For well over 150 years Western governments have been fighting a war and it is a war that was already lost a few decades ago and yet resources and lives are continually used up to fight it.
I am talking about the war on drugs. This is a relatively new term for an age old problem and yet with everything modernity has to offer we are no closer to winning. Most people would recognize Einstein’s Theory of Insanity: ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. And that is exactly what has been happening, but the results are different, they are getting worse.
I am not suggesting legalizing drugs, not all of them anyway, some like cannabis are already starting to be legalized in some States. What I suggest is the decriminalization of drug use and possession for personal use. Possession for supply or production of many drugs should still be treated criminally, but personal use cases should be medical issue.
For many more reasons that I can reasonably fit into this blog but here are a few.
Prohibition doesn’t work. That was proven in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol. Did it work? No. The only result was enrichment of criminal gangs and an awful lot of otherwise law abiding people being turned into criminals. What is happening today is worse than that, and getting worse each year.
- Over 1,250,000 people are arrested each year for possession only.
- 20% of US prisoners are in there for non violent drug offenses and that equals nearly 500,000 people at a cost of roughly $10 billion.
- Deaths from drug overdoses in 2015 – 52,000+.
- HIV infections due to drug use, 360,836. 33% of all HIV infections.
- 200,000+ students have lost Federal financial aid because of a simple possession charge.
- $1 trillion spent since 1971 when Nixon first used the phrase ‘war on drugs’.
These figures are simply not sustainable. The whole situation has got so ridiculous that Einstein’s theory has been turned into the preferred approach.
Making drug use a medical issue is proven to work. Comparing the statistics above; in Portugal they have already made the switch resulting in a 75% drop in drug cases in Courts each year, the drug death rate is 20% of the US and drug related HIV infections have dropped by 95%. And the Portuguese figures are just for heroin use.
It is cheaper to treat people than incarcerate them, they can live their lives and more than likely will become model citizens, most already are, they just have a drug problem. How many petty crimes are because of drugs? We need to break that cycle. Users should be able to seek help without fear of prosecution which we have seen solves nothing.
Do you think that we as a society can come up with a rational solution this problem?