, intensely anti corporation. What they never realize is that by encouraging aberrant and destructive behaviors while handicapping all effective legal and social mechanisms that would control aberrant and destructive behaviors, they create a scenario wherein the very interests they oppose (corporations) become the only entities capable of dealing with the rot that is a direct consequence of the things they support.

Take this NPR article about an anti overdose drug, for example.

Around the U.S., a worsening heroin epidemic has more and more cities turning to the anti-overdose drug naloxone to reduce deaths from abuse. Also known as Narcan, the medication blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the respiratory depression that occurs during an overdose.

The article begins by unironically stating that another drug is what’s needed to control a drug epidemic that is already raging out of control. Naturally, the Brahmins at NPR won’t bother to consider the underlying causes of this terrible epidemic; they’ll just wring their hands and wail about how horrible this all is. I’ll venture this guess though: I bet that all of the hand wringers are the same people who support comprehensive drug decriminalization, because recreational drug use doesn’t hurt anybody. Except when it hurts everybody, of course.

So what’s been happening as a result of this epidemic and what’s going on with naloxone?

Baltimore recently stepped up its naloxone training, focusing on drug users, and their families and friends. So far this year, city health workers have taught nearly 4,400 people how to use naloxone. That’s more than quadruple the number trained in 2014. A big concern for Baltimore and other cities is the price of naloxone, which has risen dramatically as demand has gone up. In February, the Baltimore City Health Department was paying about $20 a dose. By July, the price had climbed to nearly $40 a dose.

It turns out that turning a blind eye to drug use and discouraging authorities from vigorously prosecuting users and dealers has had a deleterious impact on cities around the U.S. Liberal nonjudgmentalism has a rather steep cost, it would appear. Now, rather than penalizing drug users, keeping drugs off the streets, and cracking down on scum of the earth dealers and other drug trade operatives, American city leaders must contract with a third-party, institutional drug dealer pharmaceutical company to obtain licit drugs to prevent their residents from overdosing on illicit drugs that, due to the cities’ lax drug law enforcement, has been flooding their streets.

Of course, as these cities devolve into modern-day opium dens, city governments must expand their suite of services (and raise taxes) to ensure that their residents don’t drop like flies from overdoses. As cities across the U.S. race to stockpile the drug of all drugs from the same manufacturer, the manufacturer has begun to increase the price. This price increase only reflects the increased costs of R & D and not the realities of supply and demand, of course.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, places the blame squarely on the manufacturers and, in particular, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes the naloxone most widely used by health departments and police.

“When drug companies increase their prices and charge exorbitant rates, they decrease the access to the drug,” Cummings said this summer. “There’s something awfully wrong with that picture.”

Amphastar says it raised prices because of increased manufacturing costs, including a rise in the prices of raw materials, energy and labor.

“What’s wrong with [the] picture” is actually that cities are looking to a drug company to deal with the effects of their bad governance rather than improving the quality of their governance and taking active measures to deal with the fallout from their shit policies.

While naloxone has been around for decades, Amphastar has excelled in drug delivery design. No icky needles. So for the time being, Amphastar is the only game in town.

Today, Baltimore and other cities are choosing intranasal naloxone for community use — naloxone that can be sprayed into the nostril and doesn’t require needles. The intranasal delivery method isn’t explicitly approved by the FDA. Amphastar is currently the only company that makes naloxone in a dosage that can be administered that way.

Great. So what’s the obvious effect of this? Demand for naloxone is rising (over 40 states have passed laws facilitating access to naloxone) while the supply remains pretty much flat, and Amphastar has an effective monopoly, so prices rise. Of course, this places the corporation in a pretty flush bargaining position and forces city officials to go cap in hand to it. So now, this corporation can call the shots. This corporation can manipulate prices. This corporation now has a seat at the political table. The corporation has the power extract money from cities and steer cities in directions that will be beneficial to it. And stupid prog drug liberalization policies have made this possible. But never will they question the wisdom of what they have promoted. Thus have the anti corporatist pursued policies that ultimately produced corporate capture, allowing this company to gouge the nation.

Rather than discouraging and penalizing vice (because that would be judgmental and cast the first stone and f*ck the drug war man!) and allowing the “prison-industrial complex” to do the job of keeping drugs, drug dealers, and drug users off the streets (because prisons are corporations man!), leftists make possible the creation of new, equally corporatist stakeholder interests that arise in order to deal with the blowback from policies that were designed to reduce the influence of such stakeholders in the political process in the first place. I bet these corporations also support moves towards more sensible drug policy and harm reduction.

Stupid, but square one always looks like progress to the dim-witted.