Wednesday, July 17, 2013
War On Drugs: A Losing Battle
As a nation, we need to do more in this so-called War on Drugs.
It is more like a battle that we keep losing. A battle law enforcement and families are losing.
Law enforcement does what they can to keep drugs from being smuggled in, but we are failing at how we fight the war once the drugs are here. We take down small dealers hoping to flip them and take down the big dealers, but that isn’t working is it? What did Einstein say is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
We charge addicts for possession and toss them in jail. Misdemeanor or Felony charges end up on their records, depending on the amount, making it difficult to find jobs, but beyond that, we do nothing to help them.
You may think you are not affected by addiction, but most people know someone who is living with addiction whether they realize they know them or not. Drug-related crimes affect everyone as well.
Addiction is a disease. Like anything that falls under Mental Health, addiction is scoffed at, shunned, hidden, and otherwise treated with disdain and disgust.
People who have not known or loved an addict often see them as wastes of space, lost causes, filthy, frightening, criminals who should be locked up. The last three often do apply when they are strung out, but the first two are not true. They need help.
There are very few treatment centers out there and fewer that work. Many of them just introduce addicts who are there by court order, not to get real help. It can take an addict several times in rehab before they are recovering (an addict is never recovered, always recovering because the temptation is always there). We need solid treatment centers with real focus on treatment providing tools to cope with the addiction and tools to improve their lives.
When an addict chooses rehab, they generally need detox first. They need to find a facility that has a detox and a rehab facility. The problem is, most facilities do not have beds available when an addict is ready. Telling an addict to wait 30 days is like handing them a bag of whatever their chosen substance is. When they are ready, they need to be able to go and do it. They could O.D. before those 30 days are up. They could be in a drug induced pit of quick sand that makes them unable to come up for air long enough to realize they want help after those 30 days.
We hear about celebrities like Lindsey Lohan going in and out of treatment centers. Your average addict could never afford those facilities, but the ones who are ready would beg for the bed.
Why is it that Hollywood seems to embrace addicts while the rest of the world wants them herded and dumped in a dark sewer drain so we can put the lid on them and ignore that they exist?
We see so many celebrities who have suffered or who do suffer addiction and they are revered regardless. They are given job after job, chance after chance, but your average addict is not. We see so many celebrities who die from addiction and they are heralded and made into an icon, but your average addict dies and nobody hears a thing.
Cory Monteith was an addict given chances to be the star he was and now that he has passed away from heroin and alcohol, there is a bright light shone on addiction, particularly heroin.
My heart breaks for him and his family. I have seen what this demon does to people and their families. I have felt the heart break and I have watched good people struggle to fight the powerful hold heroin has over them.
Let Cory Monteith’s death bring the much-needed attention to this drug and this disease. We need to change the way we handle addiction. Instead of throwing the addicts into prison, which only feeds and fuels the problem, take that money and invest into facilities that focus on real treatment. Allow drug treatments that are thought to cure addiction to be administered in the U.S. and without costing a ridiculous amount of money. We need affordable, available and true treatments and we need them now.