Fighting a ‘War on Drugs’ Is Pointless. We Have to Fight a ‘War on Addiction’

by Pitt Griffin on October 30, 2017 · 0 comments

in Drugs, Trump presidency

At 3 AM on Sunday morning, Carlos Andrade 22, stepped outside of the family’s Brooklyn home to smoke a cigarette with his father Joseph Andrade, 44. An hour later both he and dad were dead from a heroin/fentanyl overdose. They are mourned by their family and friends, but to everyone else, they are just two more names in the list of 60-something thousand that will die of an overdose this year.

It’s hard to imagine that anything about Trump’s declaration of a ‘public healthcare emergency’ in the face of the opioid crisis will do anything to prevent thousands of similar deaths in the future.

For a start, Trump stopped short of declaring a ‘national emergency’ — which would have freed up money to tackle the issue. What he did propose was useless pablum, long on law and order and short on cure.

Nixon declared a ‘War on Drugs’ in 1970. Almost half a century — and trillions of dollars later — the country is ravaged by drug deaths. So that didn’t work.

While Trump paid lip service to “use every appropriate emergency authority” to fight the crisis – and solemnly declaring “Ending the epidemic will require mobilization of government, local communities, and private organizations. It will require the resolve of our entire country” — his most substantive proposals involved a wall and cracking down on drug gangs.

That’s useless. Treating addiction as a criminal justice matter is a waste of effort. As is spending any time and money on ‘tackling’ the cannabis ‘problem’. Pot doesn’t kill people. And despite Jeff Sessions’ good old boy thinking plenty of good people consume it — including several Presidents.

Drug use is driven by demand — not supply. You could lock up every single person dealing drugs today and tomorrow there would be a new set of dealers. Walls are simply things to go under, over or around. Drugs are even found in maximum security prisons.

Why? Because addicts are dedicated to finding drugs. Users, no matter how broke, find the money to pay for their habit. And where people want to buy something, other people will sell it to them. Supplying demand is the foundation of the American economy, for chrissakes.

Let’s learn a lesson from the campaign against tobacco — we didn’t make cigarettes illegal, but smoking rates are way down. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it is a better guide to addressing addiction than Prohibition is.

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