(This is the first installment of a five-part series on President Trump’s campaign against the ongoing ‘Opiod Crisis’)
The critically acclaimed movie Traffic, released to audiences back in 2000, intertwines three stories that demonstrate the complexities of the War on Drugs. It shows us the cartel side, the affluent dealer side, and the legislative side. For affect, it also demonstrates the damage that drug addiction does to human lives and their families. It’s an ugly business. But business it is.
America has been fighting the so-called War on Drugs for nearly half a century. But what have we gained from this war? In 1973, under the Nixon Administration, the federal government created the Drug Enforcement Agency to combat what President Nixon referred to as “Public Enemy Number One”.
Now, here we are half a century removed from this and we are still chasing an elusive enemy. Or maybe the enemy is us? How so you ask? To avoid answering a question with another question, let’s look at how Americans and our government see the problem with what many call the drug culture.
For families, the drug trade creates violence in many neighborhoods. It takes their loved ones and destroys any chance they have at leading a productive life. For citizens, the burden is placed on us at every turn; days missed from work, accidents that are drug related, domestic violence, rehabilitation, and tying up resources such as police enforcement, drug task forces, and the court system, to name a few.
Then comes the issue of smuggling. The debate over our borders has been louder than ever as President Trump made illegal immigration a defining campaign issue back in 2016. And certainly you see some congruence of drug trafficking tied to illegal immigration.
But one of the problems with opioids is it’s a much a domestic issue as it is an issue that originated beyond the borders. The research proves this out.
Back to the question I proposed: Maybe the enemy is us? I’ll let you answer the question- intelligently, not emotionally, as the ‘War on Drugs’ by it’s very nature is driven by emotion…just ask any politician; but I digress…
First Question: From the early days of the War on Drugs, what have we accomplished? Well, this answer, again, is up to interpretation; which is a primary reason why we seem to get nowhere with this fictitious war. Depending on what side of the political fence you sit on will determine whether or not the war is an utter success or abject failure.
Second Question: What do we intend to accomplish with this latest war on opiods that is so different than the other campaigns against drugs?
Third Question: Is the collective cost worth the effort given our past record on this matter?
These are the questions we will attempt to answer in the days ahead. And in answering these questions, we will take a non-partisan, practical, and realistic approach based on the statistical inference, using historical data, while taking into consideration the track record of our government in determining whether this so-called crisis is a war that can be won through yet another government campaign.
(Chris Gaines is an author and Editor-in-Chief for Patriot Gaines. He resides in the Cedar Valley of Northern Iowa with his wife, Jen, and two kids, Patrick & Megan)
Photo Source: Web MD