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Should heroin addicts be prosecuted for murder? Readers say no.

FEATURE, AUGUST 4, 2011
JAILING THE JUNKIE
Addicts are people, too: Thanks to Mr. Tucker for providing the real pulse of the human lives involved in this story and for illuminating in very clear fashion how far removed the theory of the law is from the reality of the dramas playing out in the lives of addicts ["Smackdown," John H. Tucker]. There's a tremendous amount of attention to detail — and humanity — in this story, and I am grateful for it. I do hope law-enforcement officials read this story in its entirety. It will go a long way to inform their decision-making.
DW Gibson, via the Internet

Finding scapegoats: Stephen Wigginton's plan to eradicate heroine use in the Metro East is nothing more than a smoke screen designed to allow for political chest-puffing and hide the reality that many Americans and lawmakers do not want to face: Drug addiction is here to stay. Because admitting this reality does not garner votes, further careers or help Americans sleep at night, this law, as well as other drug laws in America, are created for the sole purpose of quelling public fear and showcasing a "get tough" attitude that only benefits those who create them.

While it is easy to find scapegoats, such as Angela Halliday or the dealer of Ben Berkenbile, to take the blame for Berkenbile's death, it is impossible to arrest or make an example of the real culprit: the disease of drug addiction. The only people that have the power to overcome this complicated disease are the addicts themselves. And the only way to reduce the number of heroin (or other drug-related) deaths is through the education, understanding and treatment of the disease — one addict at a time.
Joel Niemerg, St. Louis

Rich man's privilege: Look, it's pretty simple. Don't do heroin unless you have the money to afford it. Poor people should not be doing drugs. Poor people should be trying to get un-poor.

I actually know of a practicing doctor who enjoys heroin. Of course, he's smart and only does it once or twice a month as a treat. He works hard and plays hard, and there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is when you have people who want to play hard and not work at all.

Drugs are a lot of fucking fun — as long you have your life together.
Guest, via the Internet

The Nancy Reagan plan: Sad that people need that stuff — any stuff, really. Pot, alcohol, whatever. What is wrong with people? I have to say that although Nancy Reagan was not a favorite of mine, "Just Say No" to drugs seems like a too easy but effective way to combat the market-driven drug trade. It could then totally eliminate the prostitution trade. It would end gang activity. St. Louis wouldn't be in the top ten for the murder rate. Is anyone listening?

I am not saying I have never done drugs; I, too, was influenced by a bad lover and did this. I was lucky; I didn't care for it. So I guess all I can say is buyer beware. You mess around with this crap, and hopefully no one dies. Hopefully you will wisen up sooner than later, and hopefully my kids won't be as stupid as I was.
222coffee, via the Internet

Buried alive: Excellent story. Angela Halliday obviously needs and deserves drug treatment over incarceration. More than 60,000 dead in Vietnam for nothing, and no one went to prison, but the big bad prosecutor wants to bury alive some miserable victim of society over an accidental death of her best friend? It sucks.
Danieljoeoconnor, via the Internet

The land of lawyers: This is no different than suing McDonald's because you spill hot coffee on yourself. What ever happened to self-accountability? Did the provider hold the person down and force it upon him? No. He chose to inject himself.

It's time we start being accountable for our own actions across all levels and quit making so many lawyers so rich — which, by the way, does absolutely nothing for the economy (they assist in changing money from one hand to another and taking a cut themselves).
Joe, via the Internet

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