Andrew P. Clunn, Chair of the Saratoga-Capital District Libertarians, a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians, says “the tragic death of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, allegedly as a result of a heroin overdose, should not be exploited by local law enforcement officials to perpetuate and expand the failed war on drugs. In the wake of sympathetic news coverage of Hoffman’s substance abuse issues, New York Police Department investigators have aggressively and vindictively arrested several parties possibly connected to Hoffman on drug possession charges. Others have suggested that those who sold illegal drugs to Hoffman should even be held criminally responsible for his death, the way some bars are now being held liable if a patron leaves an establishment drunk and then gets into a car accident. A drug seller should not be responsible for the consequences of a user’s use or abuse, unless what he or she sold was substandard or adulterated in some way. No one is to blame for Hoffman’s death other than himself. I find it abhorrent that Hoffman’s passing and personal tragedy is being used by some media outlets, politicians and law enforcement officials as supposed evidence for staying the course with the increasingly unpopular war on drugs. The emphasis should be on expanding the number of opportunities available for those seeking rehabilitation, not on increasing prosecution rates and creating convicted felons out of those who sell or use drugs.”
“The old authoritarian formula of ‘more bans, more arrests’ for dealing with the drug problem clearly hasn't worked,” says New York State Libertarian Party Political Director John Clifton, a former County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County and a former three-term State Chair of the New York Libertarian Party. “Putting more people in a cage is not the answer. Mr. Hoffman was clearly a very productive person, yet had he been caught with drugs in his possession, he without doubt would have been prosecuted, sent to prison, and labeled a felon. Some people can handle drug use and never get addicted, stopping on their own when it suits them. Others get addicted and seek help and a small minority of drug users, unfortunately, die. But one thing is true of all drug users. They voluntarily chose to engage in that personal behavior and in ours, the most informed society of all time, there should be no laws controlling what people choose to ingest at their own risk or benefit.”
Empire State Libertarians was founded on July 4, 2010 by Thomas Robert Stevens (current Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County) to encourage New York State residents who share libertarian ideals and principles to become politically active and to seek out avenues to promote a pro-liberty agenda; to endorse candidates seeking elective office who support smaller government, lower taxes and more individual freedom; to encourage patriotism, respect for our Founding Fathers, and a deep appreciation for the United States Constitution; and to organize and charter chapters of Empire State Libertarians in order to promote local activism.