Not all addicts are equal.
Let’s meet Jim and David.
Jim is a heroin addict in the United States who has been in and out of prisons for the last decade. When he’s not in prison, he’s living on the streets. Before he was an addict, he had $100K in the bank and worked as a Salesperson for a medical devices company. He ended up spending all of his money on heroin since buying on the black-market is astronomically expensive, unstable, and cannot be planned into a budget. He recently had an abscess on his arm and almost went into sepsis and died, but he got lucky and survived.
Now let’s meet David from Switzerland. He became addicted to heroin in the year 2000, right around the time that they implemented their new approach to fighting addiction. He’s been going to the clinic for 21 years and is still technically an addict. He works at the bank and makes a nice living. He has a wife and two children with another on the way. He drives a decent car and lives in a decent house.
Both of these men are addicts. One has lived a life full of suffering due to his country’s regressive drug policies. The other has lived a good life for the last two decades thanks to his country’s forward-looking drug policies.
Addiction is addiction but not all addiction is created equal. These homeless drug addicts on Skid Row are victims of US drug policy. Yes, they made their own choices, but the drug policy of the country they live in made their choices more consequential than in more forward-thinking countries like Switzerland.