The Drugs Problem (cont.)
By Gregory Sams
Another level of casualties in this war evolves from the distortion of the natural market, which drives people to take more dangerous drugs than they would choose in a free market. The laws banning cannabis cultivation and use carry more responsibility for the growth of crack cocaine than do all the cocaine barons of Columbia and the CIA. They also carry responsibility for solvent related deaths, teenage alcoholism, madness from Datura (Jimson weed), and other aspects of the drug problem than does any other single factor. Though there is justified outrage at the probable part played by the CIA in the introduction of crack cocaine to America's inner cities, the statistics would suggest that the War on Drugs itself is the largest causative factor of America's downhill slide into dangerous drug abuse.
Federal prisons only; overall, more than one million Americans are behind bars, serving sentence or awaiting trial - the highest per capita level in the world.
According to NIDA research for the USA, tobacco and alcohol kill twice as many people in a week as do all illegal drugs combined in a year. Unlike alcohol and tobacco, cannabis is neither addictive nor credited with any deaths per annum. And how can we ignore the millions made dependent upon prescribed pharmaceuticals with damaging, often lethal side-effects, excluding them altogether from the “drug problem” statistics?
This war has clogged courts and jails worldwide with drug cases. The U.S.A. has 2.8% of its adult population (5% of adult males) in jail. This is the highest incarceration rate in the world and three times the world average. America's Stalinistic forfeiture laws against drug users now routinely provide budgeted income to local state agencies as they seize valuable property, boats and businesses of people accused of being in the drugs trade - before their cases have even been tried in court! Even when proven innocent, it is difficult, costly and time-consuming to recover forfeited property. It seems evident that the War on Drugs creates far more problems than drugs ever posed on their own.
Like the American Prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's this surreptitious World War Three has no chance whatsoever of success. As we know from history, the effect of Prohibition was to double the overall level of alcohol consumption and increase deaths from badly-made alcohol. Prohibition gave the Mafia a very successful start in life, and a database of almost every club, bar or place of entertainment in the USA. The whole effort was an excellent example of the “terminal toolbag” in action.
We do have a problem with young people taking drugs as well as with middle aged and elderly people. It is a very serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs which are being used illegally. Why do we ignore the vast problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors, and whose lives are messed-up and sometimes destroyed as a result either of doctor error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks, or just years of being addicted to synthetic pharmaceuticals with known side-effects? These can only be obtained through controlled channels but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world - the real drugs trade.
The most successful pharmaceutical drugs are those such as steroids, beta blockers and antihistamines which do not cure, but instead create a life-long habit for the user, often translating to hundreds or even thousands of pounds a month. These drug dealers openly lobby and encourage the state to pass laws controlling and restricting the alternative healing industry in the sale of herbal and other natural medicinal remedies. Even the deadly killers alcohol and tobacco are usually blinkered out of the vision when the vast majority talk about “the drug problem.”
While acknowledging the dangers posed by some illegal drugs, I point out that the unnecessary suffering and destruction meted out by the 'authorized' drugs trade is clearly the greater problem, despite being managed by trained people in white coats and slick PR professionals. More people will almost surely die from mis-applied or mis-prescribed pharmaceuticals in a month, probably even in a week, than from the so-called “drug problem” in a year. The statistics are not released and possibly not even tallied.
Disclaimer: Readers are advised to avoid all illegal drugs and to only ever ingest those substances that have been approved by the government, or prescribed by a government-approved doctor. Then you will be a happy, healthy bunny.