First, I think it is worth pointing out that we are really talking about different things here. The current wave of deaths over the past couple of years from adulterated heroin doesn't just affect addicts. The reality is that MOST people who use drugs - even hard drugs - never become addicted to them. I certainly can't say what proportion of recent deaths have been in casual users vs. frequent users (addicts), but the point is that many of the people who end up needing nalaxone prehospital aren't necessarily even addicted to the drugs. There are an awful lot of people who party with this stuff occasionally but still live otherwise pretty normal lives. For whatever that's worth. Sorry guys, but you are both wrong. That line of thinking used to be widely held but is now outdated. What we were taught about drug use and addiction when we were growing up - that it is little more than a moral failing leading to a unique type of irresponsibility, and that addicts don't deserve the same compassion and resources that other people in need of help do, but rather deserve to be imprisoned - is long gone. The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Society of Addiction Medicine all define drug addiction as a disease. Slowly, more and more law enforcement associations are even calling for reform of drug policy, as well. "But, but.....addiction is a result of conscious choices". Well......so what? So are most other chronic diseases, to at least some degree. So is almost all trauma. Taking addiction out of the equation, most of the healthcare resources in this country go to managing either 1) trauma, which is almost 100% a result of conscious choices, and 2) other highly preventable diseases (obesity, primarily, and all of its related sequelae) that result partly from individual choices and in many cases, at least partly from genetic predispositions. And that isn't even touching on the mental health aspect of addiction. So is addiction really as unique as we were taught? No, it isn't. There's little rationale for the idea that addiction is highly unique among health issues. The only reason is still appears so different is because of the legal prohibition of drugs. We don't see people getting sent to prison for making the mistake of spending their life of eating big macs and living a sedentary life style. We do see that happening to people who make the mistake of experimenting with substances and becoming addicted them. It changes the optics dramatically, but the difference is mostly an illusion. Maybe addiction isn't exactly like other diseases. Maybe the results of drug abuse are more immediate and more predictable than other poor choices that people make. Maybe that does make the addict more responsible for their own situation than people with other types of health problems. I don't know if that is all true or not, but for the sake of argument, I'm willing to concede it all. So......what now? How does that change anything about the way the problem should be approached? I'd say it doesn't at all. It's completely irrelevant, in fact. Drug abuse and addiction is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with, and the way to deal with it is not to keep holding on to the same attitudes and using the same approaches that have failed for decades. The only treatment models for addiction that have ever worked are those that approach addiction as both a physical and mental health issue, and the societies that have made the biggest improvements in dealing with serious drug problems are the ones that pivoted from treating it as a criminal issue to a health issue. Portugal is the best example, though not the only one.