Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The absurdity of "re-tox"

Apparently, prisons are considering re-toxification programmes for inmates who are on the verge of release. I'm not going to mince my words here, the idea is absurd.

Let me put this straight though, I'm not saying it's absurd because I'm vehemently anti-drugs. In fact, my libertarian tendancies mean I believe that if people choose to take drugs then that is up to them, they do so at the risk of the law but it remains their decision. For me the Government's role should be one of massive education about the dangers of taking substances, and should reinforce exactly why certain drugs carry such severe penalties for possession and dealing. What the Government should not be doing is actively helping people take drugs, and "re-tox", whichever way you put it, is doing just that.

The argument in favour of this approach is that former heroin addicts are dying of overdoses on release because they've gone clean and don't realise they can't handle as much anymore. However, "re-toxing" addicts in preparation for release is nonsense as it makes the de-tox programmes they are put on a complete waste of money. Not only that, we would effectively be sending people out of prison straight back into the crminal world they came from. It's an absurd idea because it is entirely circular.

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