Every so often, you hear a story from a person in recovery that pushes the envelop of believability. When I was in Moscow, I heard one from a fellow who spent time as a 'part-time' heroin addict: he would drink alcohol up until poppy season began, then move out into the countryside and manufacture his own 'heroin' until the fall, when we would come back with his supply. When that ran out, he would drink until the season began again.
The story sounded fantastic, in part because I associate heroin with something that is exotic and difficult to grow here. Yet, I am literally surrounded by attic-hydroponics marijuana gardeners, which I'm sure many Russians would find bizarre (our attics here don't get that cold even in winter, and can be ideal 'green houses' with a the installation of grow lights). Anyway, he wasn't giving off any of the usual tells of someone who was lying, so I took his word for it, as strange as it seemed.
I have learned that, in addiction, truth is often far crazier than reality.
Then, I cam across this documentary:
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AND GRAPHIC CONTENT (DRUG USE)
One thing I think is important for anyone watching this video to come away with is how horrid the life of an addict is, even if his drug is legalized and he is allowed to use freely. These addicts live in a rather unmolested state while 'camping.' Yet, look at how they don't take care of themselves.
Their obsession leads them to filth and abandonment of family. Life becomes just about the drug.
'Harm Reduction' approaches perpetuate the imprisonment of addicts not in a literal jail, but in the captivity of an obsession which deprives them of everything except biological existence. As the disease of addiction grows, you can see the addict withdraw from all the normal behaviors of life. He loses friends, family, employment, and even the ability to carry out basic hygiene (check out how 'clean' the camp is and ask yourself, what differentiates this from the alcoholic 'skid row'?).
Even if you take away the threat of jail, you cannot take away the reality of the depraved condition of the addict. He is in his own prison. The outside world is something he cannot enjoy. You may give him a subsidized apartment and food allotment, but is he any more able to actually appreciate them when he has already thrown away the equally-essential relationships and sense of dignity that normal people need and enjoy?
Recovery means the gradual restoration of those needs to their proper place, and then the appropriate meeting of those needs through a natural life. Addiction is the opposite: it represents the suppression of those needs through the obsession of the addiction.
They are mutually exclusive. You can't have both. Sure, there are those who maintain 'functionality' while addicted, and there are addictions which do not entirely eclipse normal activity. But, to the extent that the addiction is present, it is always at the expense of the real life is replaces.
The porn addict loses the real benefits of normal marriage and sexuality. The food addict loses satisfaction of satiation and normal emotional experiences. There is always a price.
These addicts living in the rough are paying that price. They are cut off from the rest of the world. They are, in a way, separated from their own humanity. It is a tragedy, set in a field of poppies.