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Monday, December 14, 2015

THE DICHOTOMY OF OUR DRUG CULTURE

BRYCE ON DRUG ADDICTION

- Why are we sending mixed signals to the American public?

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The media has recently been producing various programs regarding the addictive powers of drugs such as heroin. For example, last month, CBS' 60 Minutes had a segment on "Heroin in the Heartland," describing how heroin is now being embraced in suburbia by seemingly ordinary people. Whereas most Americans thought of heroin as an urban problem, the show reveals its use is blossoming throughout the country by stable adults, exceptional students, and gifted high school athletes. The story contends addiction is becoming a pervasive problem throughout the country. Other news outlets have also been describing similar stories about heroin addiction, including the New York Times, and Fox News. As the cost of the drug goes down, it is rapidly being embraced by the middle class.

Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a reform of our criminal justice system by ordering the release of non-violent drug offenders. This may very well lead to decriminalization of drug offenses. On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for relaxing drug regulations at the federal level. However, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, advocates decriminalization.

At the same time, many states are considering the legalization of marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational purposes, such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Colombia. A number of other states have decriminalized the possession of marijuana in small amounts. In a recent Gallup poll, it was found that 58% of Americans now back legal marijuana use.

Drug proponents applaud these efforts and tout this as an indicator the country is moving in the right direction. Libertarians and others have long supported the idea of decriminalizing drugs and pardoning all nonviolent drug offenders.

So we have to live with an interesting paradox; whereas our culture seems to be heading towards the open acceptance of drugs, we are just now beginning to understand the dangers of addiction. For years now, scientists have claimed such drugs cause organic brain disease, that they will physically change our brain. Unfortunately, there are many in the country who simply do not accept this or couldn't care less. Further, after several years of the "War on Drugs," Americans no longer believe it is a war that can be won. In a recent Rasmussen study, only 10% of American Adults believe the United States is winning the war on drugs. The argument thereby becomes, "If you cannot beat them, why not join them?" Frankly, we have been fighting a war with one arm tied behind our back. Our weak immigration laws and border protection is such that drug dealers have opened a superhighway to our country.

Gallup also posted two other surveys of interest, and possibly related, finding "More Americans Say Crime Is Rising in U.S." and our moral values are declining. They do not make a direct connection to drug addiction, but the coincidence is too remarkable to simply dismiss.

As an aside, heroin has contributed to the deaths of many entertainers over the years. