Commentary

War on Drugs Failing

By ARTHUR MIDGLEY | Feb 20, 2019

Really, an opioid crisis? Call it whatever you like while the cartels and drug dealers are laughing themselves silly as they count  their enormous piles of American greenbacks. What is wrong with Americans who pay dearly for illicit garbage and put it into their bodies without knowing its contents?  

The attitude of the dealers is “Who cares? Let them die. There will be others to replace them. Just as long as we get our cash.” But don’t we have a “war on drugs”? Well, we do, but unfortunately it is on life support if not already 6 feet under. Why?

Certainly not because law enforcement has failed. They have always tried to do a tremendous, unselfish and high-risk job of trying to prevent the spread of narcotics. The problem is not with them. They have sacrificed over and over, some making the ultimate sacrifice.

No, the problem is the ugly American who has the money and wants the product, thinking it is cool and the “in” thing to do. It is glamorized in the movies and on TV, as well as in the music industry as once cigarettes and liquor were. Campaigns against smoking and alcohol abuse have been highly successful.

Ninety percent of the adult population smoked cigarettes at one time. Ashtrays were everywhere indoors and out, even in our own living rooms and bedrooms. Today, just the opposite is true. Only about 10 percent of people are smokers, and there are fewer and fewer designated areas where it is tolerated.

Same with alcohol. Years ago (I’m talking in the ’50s maybe) we would think nothing of driving with a little “buzz on.” Not so anymore. The fear of losing one’s license is a big deterrent, and designated drivers and Uber are here to stay. Thank goodness, alcohol-related deaths are decreasing due to stricter laws and greater public awareness.

So why do we always wrongly attack supply? Demand is the problem. If Americans would not demand these products (drugs), we would put not only the dealers and cartels out of business but also MS13 and all the other gangs that count on our hard-earned dollars for their income. Easier said than done.

Many say it can’t be done, but consider this. Americans put a man on the moon many years ago and returned him safely. If we could do that, surely in this day and age we can solve any problem on Earth.

I recall in the ’80s seeing a commercial on TV that pictured an egg frying in a pan on the stove equating your brain on drugs with the fried egg. I thought that was very effective. How about more campaigns like that one shown nationally every day in our homes and in our schools? Surely there must be more we can do to make our youth realize the seriousness of drug addiction and stop the demand.

Granted, getting rid of drug abuse in this country would be a major undertaking. But isn’t our society worth it? Demand, demand, demand. Change the culture, change the problem.

Arthur Midgley lives in Little Egg Harbor and is a former mayor.  

 

 

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