Our borrowed war on drugs has not worked.
It’s been decades since our American neighbours came up with the idea in 1971 and we’re no closer to winning than we were when we started.
In fact, there always seems to be a new drug, and new victims.
Fentanyl is the latest scourge, rapidly taking down users, since it is so easy to overdose on a minuscule amount of the substance.
Some don’t even know they’re taking it. As with many drugs, dealers and cookers mix a little bit of this with a little bit of that and a little bit of the other thing and feed it steadily to those so desperate for a high they’ll try anything, and those who are just stupid enough not to be wary.
We’re finally on the cusp of legalizing marijuana, as should have been done long ago. The only thing that’s been accomplished with maintaining its illegality has been the lining of the pockets of organized crime.
It certainly hasn’t stopped its availability.
Which is not to say that we believe that all drugs should be available for everyone, adults and otherwise, to buy at will.
Marijuana is relatively benign — things like heroin, crack and cocaine, to name but a few of the more common street drugs, are not.
But it hasn’t worked to criminalize and force addicts of these substances into dark corners.
The goal is to get people to not even start doing these drugs, but reality dictates that we must also get people who are hooked to stop.
These folks need a health care plan, not a jail sentence.
It will collectively cost us money. But not as much as the fundamentally failing system we are currently following.
Our system is not as bad by a longshot as what’s happening in the Philippines where president Rodrigo Duterte openly says he’d be happy to kill off not just the drug dealers in country, but all the drug users as well — to the tune of three million people.
In light of this, it comes as little surprise that he compared himself last week to Hitler — implying that such a comparison was a favourable thing.
Apparently, according to Reuters, since he took office in June more than 3,100 people have been killed in police operations and by vigilantes, and most of those dead have been the aforementioned in the drug underground.
It’s both brutal and insane. We’re nowhere near to that level of crazy, but our system is also broken. We’ve been doing the same thing for decades and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. It’s time to try a different, more compassionate approach.