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Lets really fight crime & create legalized drug dens
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I’m all for legalizing drugs - with just a couple of conditions.

•First, they are free to anyone who wants them.

•They must use them, though, in specially created drug dens on federal government land in the middle of nowhere in Nevada preferably near the nuclear waste depository site.

•When they enter the drug den they sign an agreement that they cannot leave until they are sober.

•Before they are issued their first free drugs at the drug den, they must sign an affidavit waving any right to free public health care to treat illnesses directly related to drug use.

If you think this is far-fetched, guess again.

What is the No. 1 cause of crime in this country? It’s not guns. And you can argue it isn’t gangs per se.

That’s because many of the hardcore gangs - whether you want to call them cartels, the mafia, or street gangs - get a huge chunk of their income from the distribution of drugs.

Look at the crime stats in Manteca. If you backed out drugs, everything would plummet. Driving under the influence? It would go down. Burglaries and theft? It would go down. How about vehicle thefts and auto burglaries? They would go down. Assaults would probably drop too. I would argue Manteca’s crime picture isn’t all that unusual compared to the rest of the country.

What about druggies who don’t want to go? No problem. On their third drug-related conviction they win a free trip to the drug den with the same conditions imposed on those who go there voluntarily.

Let’s face it. The war on drugs is going about as well as efforts to spin wool into gold.

It would also go a long way to easing government budget problems. True, the federal government would be saddled with whatever costs they may incur running drug dens and deploying electric fences, troops, mine fields, and whatever else it takes to keep druggies inside but they’d probably save tons of money that is now being spent in the folly known as the war on drugs.

It would be a big budget relief for state, county, and local governments.

Right now it is a big joke. Police make a bust for illegal drug use or sales and either the suspect is cited and released or booked and cut loose hours later. No room at the jail. The county lacks the resources to prosecute and defend all of the drug suspects plus the courts lack the judges. And even if there was a conviction the prisons lack the space.

Even more important is everyone isn’t saddled with giving druggies free ambulance rides, medical treatment in emergency rooms, or long-term care once they’ve crippled various organ systems through the incessant use of drugs.

Obviously there are a couple of areas that would need fine tuning such as marijuana use and alcohol.

What if someone not in a drug den consumes marijuana which a lot of people contend isn’t harmful? Give them the benefit of the doubt but the third time they are convicted of a theft in connection with stealing marijuana, stealing to buy or selling it then it’s off to the drug dens they go. If all drugs are going to be free, then the government needs to tightly control their distribution.

As for alcohol, some would argue the cost to society is just as high for those who abuse that drug of choice. That’s why on the third conviction for an injury caused to someone else that is attributed to alcohol abuse they get to Nevada too.

Libertarians and - let’s face it - drug users would argue that this would be a gross violation of an individuals’ rights.

What about the gross violation of the rights of people killed and maimed by drivers under the influence, those who have their homes and cars broken into so someone can satisfy their drug habit, or those who are brutalized and even raped by someone high on drugs or alcohol?

No right is an absolute right. It’s the only way civilization can work.

As far as concerns we would just be writing those people off what about the others we right off in the name of “saving” druggies or protecting the innocent from their wanton criminal acts and violence that is clearly traceable to their drug use?

All the money we save could go toward helping those who want to get an education and succeed, to pay for safety net programs, and be directed back to the economy to provide opportunities for those in poverty to raise themsleves up.

By taking a page out of Jonathon Swift’s playbook, the odds are you can do all of that and still see the cost of government drop and health care costs plummet,  be able to leave your doors unlocked and not worry about someone killing your family while you are driving down the freeway.