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Drug Addiction: The Scourge of Humanity

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  • Drug Addiction: The Scourge of Humanity

    If you live in any modern society today in many countries accross the globe, if you are a member of a Puerto Rican or USA mainland family....the probabilities of your knowing someone or knowing of family members on illegal drugs is very high. Some movies in Hollywood such as "Traffic" try to delve into the reasons why drug trafficking and drug addiction is such a pernicious and pervasive reality of living in the USA and in Puerto Rico.

    There are many societies who deal with drug addiction and drug trafficking in varied forms. Each person has their own opinion on the underlying causes of drug addiction, and drug treatment or non-treatment and the statistics regarding this scourge on humanity. What are your ideas on how to solve this terrible scourge?

  • #2
    I hate them too

    I think we should have mandatory drug programs in schools, and I think it should be like in nursing school, where teens are forced to spend time observing the people in drug rehab programs. I know that would probably violate the rights of those in the programs. But something has to be done to show them the truth about what drugs do.

    Or maybe we should have mandatory drug testing in all occupations and for those who receive government assistance and for anyone who wants to get a driver's license. Those who come up positive have to go to rehab.

    I know none of these would ever work. They'd cost way too much money and people would all scream about their rights being violated...


    • #3

      I agree with you.


      • #4
        I used to think that we could talk people out of using drugs. I used to think that we could stop the drug supply. I used to think that we could arrest all the drug dealers. I thought maybe we could interrupt the flow by stopping the big drug lords. I used to think spending millions of dollars on AWAC surveillance; air and coast guard intervention, military and financial aid to Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Ecuador could definetely do the trick. We passed laws further punishing drug dealing within 100 yards of any school. We put all the drug traffikers we catch in jail for life. We arrest all the habitual drug users and mandate treatment for their addiction in a few selected states. We have 24/7 TV, radio, and printed media campaigns depicting metaphorically what your brain looks like while it is on drugs. We have had the War on Drugs. We have Saved our Children.

        Where are we now? We have more drugs than ever. We have the widest variety of drugs that ever existed in the history of mankind available on any street corner. We have the largest imprisoned drug population in the history of any country, most being people of color and habitual drug users. Most inmates use drugs on a regular basis while imprisoned.

        Maybe all of the above is not addressing the right issue. Don't you think? Maybe we have gone down the wrong path. Maybe the answer to stopping drugs is not to stop drugs. Maybe there is much more to drug use than the use, or the sale.

        In retrospect, I don't think we are really trying to stop drug use. I think we are welcoming it. I think every dollar we spend on any of the above brings two more dollars worth of drugs into the country. I think that the people behind all of the above know the truth and that they purposely pursue the path I detailed above not to deal with the truth.

        I think the truth is that drugs are not a problem. They are a symptom. Now, why don't we talk about and treat the disease?



        • #5
          So what is the disease, Jose? You say that rehab programs aren't working. They are supposed to address the disease, or we should say diseases because there's more than one.

          Many people who are habitual drug abusers are self-medicating. They have diseases or syndromes like depression, obsession compulsion, post-traumatic stress and anxiety which they treat with street drugs. Or they're bored and real life isn't fascinating enough for them, they have to go on mind trips with the help of street drugs.

          I have never been to rehab or studied it in depth, but from what I have read or heard, I always thought it helped the addict get to the root of their addiction.


          • #6
            When I refer to "illness", I am not speaking of addiction. I am referring to the underlying causes behind the drug problem. The government is wasting their time and our money when they try fruitlessly to physically get rid of drugs, while not addressing the real problems behind our demand for drugs.

            Our society (and many others) creates an environment that leads a large segment of our population to drugs, whether as a form of illicit business for a poorly educated person with few opportunities for advancement to make good money, or for people who for one reason or another feel they have the need to avoid responsibility, or even simple recreation.

            Is this the fault of the individual? Well, we can argue that it is an individual problems to a large extent. But the things we are doing to deal with individuals are being, in general, ineffective.

            That leaves us with social causes. If these social issues are not addressed drugs will never go away. In fact, as our social problems become more complex over time and are left unattended, drugs will become even more prevalent.



            • #7

              That leads us back to the original question that Suki posed, "How would YOU solve the problem?" It's easy to point the finger and say "This is the problem" but what good does it do to focus on the problem? I'm one that would prefer to focus on a solution.


              • #8
                The problem has no solution. There will always be individuals who are junkies. The numbers may go a up and down like everything else in nature. One way to deal with this would be to do nothing and let nature take care of it. Or to -------- only offer rehab to those who want it. Otherwise, Jose is correct, we are going nowhere on this one. One thing we can do is educate, however we know there are highly educated junkies out there. However, I would venture to say they may represent a smaller portion of the pie. So, education may be the only way.

                Los recuerdos suelen
                Contarte mentiras



                • #9

                  That is exactly right! What I am proposing leads us back to the beginning. Scratch every single thing we are doing!

                  The country needs a new strategy for dealing with the drug problem. It is my believe that today's political environment in the US is counterproductive to any true anti-drug effort. In fact, I predict the drug problem will worsen over the next 2 - 3 years due to the current (and also all the previous) administration policies (but especially this one).

                  Drugs will not go away. In fact, the drug tide will not be turned away, until a comprehensive social and economic program is in place to earmark and deal with the various problems which are at the root of the drug problem.

