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Drug "War" Casualties
date: 19-July-2005
source : QANDO.NET
editorial comment editorial comment
The binary logic of drug warriors once more at play. Yet another example of the sadistic nature of mandatory sentencing. Compassionate conservative, as they call themselves.....

nnocent civilians who become casualties in war are euphemistically called "collateral damage". What do you call them in the "War on Drugs"?

John Tierney visits just such a casualty, a man who suffers from multiple sclerosis and chronic pain from an automobile accident which damaged his spine and left him with pains in his legs which, as he describes them, seem intolerable:

"It felt like my legs were in a vat of molten steel," he told me. "I couldn't move them, and they were burning."

As you might imagine, he sought relief and found a doctor who seemed willing to help him with his pain.

"It was enough for him to lay in bed," Mrs. Paey said. "But if he tried to sit through dinner or use the computer or go to the kids' recital, it would set off a crisis, and we'd be in the emergency room. We kept going back for more medicine because he wasn't getting enough."
But police were monitoring his prescriptions and had him under surveillance. Taken to trial, the doctor bailed, claiming he didn't prescribe some of the meds. The result was that Paey was sentenced to 25 years (mandatory sentence). He got the 25 because he refused to plea bargain for both principled and practical reasons:

Mr. Paey said he had refused the deal partly out of principle - "I didn't want to plead guilty to something that I didn't do" - and partly because he feared he'd be in pain the rest of his life because doctors would be afraid to write prescriptions for anyone with a drug conviction.
He also got the time because he was in the possession of Percocet:
He was subject to a 25-year minimum penalty because he illegally possessed Percocet and other pills weighing more than 28 grams, enough to classify him as a drug trafficker under Florida's draconian law (which treats even a few dozen pain pills as the equivalent of a large stash of cocaine).

This is utter madness. It is a gross violation of rights. It is the state, on arbitrary grounds, deciding what is or isn't proper to treat and manage pain. But in a larger sense, it is the state deciding what a person can or can't put into their body. Frankly, if the person violates no one elses rights, it's none of the state's business.

Now, of course, this man sits in prison, a ward of the state, and someone who clearly went to jail because he was attempting to manage pain.

The irony?
The odd thing, he said, is that he's actually getting better medication than he did at the time of his arrest because the State of Florida is now supplying him with a morphine pump, which gives him more pain relief than the pills that triggered so much suspicion. The illogic struck him as utterly normal.

"We've become mad in our pursuit of drug-law violations," he said. "Generations to come will look back and scarcely believe what we've done to sick people."
No kidding.

Stop the assault on liberty.

Stop the "War on Drugs".

It's much more damaging to your liberty than anything conjured up in the Patriot Act.

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