Those who have not been afflicted by drugs often criticize drug addiction and use. But, drug addiction has been found to be a complex problem. As a result of this, some governments began to treat drug addiction and use as a health issue, rather than a crime problem.
Drug abuse was declared a number 1 public enemy in the United States in 1971. Moreover, this launched a global campaign that is called The War on Drugs. A great number of people claim that the campaign has been a failure, which has led to:
- Systemic human rights abuses all over the world
- Violence (particularly in Asia, Latin America, and Africa)
- Political destabilization
- Mass incarceration in the United States
But, What Is the Problem?
The aim of the war on drugs is to eradicate drugs, as well as place those using and trafficking drugs in jail. This actually makes sense; eliminate the product to eliminate the problem.
However, in case you lower the supply of a certain product, you need to lower the demand, as well. As addiction cannot be reduced quickly, the demand for drugs still remains high. Despite reduced supply, drug suppliers increase the cost of drugs to remain profitable.
Additionally, the U.S. constitutes about 25% of the total world’s prison population, but about 5% of the total world’s population. Furthermore, this is mainly because of mandatory minimums and harsh punishments not for those who create and supply drugs, but for people with drug addictions. This means that most of the addicted people suffer from serious health issues.
Better Alternatives to This Global Campaign
Fortunately, some governments (in Switzerland and Portugal) have implemented better and more effective systems.
During the 2000s, Portugal was dealing with a drug epidemic. A newfound freedom and democracy rapidly resulted in an experimental approach to government, politics, and drug use.
Over the past sixteen years, Portugal has climbed out of the drug crisis:
- HIV infections have steadily decreased among drug users that inject;
- Drug-related deaths have reduced significantly;
- The number of those who use drugs has decreased;
- Drug use has reduced among people aged 15-24.
In the 1980s, Switzerland was another country that used a similar approach when dealing with a heroin epidemic. Namely, since the percentage of HIV infections and street crime elevated, the government opened free heroin maintenance centres for addicts that included:
- Social workers to find housing;
- Medical supervision;
- Safe injection rooms, beds, and showers;
- Controlled and high quality heroin use with clean needles.
That’s why Switzerland had a significant decrease in drug-related crime. The good news is that approximately 66% of those that used the heroin maintenance centres found regular jobs since they did not have to finance their addiction.
A Chemical, Known as Levamisole, Has Been Proven to Be Present in Cocaine:
A chemical typically used to de-worm farm animals, known as levamisole, has been proven to be present in cocaine. That’s why a number of drug users experienced adverse side effects like rotting skin, skin discoloration, skin lesions, and more.
In the United Kingdom, where this cocaine has been used, drug-related deaths reached record highs one year ago. As stated above, demand does not easily go down. This means that if more addicts use cocaine, they are at a greater likelihood of using drug that contains levamisole.
Unluckily, the greatest challenge that researchers face is individuals who do not admit that they take drugs. As a large number of people can function after and during using cocaine, it is quite difficult to connect the infections and adverse side effects this type of cocaine can trigger.
That’s why patients should be honest with their doctors, so that they can deliver the adequate care.