Next week I leave for New York. I have been asked to take part in some special training for a few Parent Support Network volunteers. I feel proud that I have been asked to take part in this program. I’ll give you all a complete report when I return.
I have been doing some thinking lately about the impact of drugs on our nation in a real life scenario. Truthfully, the more I think the more disturbed I become. However, I am beginning to understand more clearly our current national drug policy and beginning to realize why it isn’t working.
Feel free to disagree with me. I’m going to be sharing observations and self conclusions but most of all a bunch of opinions. I’d love to hear any dissenting opinions or observations you have noticed.
In no particular order are my thoughts based purely upon anecdotal evidence. I’m not going to dig up a bunch of empirical data and studies. (I’ve never been one to let facts confuse me or get in the way of my beliefs. lol)
Friends and acquaintances in law enforcement tell me, with frustration, that probably 75% of their work involves people using or abusing drugs and alcohol. What impact on law enforcement would it have if there were suddenly no more issues with drugs and alcohol? Imagine 75% less law enforcement, 75% less attorneys, judges and courts. Imagine 75% less people in prison and 75% less prisons and correctional officers. Imagine 75% less parole officers and no drug testing centers. What happens when drugs are no longer smuggled into our country?
What happens to the DEA and all of the other alphabet soup federal agencies devoted to drug and alcohol interdiction, regulation and prosecution? How dependent has our nation become upon the tax monies brought in by the sale alcohol and drugs? What about all the monies we give to other nations to help extinguish the supply of drugs to our addicts, how much do we save?
With 75% less crime would we feel security systems and monitoring companies in our homes were a requirement along with security bars on our windows? How much less would our home insurance cost?
Without drug and alcohol issues what happens to the recovery community and recovery industry? How many less hospitals would be required? I know a person that is an ICU nurse that says at least half of her patients are overdose related. How many less prescription medications would be produced if they were only used for legitimate purposes? How far down could we drive health care costs?
With no driving while impaired or under the influence how many less automobile accidents would happen? How much less would our car insurance cost? How many less body shops and auto repair centers would be required?
I’ve always been told that when you see something that doesn’t make sense to “FOLLOW THE MONEY”. If that cliché has any validity what does our current methodology for dealing with drug and alcohol issues in our nation say to you and me? Are we so vested in our current system and war on drugs that it becomes impossible to seek other strategies in working the problem? Are there sectors of our economy so dependent on our war on drugs and war on drug addicts that it is in their vested interest to maintain our current failing system? Is that what makes it so hard to explore other trains of thought besides legal versus illegal?
There are a whole lot of questions here, not many answers. All I know is from my experiences what we are doing now isn’t working well. We can’t throw out an entire system without something else in place and it is impossible to turn this ship on a dime. Maybe it’s time for a bunch of people a whole lot smarter than I to take the helm.
This is a problem that affects us all no matter if you are a parent of an addict or someone that is lucky enough not to have this monster visit your family or friends. This is a problem that is so devastating on the personal level it is nearly impossible to view it in a holistic manner. The tentacles are too large and touch too much.
All I know for sure is that as long as addiction and alcoholism is stigmatized and shamed in the manner it is now we will be in lockstep to the methodology currently employed to battle these monsters.
What are your thoughts?