America is failing some of its most vulnerable. Here's a better approach to dealing with addiction.
Really refreshing to see a great argument for novel demand-side interventions instead of the tired "build the wall" supply-side arguments. Would love to see the studies on the "supply can rebound in under three weeks" stat if available. It's incredible to me just how much air time and focus the supply-side receives at the expense of the demand, even though the supply is clearly a hydra that will continue sprouting heads no matter how many we manage to chop off.
You can see this supply bias in a lot of other areas too. The media's production of polarizing and sensationalist news coverage is a lot like the production of fentanyl - hard to stop and driven by an insatiable demand from a huge portion of the public. Effective solutions for both clearly need to come from the demand-side. Politicians are similar. Attempts to get politicians to cooperate across the aisle and engage in less partisan warfare are misguided as long as there's strong underlying demand from consumers (constituents) for such behavior.
Supply-side economics doesn't elicit much sympathy today. I hope pieces like this will push supply-side socio-cultural interventions in the same direction.
I read up on this a year ago, and it had already been studied by the Rand Corp, which said it worked. The psychology of this seemed pretty obvious, but there was one idea (missing from this article) that really opened my eyes. Because the law is so harsh when it was applied as it usually is, I had thought that legalizing drugs and having good treatment programs was the only humane possibility.
But the trick turns out to be keeping drugs illegal and using the law differently. The problem with treatment programs is that people drop out. The programs mentioned above fix that, half by leaving treatment up to the individual. But here's the other half of the fix.
By keeping drugs illegal, you can say: You have a choice; we will throw the book at you and lock you up, or you can agree to our frequent-testing program. Guess which they choose "voluntarily"? So the testing program is cheap because they don't send out a probation officer, they say "You get yourself to the testing office every day (that varies a bit) and if you don't show, we do come after you and you spend a night in jail. It turns out that they show up.
In short, keeping it illegal with a potentially harsh penalty allows the enforcement (if you're creative) of a very humane, paternalistic and simple conditioning scheme.
Build the border wall and enforce the border.
Bring back manufacturing and good trade wages.
Increase the criminal penalties for anyone trafficking opioids.