In Chasing the Scream physician John Marks is quoted as saying that many “of the harms of drugs are to do with the laws around them, not the drugs themselves.” (Hari, 2015, p. 210) The thought process surrounding the idea that drugs are not the problem but the laws surrounding drugs is very complicated for me. I do agree with the idea Britain originally backed in the beginning of the drug wars: They said addicts were ill and that it was immoral to leave them to suffer or die (Hari, 2015, p.207) However, when John Marks started his journey with prescribing addicts with heroin he stated, They were “maybe a few dozen lads, the occasional girl, who came and got their tot of junk…Railwaymen, bargemen, all walks of life really.”(Hari, 2015, p.208) My problem with his concept is: Many of these people he was prescribing to were laborers who were potentially under the influence of this heroin while working, putting many others in mortal risk. Sure, prescribing pure heroin will reduce the number and severity of addicts that is good but how does this effect other innocents around these people?
It is my belief that prescribing heroin to addicts is not a valid option for The United States from a legality angle. Currently Nevada law states: Although employers may create workplace policies prohibiting recreational marijuana use, employers need to remain cognizant of their obligations to accommodate medical marijuana users. As of April 1,2014, Nevada employers must, in certain circumstances, make reasonable accommodations for the medical needs of an employee who holds a valid medical marijuana registry card(Lane &Hall, 2017). Obliviously, there is a difference between medical marijuana and medical heroin, however how would one differentiate which one is acceptable and which one is not? How do we enforce workplace safety? Is it not our goal to get the addicts back into the world and make them productive citizens again? Under John Marks’s ideas this would include prescribing medicinal heroin for use in the workplace. How would we protect the innocent?
Hari, J. (2015). Chasing the scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs. Bloomsbury.
Lane, D., & Hall, A. (2017). Working Through the Haze: What Legal Marijuana Means for Nevada Employers. Employee Relations Law Journal, 43(1), 69–74.