Actually we’ve already won the war on drugs. And who could have thought it would be as easy as a simple name change? “DRUGS” always had a bad ring to it. Besides sounding guttural and menacing, it rhymed with other unpleasant words like “BUGS”, “SLUGS”, “MUG”, “LUG”, etc. And of course since “street” drugs are illegal, doctors and their masters-the pharmaceutical industry goons-couldn’t get in on the fun. But for every problem there is a solution, and some clever soul had a light bulb switch on in his head and said, “I know, let’s make our own mind altering drugs and call them-ta da-“MEDS”.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
“MEDS” sound so much better. When you say it, you lips curl up into a little smile. Try it-I’ll give you a moment-see what I mean? Sounds like something you might carry around in a neat little Pez dispenser. Early on in the meds craze, people were enthused and right up front about it. In elevators or around the water cooler you could hear people saying things like, “I take the orange ones just like my doctor does; they’re so good they won’t even let the airline pilots take them. They have to take the purple ones.”
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the medical/drug people were not only willing to dispense these drugs-excuse me, I mean meds-to adults practically on demand, but they’ve also been prescribed for U.S. children at unconscionable levels. For example, one in twelve of our children age 5-9 have been prescribed psychotropic drugs, nearly three times the rate in European countries. Welcome to Zombieland.
This development has taken care of the drug needs of the upper class and much of the middle class because these groups generally have health insurance and easy access to eager doctors ready with their prescription pads at their elbows. But what about the almost fifty million of our citizens with no health insurance? Well, if they want the meds, they have to rob the pharmacies-which they sometimes do-but that is a risky business and so they mostly content themselves with the “street” drugs which of course still remain illegal. The result is often harsh prison terms for mostly the poor and minorities who remain the target of our so-called war on drugs.
This war will be about as successful as, say, our war on poverty, our war in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Iraq, our war in Viet Nam, our war in Afghanistan, etc. But there is one difference: we really don’t want to win this war. By “we” I mean the vast prison industry, and to a lesser extent, the rehab industry. Prisons are usually located in poor rural areas where employment opportunities are limited and where the citizens and politicians and hired lobbyists from those areas are anxious to keep the prison doors revolving and the construction of yet more prisons proceeding at a rapid pace. The result is that the U.S. incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world.
It’s really all about that much-used phrase, follow the money. Even marijuana was originally outlawed to appease the timber barons who were alarmed that the hemp industry was threatening to cut into their vast fortunes derived from their paper-making, earth raping monopoly. But we just don’t seem to get it. For instance, we seem happy to outlaw drugs with the result that there are billions of dollars to be made by the suppliers and pushers, but then we wring our hands and complain that the drug trade is being used to fund terrorist operations around the world. So now, we are talking about more troops in Afghanistan to try and burn the poppy fields. Yes, let’s have another war. Speaking of wars, in most cases,follow the money there too if you are looking for motive. Hellooooo!