If the concern was really about saving lives…
Suppose the numbers of deaths the government attributes to opiates is accurate – and there’s a huge problem with this, as in this CDC report’s own words: “The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, several factors related to death investigation might affect estimates of death rates involving specific drugs. At autopsy, toxicological laboratory tests might be performed to determine the type of drugs present; however, the substances tested for and circumstances under which the tests are performed vary by jurisdiction. Second, in 2013 and 2014, 22% and 19% of drug overdose deaths, respectively, did not include information on the death certificate about the specific types of drugs involved. The percent of overdose deaths with specific drugs identified on the death certificate varies widely by state. Some of these deaths might have involved opioids. This increase in the reporting of specific drugs in 2014 might have contributed to some of the observed increases in drug overdose death rates involving different types of opioids from 2013 to 2014.”
But if we take that for a moment take as a given that – as reported in this admittedly impossible-to-be-accurate report – 47,055 people died from drugs in the US in 2014, why is no one mentioning one particular approach that has quite a few years of data? Portugal has permitted personal drug possession and use since 2001, and has reported steep declines in the numbers of deaths of drug users in their country. Anyone who claims to be concerned about the deaths of drug users who will not at least entertain the idea of legalization is using the deaths of those people (most of whom were not even autopsied to demonstrate that it actually was drugs and not infection or other diseases process causing the death) to scare the American public into continuing to support draconian policies that have not in the past 100+ years shown any sign of success.
Info on the unreliability of US government numbers on deaths attributed to drug overdoses
info on Portugal