Monday, February 25, 2013

War on Drugs Lost before First Shot

Fighting for lost causes is an expensive American indulgence. If we have a problem, and our fix doesn’t work, then we do even more of what doesn’t work. Exhibit A is the “War on Drugs’, a lost cause before the first battle.

Just like the war on natural climate change.

During my 1960 Freshman year at Humboldt State in Northern California, I chose my first Honors English paper and speech project on why we should decriminalize drug use. It was obvious then, and much more so now, that treating drug addiction as a crime was futile and wasteful; wasteful of legal and financial resources, but even more wasteful of human lives.

Human lives.

It’s totally logical, but we can’t see it. A young man in the inner city has role models: they’re on his street everyday, they’re unskilled and uneducated just like him, but they’re well qualified to deal drugs. It’s illogical to expect he won’t join them and help Oakland maintain its title as California’s most dangerous city with a violent crime rate of over 15 per 1,000 population.

Humans tossed on the garbage heap.

A young professional with spouse and children is arrested for possession, with their house in foreclosure and threatened repossessions because they can’t afford both drugs and keeping up their other payments. Drug illegality makes drugs exorbitantly expensive and fills our expensive jails.

Human potential destroyed.

If the United States bought drugs – opium for heroin, prescription pain killers, methamphetamines, etc. - and distributed them at cost or free under medical supervision, billions would be saved, crime and government corruption would fall dramatically, and thousands of lives would be spared; 120,000 Mexicans died in drug cartel wars in the past five years alone to feed our habit. Drugs play a huge part in our 38,000 suicides and 11,000 homicides annually, the horrific collateral damage of our war on drugs.

Humans die painfully, not like in video games.

When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

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