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Drugs: Dancing with the Devil

Updated on March 7, 2009

Drugs and the failed war

For many generations now, the U.S. has been locked into a losing battle it calls "the war on drugs.". Billions have been spent trying to catch drug users and punish them so as to do away with the problem. Customs agents play hide and seek with trafficers who are really couriers. Their impact is dwarfed by the real smugglers who use the latest aircraft, high powered speed boats, and commercial trade to conceal and bring drugs into the U.s.

There are many arrests and convictions of low level dealers and users. At the higher levels, rarely is the leader of a cartel arrested or incarcerated. Compared to other gangs such as the Mafia, the cartels are more ruthless and are well prepared to do battle wherever they set up operations. Whole countries have seen the legitimate government fall as the cartel brings its resources in to quell any opposition to its power.

Why is the drug distribution enterprize gaining on governments' ability to keep it in check? What market forces are at play ? Why do young men and women sell their souls and give undying loyalty to those who supply them with drugs?

Core suppliers and those who work for them down the line make so much money they risk the enterprize attempting to conceal all the cash. Of course this cash is also a great incentive for crooked judges, magistrates, police, and other businesses' such as banks. for a hefty cash fee, some bankers have agreed to launder the bushels of money pouring into the coffers of the cartels. This money is used to buy judges, police, border guards, and legislators.

In some areas of Mexico, authorities are losing ground against the narcotrafficers. They are outgunned, outmanned, and barely survive on the pay, which is hardly worth risking a life over. Drug activity centers on getting drugs into the United States. Most of it will get through. the rewards for success are too great to pass up.

Politics have replaced reason in the U.S. as elelcted officials bring the prison "business" to their communities rather than industry that produces a product that provides a tax base. The prisons get built and taxpayers are burdened with paying for more and more inmates as prison advocates lobby for more prisoners to fill the cell blocks that were just recently built.   Drug users and addicts are perfect candidates to fill these cells.

Legislators who have been elected on tough on crime platforms pressure judges for longer sentences. Fearing crime that previously was ignored, the community joins in the chorus of "get tough on crime.".Most of the heat goes out to the drug community, low level dealers, petty thieves, and chronic prisoners or those constantly in conflict with the law.

Police, who now have larger forces to fight "crime" and put drug users away are happily surprised when the governemnt provides them with tanks, armor, high powered sniper rifles, and interceptor police vehicles to outrun smugglers who are trying to meet the demand of a population hungry for their product.

In rsponse to demand, illegal drug factories have developed more potent drugs that increase their profit and of course, a new batch of users who quickly become addicted, if they aren't already. Users are younger than ever before, more in the know about all things previously for adults only.

Methamphetamine, "meth" or "speed" is cheaper than crack cocaine, heroin, or powder cocaine. Users are easily hooked for the high and in no time at all will do anything to get more of the drug. It's effects are devestating on the addicts health. Pictures taken a year after initial use shows the rotten teeth, sunken eyeballs, malnutrition, and unhealthy complexion that identifies the addict.  Formerly beautiful and innocent young girls look like they have been through hell. Many say that is exactly where they have been. They readily admit that it was easy to go from casual sex to selling their body to anyone who could get them their next score. Young, former athletes, good looking college boys will relate similar stories. After stealing from family and friends until they aren't allowed to come around, it is a fairly easy transition for them to sell sex on the streets. Some contract hiv but instead of seeking treatment they seek the drug. Eventually some die from aids, from gunshot wounds, stabbing, an overdose, hepatitis, liver and kidney failure, toxic shock. Sometimes they borrow money from the wrong people and end up in the river.

Some try switching drugs, hoping to get off a drug of choice. Most are disappointed as they find the new drug places them at the same level of addiction as the drug they gave up. Crossing over to "just beer," wine, or liquor, has the same effect. the original high is gone to be replaced by the feeling they must have more of the substance just to keep them in the same place. But they keep seeking that first high and the drug that brings them closest to that feeling will be the drug of choice, . Choosing alcohol will have the same negative effect on the health of the addict as the drug that was replaced. And why not? Alcohol, though distributed as as a liquid is a drug. Some addicts started using in the third or fourth grade and are addicted to alcohol or any mind altering substance they can find. They may never reach the bottom of their addiction in time to seek help or come to the attention of authorities because they were caught soliciting, sleeping on the street, shoplifting, or disturbing the peace. Often a suicide attempt will bring an  addict to the attention of the right agency and it's possible for an intervention to take place. However, those over 17 will go straight to jail.  In jail there are many opportunities to get high and they do.

Meanwhile, families are in disarray, angry, sad, and feeling hopeless as every attempt they make to help an addict leads to disappointment and more failure.. Punches get thrown. Younger kids see things and hear stuff they should not be involved in. They worry about parents and the addict on the streets or still at home but fighting constantly with the parents. Sometimes they start acting out. They have learned that this is the only way to get attention.

Narcotics anonomous and sructured treatment which emphasizes responsibility and coping mechanisms that include getting away from previous people and places where they did their drugs. Atwselve step program combined with helping them get in touch with previously learned values including a higher power are emphasized. With luck, the patient will cooperate, complete the required program, attend after care and counseling, go to meetings, get a sponser , and stay humble and in touch with others trying to stay in recovery. Something like a little over half will stumble through but decide to go back to the old life. Shortly thereafter, they will come back to recovery.  This may repeat itself along with jail, accidents, divorce, and all the problems that go with addiction until death or recovery.  There are two options.

As every recovering alcoholic or drug addict will tell you,  I am sober today-sober--one day at a time.


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    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Great hub. Thank you. There can never be enough descriptions of how pointless it is to put people in prison for something they cannot control, and how money spent on policing could be better used in prevention, education, and rehabilitation.