Americas War on Drugs is over.
Unfortunately, for our society, the drugs won.
Since its inception, America has been suffering defeats. Filling up prisons with drug offenders and giving stiff sentences, penalties, and fines havent discouraged people from using drugs. Our efforts to stop drugs from entering the country have failed. And illegal substances across the board are more potent than ever.
Though the above illustrates how the battle has been lost, the most powerful display of drugs dominance over our society is the implementation of harm-reduction methods. This ideology accepts that we have lost and utilizes different practices to make the use of narcotics less harmful.
Its Americas white flag, and as we wave it, we see things occurring in our society that would have never been considered during the early stages of the war. Safe injections areas with free needles for IV drug users, decriminalization of illicit drugs, and opioid replacement drugs are components of this effort.
There is a noticeable shift in what these new practices are trying to achieve. Things have changed from trying to prevent drug use to avoiding the consequences of drug use. As our society becomes more interested in stopping the spread of disease and preventing overdose deaths, it is ignoring the core issue: substance abuse.
After fighting a losing battle for so long, something needs to be done to mitigate the fallout of Americas failed War on Drugs.
The biggest problem I see is that harm-reduction might be seen as the only option we have.
As our society moves further away from tackling the main issue, the concessions we make may lead to more significant implications in the future. As harm-reduction becomes more popular it may make it impossible to stop substance abuse from being an accepted way of life. Im afraid thats what we are doing by making it safer and more comfortable for people to be a drug addict.
The existence of practices like this undermines the drug addiction prevention education we have been trying to get our children to utilize from a young age.
Im not against stopping the spread of disease and preventing death but arent we sending the wrong message. We have been telling people that drugs are harmful and to Just say no. It appears that we are shifting to: Just say no. But if you do say yes, we have clean needles and a place to hang out while you inject your body with poison.
It just doesnt have the same ring to it.
The War on Drugs may be over, but we need to find other ways to help those afflicted with addiction. Making drug-use less harmful doesnt help people get off drugs; it does quite the opposite.
As we look to the future, I suggest we create policies and initiatives that focus on drug education and prevention and stay away from methods that undermine it.
Things are bad, but if the evolution of drug use over the past couple of decades has shown us anything, its that things can get worse. Maybe its time we reconsidered how helpful harm-reduction really is.
Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with substance abuse for over 20 years. His website is Addicted.org.
Originally posted here:
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