Drug abuse should be treated as a health problem rather than a crime problem because when you ban something it becomes attractive. Prohibition of alcohol is an example. Turning how we think about drugs round allows us to see why we are failing in our attempts to control drug trafficking. It’s partly profitable because it is banned. Policies to support the health issue would be more productive than making drug use a crime.
The issue of drugs is an emotive one. The lay public have impressions and ideas about drugs which are not necessarily factual. The difficulty for the professionals who deal with addiction and addicts, is that their reality and the behavior of their clients, is not understood by the general population. It is simplistic to say ban all drugs, yet some are useful for certain medical conditions. Unfortunately the politicians who make the laws are pressured by the ignorance of their electorate.
The health issue is why individuals take drugs. The reasons are as varied as the people. Many drug users have been abused and resort to drugs to stop the images and post traumatic stress they suffer from. Every society has those who bully, take advantage of weaker individuals, often children, or who have no interest in the emotional state of those they take advantage of. A policy of supporting parents, particularly young mothers is vital. Women in many parts of the world are held in little respect and their lives are not in their control. It is time to consider how our societies operate and how protection to vulnerable individuals can be supported without interfering in personal lives. This is a tricky issue.
In small society’s everyone knows everyone else and the group act as support, peace-keepers and can intervene to protect their family members. In large cities where families live in cramped conditions or where someone in the family has issues, there is no real place to go for help. These people are vulnerable. Leaving the care to charities leaves a huge gap because while charities do immensely good work, they do not have the clout of the government.
Policies which delve into bullying, in schools and in the workplace, offer support for those who suffer from this. Policies which educate youth about managing their lives, without interfering with their independence, can offer information that many youngsters are trying to find in a period of their lives when they are idealistic and hopeful. The lifestyles of many adults with long working hours means they miss the casual opportunities to interact with their children when quiet discussions can take place. The types of policies possible are as varied as they individual problems.
Drugs are a health issue rather than a crime problem.