Pity the fool. Pity poor Donald Trump. He really doesn’t have a clue.
I am going to make a liberal, left-wing suggestion that will outrage right-wing conservatives, but before you throw up your hands and condemn me, hear me out.
The problem with all of us smelly deplorables electing a non-professional politician as president of the Unites States is that the poor naïve schmuck actually seems to believe he is supposed to keep—or at least try to keep—his campaign promises. Trump doesn’t realize politicians just promise whatever they hell they want or must to get elected; nobody expects them to ever keep a promise, for goodness sake! What a joke.
Trump declared war on drugs on the campaign trail, and, most recently since his election, on opioids in particular. Now let’s see, which president since Richard Nixon (who coined the phrase in 1971) has not declared war on drugs? And how are we doing with that, America?
No one ever accused me of being the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, but I am smart enough to realize that after almost half a century of failing at something, it might be time to try another tactic. Call me an easily discouraged quitter, but that’s how I feel about it.
So I am going to suggest that we just give up—sort of—and legalize drugs; not only marijuana, but every damned thing that you can put in your body to alter or dim your consciousness.
Wait. Don’t go away angry. Listen to some well-known facts before you lose your temper.
Scientists who study such things say that approximately ten to fifteen percent of any population group anywhere in the world will be prone to some form of addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, whatever, and that percentage of the population will have that tendency no matter what. (Whether they all indulge their tendency or not is another matter.)
Approximately eight to ten percent of Americans are currently considered drug-addicted.
America spends approximately $30- to $100-billion (depending which source you choose to believe and how you calculate it) every single year on the war on drugs. That’s the cost you and I, the American taxpayer, pay to prevent the stuff getting in the country; to try and stop or eradicate it at its international source; to arrest and incarcerate people for selling and/or using it; to provide treatment for addicts; and for campaigns to discourage or prevent people (children, primarily) from starting down the dark road to addiction.
Even at the low end, that’s a hefty chunk of change, but that price tag doesn’t include the ancillary costs: the over 63,000 (according to the CDC) dead from overdoses every year; the quotidian violence and murder in our city streets that destroys not only lives but entire communities; the 250,000 murdered in Mexico alone in the last ten years—more than 55 people a day is the estimate—to feed America’s hunger for addiction; the practically endless costs of less violent varieties of crime (burglaries and robberies); the costs, both in dollars and in human lives, of drug-impaired people driving in the car next to you, or just behind you, or coming toward you, every single time you get behind the wheel of your car.
Legalizing drugs would have several, almost immediate results.
It would drive the price down, which would put most local dealers out of business immediately.
It would eventually put the cartels out of business. Yes, I understand they’re all criminals and would just turn their attention to some other illegal activity, but destroying their bread and butter would save countless lives and countless billions of dollars.
The American government, on the other hand, could make money hand over fist by regulating and taxing the stuff, just the way they do alcohol.
It would provide some measure of control over who takes drugs and what drugs they take. Addicts would have to register to be able to get their drugs, take the stuff in a controlled environment where they wouldn’t overdose or kill you with their driving, and be exposed to endless opportunities to kick their habit.
I suspect the number of addicts would drop because making drugs legal and administering them through some boring bureaucratic agency would take away much of the “wow factor” that causes teenagers to experiment, teenagers being notorious for wanting to do whatever they are told they may not do.
It would save lives: the more than 63,000 who die from overdoses every year, for one; for another, the murder rate would plummet, because approximately 95% to 98% of murders in this country are directly or indirectly drug-related, according to law enforcement; it would reduce the number of traffic accident fatalities (although, to be fair, I have to admit more accidents are caused by cell phones and texting than by impaired driving).
If you disagree, present your arguments against legalization, but make sure you have some alternative to the current, ineffective, wasteful, and destructive war on drugs, because spinning your wheels for fifty years is really not too smart.