Sorry to sound sarcastic, but who would have ever imagined that this might happen?

Amid a medical and law enforcement crackdown on opiate prescription pill abuse, rising street prices and manufacturer reformulations that make pain pills harder to abuse, addicts are increasingly turning to heroin —cheaper, easier to obtain and extremely potent, police and drug treatment officials say.

The article is about the crackdown in Kentucky, but it is of course a national crackdown (spearheaded by the White House), with addicts all over the country now turning to heroin to fill their needs:

A national crackdown on prescription drug abuse has led to new wave of heroin users in America.

It used to be easier to forge a prescription than meet with a dealer on a street corner.

But since stricter rules on prescription drugs were imposed youngsters are choosing heroin as a drug of choice.

The deadly drug is now being found in areas where previously, it hadn’t presented a problem.

New York, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Illinois and Missouri have all been affected by the surge in abuse according to 2011 Justice Department statistics.

The burgeoning popularity of the narcotic has also been blamed on expensive prescription drugs.

New York Daily News reports that drug companies are creating painkillers such as Oxycontin and Tylenol can cost between $30 and $80 a pill, whereas at around $10 heroin is much cheaper.

The Justice Department believe that heroin entering The States is coming from over the boarder in Mexico.

It’s logical to assume that given their druthers, most addicts would prefer prescription drugs to street drugs, because the former are pure, the dosage is known, and those who can manage to get a prescription are immune from arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. (Might not a good case be made that doctors who write prescriptions for addicts to save them from the ugly heroin alternative and cover their ass from legal penalties are in fact practicing compassionate medicine? If we consider that mere possession of a single pill can ruin someone’s whole life, and that only doctors have the power to prevent such a monstrous result, it might be interesting to see how a test case would play out in the courts.)

Reading this New York Daily News piece, I was struck by the tone of surprise.

Once it was easier to get high from a forged prescription than by meeting with a dealer on a street corner.

No more.

More and more young  people are choosing heroin as a drug of choice in the wake of national prescription drug crackdowns and stricter rules, reports MSNBC.

Health authorities are dismayed to find the deadly narcotic in places where it hadn’t been seen as a major problem in the recent past: New York, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Illinois and Missouri, according to 2011 Justice Department statistics.

How can heroin be easier to come by than what’s behind the pharmacy counter?

Oh come on. Why would anyone be surprised or dismayed? This is a simple phenomenon to understand, and it comes down to basic economics: supply and demand. Dry up supply in one place, and it will spring up in another.

Whether supply creates demand is another question. I think that for the people who like the product, the more of it there is, the more they will use it. But supply alone will not cause people who do not want something to suddenly want it. Otherwise, we would have been a nation of addicts in decadent, pre-1914 America, when heroin and cocaine were sold over the counter and by mail to anyone. In that respect liked Ron Paul’s sarcastic observation about heroin (which infuriated many on the left and on the right):

How many people here would use heroin if it was legal? I bet nobody would put their hand up, Oh, yes, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws!

What an asshole Ron Paul is for pointing out something so painfully obvious in a country where bipartisan power-lovers and control freaks cling desperately to their precious war on drugs.

And I’m such an asshole that instead of issuing another lame appeal to reason and common sense, I am going to conclude this post by quoting myself and saying I TOLD YOU SO!

The other thing that drives this “no pain relief for you!” meme consists of organized activists (often working in tandem with the DEA) who constantly scream about addicted family members and overdoses. They actually want painkillers banned. Methadone clinics closed. Etc. They are organizing to “save lives” so they say, and they demonstrate in front of pain clinics:

What these people don’t seem to realize is that when the genuine addicts lose medical access, they will simply turn to street heroin.

Surely that isn’t the goal?

A philosophical question: Assume addicts are going to obtain drugs from whatever sources they can. Since when are suppliers responsible for the actions of consumers?

I think that annoying old NRA slogan, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people,” applies not only to guns, but to drugs, cars, knives, and even tiny magnets.