I know that this case is not typical, in that it involves prescription drugs rather than "illegal street" drugs, but far as I'm concerned, the issues are the exact same.
John Tierney writes today in the NYTimes about Richard Paey, a man who became disabled after getting into a traffic accident and who has been in severe pain ever since. As a result, he's become addicted to the pain killers that allow him to do things such as, say eat dinner with his family or go to his kid's school play. It also resulted in his arrest and conviction for, get this, drug trafficking (it is considered automatically drug trafficking since it was over one ounce, which was about one prescription, not because he ever sold, which the Florida prosecutors concede he never did). This evil, dangerous criminal is now serving a 25 year sentence, the mandatory minimum under Florida law (according to the DA, the sentence is probably not appropriate for his situation, but he deserves it since he turned down first a no jail offer, then a 5 year offer, so it's all his fault he's serving 25 years).
Of course, prior to these evil actions by this despicable person, he was a University of Pennsylvania law school grad (unable to take the bar due to his accident), and his wife is an opthamologist, so you can understand that it's important to make sure that someone like this stays behind bars as long as possible to keep our society safe (at least I guess that the prosecutor would say something like this).
Think about it, this case is the symbol of evil, not by the defendant, but by government. When this happens, it is not a free society, it is a barbaric society. Sure, the government didn't try to chop off his limbs for stealing bread, or behead him for blasphemy, but the difference is fairly minor.
Do you want to know the cruelest irony? Apparently he now gets all of the medication that he needs while in prison. They have him hooked up to a morphine pump so he's better medicated than he was on the outside. Our society imprisons people for relieving their pain in order to relieve their pain.
Absolutely sick and evil, I'm disgusted, but of course, it's not so atypical. The only difference is that here they nailed a white, upper middle class educated person rather than the boatload of poor minorities that they usually warehouse for the rest of their lives for doing little wrong.
Read more about the case here and here.
Anyone want to try and defend this idiocy. I'm sure there will be some hyper-conservative who will try to do so, but before you do so, don't forget about that conservative icon, Rush Limbaugh, who will certainly never receive a sentence of 25 years (conservatives don't do prison), but who probably committed far more insidious wrongdoing than this person did.