Wednesday, March 18, 2009
[Is this the only way to do it?]
The Economist, which I believe is one of the most intelligently written news magazines, published a cover story on March 7, 2009 entitled “How to Stop the War on Drugs”. The magazine suggests, on page 15 in its editorial, to legalize drugs. In other words, end the war by surrendering. The immense international effort made so far to imprison producers and dealers has filled up many prison cells and graves, expended a lot of money, but has not stopped people from using drugs. One dealer or producer is eliminated and another one just takes over his business instead. In addition to that, since drugs are illegal, dealers and producers cannot settle their differences or collect their debts in court and instead must use murder.
So the “least bad” solution is to simply give up. Drugs could be taxed like cigarettes and the money could be used to treat addicts and educate the public about drugs. Through this, hopefully most drug users would gradually be weaned off them.
I don’t think that most people would favor a policy like this. It would seem unquestionable that the legalization of drugs, making acquiring them much safer and less costly, would increase their usage. The problem is that many users of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and similar chemicals are unable to work. Therefore, in order to support themselves, they generally steal, beg or prostitute. They often live on sidewalks. They frequently have serious health problems and they have no way to finance their treatment. This would overwhelm existing emergency rooms and hospitals with indigent patients. Of course, theoretically, special government financed nursing homes could be created to care for and provide drugs to severe drug addicts (“junkies”), however this would probably be very costly, especially since a great many people might use drugs knowing that they could live in these nursing homes if need be.
In other words, although the Economist may be correct that the War on Drugs is not working, however surrender would seem to be impossible as well. So what to do?
The universally used treatment for addictions is the 12 Step Program. The heart of the program is a belief in God and in helping others – monotheism and altruism. Apparently people who are able to turn to God for help and who are involved in helping others don’t feel a need to use chemicals to cope with stress in their lives.
I would therefore suggest the following. All schools should teach children the truth of monotheism and the concept that God wants us to love each other. We should have prayer in the classroom and religious instruction. Darwin should be out, the Bible should be in. Children should be taught healthy, spiritual coping skills. They should be taught about the soul, afterlife, heaven and hell.
A great many addicts have chaotic childhoods. If possible every child should be raised by both biological parents. Boys must be taught the importance of being responsible husbands and fathers. A woman is your partner in life, not a toy. Pornography should be banned.
Stopping drug abuse once a person is already depressed and feels unable to cope is like trying to stop an avalanche which is already in progress. I believe that we must remove the circumstances which lead to addiction long before people reach that point. This should be the new war on drugs.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 2:09 PM