Hey, Let's Reduce Heroin Overdoses by Legalizing Heroin

Would Philip Seymour Hoffman have avoided overdosing on heroin if he could have bought it at the local drug store?


For a magazine that styles itself Reason, it's surprisingly unreasonable.

Nick Gillespie of Reason attacks Truth Revolt's Ben Shapiro for writing that "Philip Seymour Hoffman['s] self-inflicted death is yet another hallmark of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood, enabling rather than preventing the loss of some of its greatest talents. Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin; Hollywood has no such cultural force."

It's a point that's rather hard to argue with. Freedom opens up the arena for individual character to define how people will use it. Freedom alone is a blank slate that allows people to impose order on their own lives.

Gillespie not only argues against it, but makes a thoroughly ridiculous argument. "Shapiro's implication that libertarianism is the root cause of Hoffman's overdose isn't simply churlish and uninformed by anything resembling knowledge of Hoffman's life, thoughts, or circumstances of death (though it is that). It is plainly nonsensical."

That's not what Shaprio is saying, but Reason has its theme, which is what libertarianism is being unfairly blamed for the death of a Hollywood actor and it has the solution...

"If Shapiro thought about it for a minute rather than calling up his outrage macro in Word, he might ask what sort of drug policy might lead to better outcomes. Generally speaking, people have enough trouble admitting substance-abuse problems without also having to admit that they are criminals too. Maybe legalizing or decriminalizing drugs would lead to an environment in which abuse would be minimized along with the ill effects of the black markets spawned by prohibition."

Sure, we'll cut down on overdoses by legalizing heroin. The needle park solution always works.


Do Hollywood celebrities abuse drugs because drug laws make them feel like criminals? Would they use less drugs if using drugs was more legally and socially acceptable?

Would Philip Seymour Hoffman have avoided overdosing on heroin if he could have bought it at the local drug store?

Since the addictive mechanism combined with tolerance, which is the effect that causes escalating drug use to achieve the same results, and the emotional cycle of self-medicating, is what causes the escalation of drug use, it's hard to see how making an addictive drug that chemically diminishes free will is the solution to preventing drug abuse.

It's like fighting slavery by legalizing slavery. Hoffman wasn't abusing heroin because it was illegal. He was abusing heroin because it was available.