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Can We Stop Drug Related Gang Violence?
Perhaps I don’t have any new insights on the matter, but I do think countries should take a pragmatic approach to the problem.
What prompted this blog was the recent abduction and execution of police officers in Cuidad Larado. I spend my winters in Mexico and fortunately a good distance from Cuidad Larado. You’ll find me in the British Columbia Mountains during the summer about 300 kilometers from the center of British Columbia drug trade in Vancouver. There have been a few gang related murders recently in the Vancouver area and some involving innocent bystanders. Last year a car radio repairman in a gang member’s vehicle was shot to death in a drive by shooting. So the violence is escalating in B. C. too.
What I know:
• What we (Canada, US and Mexico) are doing now is not effective.
• Our countries and States are not likely to agree on a solution
• Marijuana is not a gateway drug
• A heroin addict supplied with either methadone or quality controlled heroin and clean needles can be productive and not a burden to society
• As long as drugs fill some need in their lives, people are not going to change,
• Other designer drugs, crack and cocaine are additive and deadly
• Ideology has no place in the search for a solution
• If we decriminalize drugs like marijuana, the cartels will simply concentrate their efforts on the more deadly drugs
• Draconian measures in countries like Singapore seem to cut drug importation
What I don’t know:
• How stop the flow and consumption of illegal drugs.
According to some statistics I read, the same percentages of people are addicted to drugs now as were before the drugs were prohibited some seventy years ago. My only problem with that statistic is that methamphetamine and designer drugs were not available at that time.
I have had some relatives and friends addicted to crack and heroin. The heroin addict was able after 20 years of addiction to stay clean. The crack addict has destroyed his family business, marriage and is in and out of rehab. He once said that the only crack addicts that kicked the habit were either dead or in prison. His brains are scrambled and he looks to be in his mid 60’s rather than his mid 40’s.
I sometimes think that addiction can also be a consequence of under medication for pain, anxiety or depression. I once suffered from debilitating cluster headaches similar to migraines except their onset would wake me in the middle of the night. A doctor who had been treating me with pain killers suddenly said that I was addicted. I was horrified as the only time I took the medication was when I was awakened with headaches. I had to quit my job and spend at 3 to 4 days weekly in bed in a darkened room in excruciating pain. That was thanks to our great medical profession and their fear of being targeted by the powers that be for over prescribing pain killers.
I go so far to say that if a person suffers from chronic or severe pain, it should not matter if he or she becomes addicted as long as the medication allows normal function and an enjoyable life. It is absolutely no different that any other medication for a chronic illness. I take a heart medication daily and could suffer dire consequences if I suddenly stopped the medication.