Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why must we make our lives so difficult?

Why must we make our lives so difficult?

An old recipe for solving a crime is “to follow the money”.

Illegal drugs are bad, right? But legal drugs are good, unless they were obtained illegally, of course. Does that make sense? When we’re talking drugs, we’re talking about [Wikipedia] “any chemical substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. [However] there is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings [for drugs] in medicine, government regulations, and colloquial usage”.
Many natural substances blur the line between food and drugs, including beers, wines, tobacco, even some mushrooms. The drugs therein alter minds and set up a craving that in many individuals cannot be controlled without professional help. Manufacturers of these products are very much aware of those properties and attempt to enhance the effect so as to promote addiction and assure repeat customers.
In the USA

Alcohol abuse causes 100,000 deaths each year! With percentages ranging from 5-60, deaths from diseases of the circulatory system, the respiratory system, accidents, drowning, burns, suicides, falls, automobile accidents, and homicides are attributed to alcohol, according to the NIDA Report, the Scientific American and Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario.
Tobacco abuse causes emphysema, the most common cause of death from respiratory disease in the United States and the fourth most common cause of death overall. Between 1964 and 2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated 12 million deaths, including 4.1 million from cancer, 5.5 million from cardiovascular diseases, 2.1 million from respiratory diseases, and 94,000 infant deaths related to mothers smoking during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 400,000 premature deaths each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths.
In 1998 in the United States, 9,839 cases of mushroom poisoning were reported by poison centers, but the statistics do not include the number of fatalities. So it is with coffee, chocolate and other such substances, so we’ll forget about these delicacies.
However, Drug abuse killed 19,102 persons in 1999 USA (NVSR Sep 2001). Drugs include cocaine and heroin, crack and cannabis).
When we divide the above statistics into the population of the USA (which, according to Census 2000, was 281,421,906 in 2000) we see that, out of every 10,000 persons: alcohol kills 4; tobacco kills 10; and drugs kill 1 person per year. Yet, alcohol and tobacco are legal, and drugs are not. Now, isn’t that interesting?
To eliminate that 1 death out of 10,000 the American government spends over $50 billion each year on the War on Drugs. They arrest about 2 million persons in that (at $25,000 per), of which about ½ of 1 percent actually goes to jail to add to the about 250,000 inmates who are already there for drug abuse. Each inmate cost the tax payer about $35,000 per year or almost $9 billion in total. At the same time, almost 50,000,000 people in the USA have no access to heath care and millions of kids go to bed hungry every night. Does that seem right to you?
This situation has not changed for years and the government isn’t winning. If the drug enforcement battle is fought out of concern for the health of our citizens, why would we not go after the major killers first? Perhaps it is just me, but something seems askew! Then this old adage sprung to mind: “follow the money”.
And there is a lot of money at stake. There are the “contributions” by the tobacco and alcoholic beverages industries to keep their people in place in the US Congress, while placating the public with advertising and other educational efforts, has been paying off. It is still OK to kill yourself with smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, but drugs must be fought with all our might, but why is that?
Obviously, a lot of people make money on drugs, and these are not just drug dealers, but politicians, police, drug enforcement agencies, border patrols, fence contractors, and many others. It is an industry in itself. All have a big stake in keeping the importation of drugs illegal, making things difficult and keeping the price high. That this ensures that addicts without sufficient money to maintain their habit must turn to crime, is OK, because it will keep police busy as well. Is that a wise way to use tax money?
What would happen if the government of the USA made drugs legal, perhaps subject to the same controls that alcohol and tobacco products have? The drugs might be distributed by governmental agencies at approved prices, like liquor in Canada. Just think of it, since there is no longer a huge profit, or any profit for that matter, importing and distributing drugs stop and crimes drop, while the cost of enforcement is suddenly zero. Perhaps there is still that odd person in ten thousand to die from drug abuse, but drugs will no longer be a challenge to get, try and use, are no longer the forbidden fruit, and no longer attractive. More over, President Obama will have almost $60 billion more with which to carry out his mandates. You can check out all the numbers on the Internet. If things make no sense to you either, why not make your feelings about drugs known to your representative in Congress?

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