Vice Squad
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On July 27 Vice Squad briefly mentioned the possibility of "immunizing" children against illicit drug use. Updates included a link to a post by Mark Kleiman that questioned whether a mass immunization along these lines would ever be practical, and a link to a more chilling post from Last One Speaks. The Last One Speaks post mentioned this recent report (52 page pdf) from the Center For Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (CCLE). I have finally gotten around to reading the report (entitled "Threats to Cognitive Liberty: Pharmacotherapy and the Future of the Drug War"), and I recommend it to Vice Squad readers interested in the pharmacotherapy issue.

The first 15 or so pages of the report explain the various developments in anti-drug "vaccines" that are out there. Antabuse (or disulfiram) was an early entry that fights alcoholism, by rendering someone sick if he consumes alcohol. Nicotine gums and patches are other now-venerable pharmacotherapies, but more are on the way, possibly including some aimed at cocaine and marijuana.

It is in section 2 that the report begins to indicate the extent to which such agents could become "threats to cognitive liberty." They quote this chilling paragraph from the second section of the 2003 National Drug Control Strategy:
And yet the disease [of drug use] spreads. It spreads because the vectors of contagion are not addicts in the streets but users who do not yet show the consequences of their drug habit. Last year, some 16 million Americans used an illegal drug on at least a monthly basis, while 6.1 million Americans were in need of treatment. The rest, still in the "honeymoon" phase of their drug-using careers, are "carriers" who transmit the disease to others who see only the surface of the fraud. Treatment practitioners report that new users in particular are prone to encouraging their peers to join them in their new behavior.
The CCLE report notes that between 1907 and 1978, more than 60,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized by states, and argues that people within the criminal justice system, as well as those on public assistance, might be the first to see coercive application of pharmacotherapies. And schoolkids, too:
Under the totality of the circumstances, the CCLE is thus concerned that government rhetoric equating the use of illegal drugs with infectious disease, combined with the already watered-down constitutional rights of children who attend public school, may set the stage for requiring the use of various pharmacotherapy "vaccines" as a precondition to attending public school or to participating in sports and other extracurricular activities.
More on this report tomorrow, probably.

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