Who Uses Drugs?
I attempted to write this blog about half a dozen times. Feeling an overwhelming resistance, I’d sit at my desk, type a few words, delete them, then try again. When the flow didn’t materialize, I told myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Ten days later, I still hadn’t written the blog.
What was my problem?
Drugs are not a happy topic.
And I disagree with the manner and direction in which the opioid epidemic and illegal drugs are being addressed.
What am I upset about?
The current administration is escalating the drug war.
Decades of failure, research, and academic evidence have shown the policies of interdiction, enforcement, and incarceration are counterproductive approaches.
They do not work.
When I was the guest author at a March 19th book club meeting, I commented that we are a nation of drug users, and some women were offended.
So, who’s using drugs?
I pointed out that drug dealers are in business to fill the demand. If the supply isn’t available legally, then a black market is created. I reminded them that prohibition didn’t work with alcohol, and it’s not working with drugs.
Did you see/hear President Trump’s announcement demanding the death penalty for people who sell drugs?
I disagree with this approach.
While researching my novel, I discovered that harsh criminal punishments do not stop the illegal sale of drugs, save lives, or mitigate the overdose crisis. The war on drugs has failed.
To end the overdose crisis, we need to stop the criminalization of drug use and possession, and embrace harm reduction solutions.
What is harm reduction?
Harm reduction is a public health philosophy and intervention practice that puts people first. It seeks to reduce the damage associated with drug use, prevent overdose, and eradicate ineffective drug policies.
One step is to reclassify Marijuana.
The federal government labels marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no medical value.
Did you know that medical cannabis can help treat opioid addiction?
While access to medication-assisted treatments like methadone or buprenorphine remains limited, medical marijuana helps relieve pain from opioid withdrawal, and eases related symptoms like insomnia, nausea, and anxiety. (Of course, it also helps with other ailments. But that information is for another blog.)
The following graph shows the status of marijuana in the U.S.
I’m ending with a quote from Jules Netherland. In the March 20, 2018, edition of THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, she said, “Resist the fear, resist the stigma, resist the demonization, resist the pretext that people who sell drugs are some kind of monsters. Ground yourself instead in compassion and reason — remembering that people who use and sell drugs are human — just like you and just like me.”
What do you think? Do you agree with President Trump’s approach to executing drug dealers? Do you know someone who’s been incarcerated for dealing? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message in the comment box below.
Thanks for reading.
Warmest Regards, Michele