Blogs > Liberty and Power > Blessing for Those in Pain, Problem for the Moralist

Jan 22, 2013

Blessing for Those in Pain, Problem for the Moralist

For more than two centuries the subject of opium has been one of great controversy. Both its use and the legal restrictions against its use have been the cause of much human suffering. The Drug War Chronicle has posted a review of the recent works on the topic. They look at Opium: Reality's Dark Dream, by Thomas Dormandy, Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction, by Steven Martin, and Social Poison: The Culture and Politics of Opiate Control in Britain and France, 1821-1926, by Howard Padwa. These book are in the tradition of Arnold Trebach’s The Heroin Solution one of the first works to point out that by demonizing the opium plant we were doing much harm to our society by sacrificing  in many cases a most useful and effective remedy for the world’s pain and in fact adding much to it.  Dormandy argues “Criminalization is justified if it deters potential delinquents and protects the innocent," but he writes. "Little if any evidence suggests that current legislation does either.”

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