                  Those who are caught up in the way the country does business as usual may think what I propose is nothing but a panacea. Well, if anyone thinks that the current anti-drug effort is going to lead to a drug-free America, I say that there lies the true panacea. It simply will not happen.

                  As I stated before we must treat the disease, not the symptom. It serves no purpose at this time to begin outlining the many issues which impact drug proliferation. We need to first change the paradigm our government, as well as many well-intentioned people, are trapped in.

                  Politics has two faces. The public face of politics weeps at the effects drugs have on our youth. The private face of politics rates the drug problem in America as a political inconvenience which amounts to nothing more than a tick on a horse's back. The economic impact of the drug problem on political contributions is insignificant, and some may argue certain illicit influences might tip the balance in favor of the drugs.

                  So you see, in my opinion, the drug problem, is a problem of perspective, attitude, political smoke screens and money, not a problem of drugs. This is what we have to change if drugs are ever going to go away.



                  • #10
                    Drug Use

                    I would consider the legalization of drugs. Jose is right in that society has tried just about everything. Legalizing drugs would completely change the economics of how they are distributed and sold. Doing so might also allow some level of regulation regarding quantities, purity etc. It will take away much of the violence that is created by those who compete to sell them in the streets. Of course the black market will never go away completely, but many recreational users will opt for the legal route. I know to many this is controversial and even taboo for some to even think about, but as long as drugs and their users are criminalized, little will change. Something has got to give.

                    Since legalization has already been discussed as a possible avenue, why would society be so opposed to it? (aside from the moral mumbo jumbo.) Keep in mind that those who are addicted are going to use no matter what. Treatment for those who wanted to stop can still exist and should. Society already does some of this today by giving heroin addicts methadone. Is there a difference?

                    The other thing to consider is how many Puerto Ricans, and people of color in general are overcrowding the prisons for some sort of drug related crime. Maybe society doesn't want that to change. Hmmm.


                    • #11

                      Legalization is an interesting option not yet explored in this country. However, I am afraid it will become less of a viable option in the future. In order for the government to legalize drugs, it must regulate them. When you have a limited amount of drugs to deal with (say MJ, Cocaine, Heroin, etc.) then regulation might have a chance. Unfortunately, the World is moving more and more towards "alternative" drugs such as Extacy and all its derivatives. I am afraid even if legalization brings control, independent dealers will find a way to introduce the "latest" drug of choice and thus undermine the control legalization might bring. In the end we could end up with more drugs (legal and illegal) that we started out with. Legalization also does nothing to reduce demand and consumption which are ultimately the biggest problems.



                      • #12
                        Jose and Waneko, Lorelei and all others

                        Interesting points.

                        Why do people turn to drugs in the first place? Why do people drink alcohol, take drugs and or become addicted to prescription drugs etc.?

                        The reasons are as varied as the people who are drug addicts. There are those who are or were in pain, deep emotional pain and have turned to drugs to 'numb' themselves or just to forget. There are those who take it for social reasons, pressured by peers or 'friends'. There are those like business executives, performers, etc. who have to 'produce' and the pressures of 'producing' encourages them to take uppers, cocaine and etc. These chemicals go into their systems and if they make it habitual, it eventually alters their brain chemistry. Once that happens rationality, judgement and self-control and discipline is compromised and the addict no longer is making the decisions (their body chemistry is in control).

                        I think there is still hope for the drug addict and that treatment plans can work, along with spiritual counseling and support from all sectors of society. My husband disagrees, he thinks the percentage who actually permanently reform is minute, and as such, they are doomed, and since they generate so much collateral damage like vandalizing, burglarizing, assault, battery, and even murder and rape, prostitution and stealing and hurting family members without mercy or consideration....that they became social pariahs and they should be either isolated and forced to go cold turkey and watched 24/7 or go real fascist style and just kill them and eliminate them (the drug dealers especially). It is pretty hopeless.

                        I think he feels that they (the drug dealers) have very low or no social responsibility and do not care for all the lives they are destroying and are only concerned about the $$ generated and as such deserve NO MERCY.

                        I think this is one of the toughest problems faced in the world today. Ironically societies with extremely tough laws such as exists in Singapore, and strong arm law enforcement countries have the lowest drug problems, if caught you die and swiftly without mercy and your family is billed for the bullet used to kill you with...sadly these countries have the lowest percentage of drug dealers, and the consequences for you being caught using illegal drugs is severe, family shame, being condemned to the worse jobs and scorn for many years. I think poor communities should have a drug prevention program. And Jose is right in the sense that one must examine why people use drugs in the first place.

                        The Nancy Reagan message of "just say no" obviously did not catch on. When I was a teen in the eighties there were drugs being offered to me and other teens, as soon as I would be at a party and see someone with any kinds of drugs or underage drinking I left immediately. I did not see anything fun or positive about drinking, taking drugs or being high. People who do drugs, are not in control of themselves, get sick, act stupid and are causing irreparable damage to not only themselves but their families go through absolute hell because of their drug use. It is a nightmare all around, except for the drug dealer profiting and ironically many of them do not take drugs themselves.

                        This is one of the hardest problems for a person to overcome. There is no one I admire more than reformed drug addicts living healthy lifes. THey have to have iron wills, and the strongest minds and hearts in the world to break that terrible cycle.