A few weeks ago I wrote:
If you want to convince me of the need for restrictions on any substances, such as narcotics, you have to convince me of three things:
- That incarcerating users is somehow better for them than their addiction
- That ethically abusers of the substance are more worthy of our attention and intervention than legitimate users who benefit from the substance and whose access will likely be restricted
- That the negative social costs of the substance's use are higher than the inevitable social costs of the criminal black market (including the freedom-reducing policing laws implemented in response) that will emerge when its use or purchase is banned
Think in particular about point #2 when reading this:
Arizona would limit all initial opioid prescriptions to five days for new patients under sweeping guidelines recommended Wednesday by Gov. Doug Ducey's administration.
The plan also would limit maximum doses for pain medication, implement steps to taper down pain medications and require pain prescriptions to be filed electronically, rather than on paper, to limit diversion of drugs.
Consider that many legitimate users will need more than the legal maximum dosage to control their pain, and thus the issue becomes whether we want to essentially torture innocent sick people by forcing them to remain in excruciating pain in exchange for (possibly) reducing the number of accidental deaths from abusers of these drugs (I say possibly because over the last 40 years the government war on drugs has had such a super stellar track record in reducing narcotic usage).
To me the answer to this tradeoff is obvious but I am willing to admit it is a tradeoff subject to debate. But the article linked has no debate. There is not a single mention of any downsides to the rules, or any potential harm to legitimate users.