In the United States, there has been a deviation from the traditional approach to drugs in our society. Gone are the days when the government actively combated the use and distributions of narcotics to our nation’s citizens.
Presidents such as President Nixon proclaimed the fight against narcotics the “War on Drugs”, a war we have waged since 1971. First Lady Nancy Reagan took the fight a step further and adopted the “Just Say No” Campaign in order to educate the youth of America and discourage them from using narcotics by understanding the negative effects of these dangerous products.
However, these days the prevalent political winds are blowing in the direction of legalization. Detractors claim that by criminalizing narcotics, we have done more harm than good. They point to incarceration numbers, economic, and social factors to proclaim that the war is lost.
As a result, states have begun the process of deregulation by legalizing marijuana at various levels of access. Though there is data to show that marijuana, from a strictly health perspective, is less dangerous than other drugs; it disregards the honest truth that marijuana is a stepping stone to other narcotic exploration.
There is plenty of room for debate regarding the method in which we respond to this issue, but we cannot and should not legalize narcotics in this country. To throw up our hands and proclaim defeat is not an option when we are referring to the well-being of this country and its people.
To begin, narcotics are a danger in and of themselves. Heavier narcotics such as heroin and cocaine can lead to death from overuse or overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 10,000 people died from heroin overdose in 2014 alone. This is a 6-fold increase from 2001 statistics.
It is not just heroin, there has been marked increases in the number of overdose victims of prescription drugs, cocaine, and other narcotics.
Marijuana is often considered the “softer” drug because there is no data that supports the claim that one can die simply by using it. However, there continues to be increases in DUI death rates where the driver is high on marijuana or has combined weed with alcohol. That is a death, regardless of how soft one may believe it to be. We are losing the war on these hard drugs because we have made them more readily available, we have a society that glorifies their use, and a general lack of moral fiber among the American citizen.
This leads me to the next argument; we are deteriorating the morality of this once great country. The Roman Empire can attest to the dangers of the moral decay of a society away from values of self-respect, self-reliance, and propriety in business and education.
Instead, we have a society that believes they can do whatever they wish and get away with it because it is the fault of society that they are doing poorly in life. For example, the youth of this generation blames the “Evil 1%” for their problem; you know those who do the right thing, work hard, and mostly avoid the attraction of narcotics.
These youths, however, believe it perfectly permissible to do narcotics, to dress unprofessionally, to have a “work-shy” attitude, and that wealth and happiness should be handed to them like a joint being passed around the bongo drum line.
It doesn’t work that way.
As a result, we have had a negative impact on the economic and moral foundation of the country. According to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the US ONDCP, this country loses around $180 billion per year in health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. That is economic hemorrhaging that must be plugged up.
This can juxtaposed onto our education system where every year science, mathematics, and other data of measurement continue to report American children falling behind the rest of the world. This decay is at the heart of America’s problems currently in the world: a clear lack of knowledge of international affairs, an apathy towards mechanism of further decay, a cowering attitude towards national security threats, and, most importantly, a lack of work ethic coupled with an entitlement attitude.
Drug legalization will exacerbate the situation as it is and lead to continued moral and ethical decay.
Next, one should be aware that, regardless of the naysayers, drug restrictions work. According to a research done in Australia by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2007, about 80-90% of the world’s citizens indulge in the consumption of alcohol and about 60% consumption of tobacco products. However, there was only a 15% use of marijuana and less than 1% use of harder drugs.
Drug Restrictions keep people from making a terrible mistake and tumbling down the rabbit hole to addiction and other socio-economic issues. Imagine for a second 80-90% of America was using heroin. Such a thought is an image of the End of Days.
None of this takes into account the terrible effects it has on the lives of users. First, they begin to use drugs recreationally and attempt to maintain a normal life in society. However, as the addiction becomes more and more a part of their lives, important things begin to fall by the way side.
They often lose their job from poor performance or constant no-shows. Without a source of income, they begin to take actions to provide their basic necessities while still maintaining their habit. They eat less and engage in nefarious behaviors in order to maintain the addictions. Some may resort to crime while young women subject themselves to sexual exploitation in exchange for access to their drug of choice.
Eventually these people hit rock bottom and end up in jail. This in and of itself is devastating as they experience withdrawal systems while also a prisoner of the state. When they are released, their job opportunities have been severely decreased and often times, they return to their hold habits. Thus does the cycle of degeneration continues.
The last part leaves the door open for a honest discussion regarding narcotics: is our approach towards drug enforcement the best way forward. There is no argument against the fact that it drives people away from using drugs and prevents our youth from entering the “Gateway”. However, are we doing a service to the users and their salvation from these demons?
Would it not be better that, instead of spending millions a year in law enforcement and incarceration, we dedicate our funds to a more permanent solution of drug rehabilitation centers? This would allow the afflicted to have an opportunity to break their habits while simultaneously not condemning these individuals from an opportunity for future employment?
As Christians, it is not our responsibility to lead people back to the light from darkness instead of condemning them to a life a debauchery, crime, and Pain?
Editor’s Note: We can thank our drug dealer in chief Barack Obama and his “choom gang” for his fine example.