The opiod epidemic was not only preventable, but will get worse in America. Common sense drug use and prevention is needed. It is imperative that America does not follow its past of criminalizing drug use and allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise to the public and manipulate doctors.
Criminalizing drug use has never and will never work in America. Prohibition starting in 1920 sounded like a good idea. Honestly, I would have supported at the time due to ignorance. It clearly didn’t work. In fact, it started the spread of organized crime in America. 50 years later, Nixon started another attack. His regulations and agenda were motivated to target political opponents and continued through the Reagan administration where it became full fledged. Besides the racial targeting, it has been ineffective and counter productive in it’s efforts to reduce drug use. All of these cases have been exemplary of what morally guided policy leads to: distribution, disenfranchisement, and death.
Let’s use this handy tool called science to direct our policies toward drugs. We know taking a hard moralistic stance saying drugs does not work. Why do it again? What we’ve learned from other countries and plenty of research is the best way to combat drug use and addiction is to provide support mechanisms for those that are addicted and not to criminalize its use.
Time and time and time again, research has resoundingly showed legalizing, decriminalizing, providing safe environments for drug users decreases addiction, and decreases burdens on health care. There is 0 evidence that having a hard line police enforcement works. In the Philippines under Duterte’s lethal force against drug dealers and users hasn’t come close to solving the issue. Hard line enforcement does not and will not work. Creating an environment where drug dealers are cut out and drug addicts are supported to get better will solve drug addiction issues.
Is it counter intuitive to help drug addicts? No. Drug addiction costs the US $246 Billion a year in 1992 and has been growing with the same policies. These are unproductive citizens that are a burden on the health care system and produce harmful environments for children etc. It’s counter intuitive to create a system that is conducive to producing drug addicts. Not only is it a drain on the economy and wellness, but reprehensibly amoral. Many Americans claim to be moral yet vote in people who support drug policies that are conducive to drug dealers and creating more addicts. I’m not sure how Americans can contend their morality with allowing policies that create and encourage drug use. Frankly, the many Americans that consider themselves religious yet will vote in people who knowingly enact harmful drug policies is morally reprehensible and disgusting to me.
The current administration is only not carrying on the legacy of the war on drugs, they are defunding the drug control policy office. Solving the opiod crisis won’t start with every American carrying naltrexone it’ll start when every American can get behind common sense policies towards drug use.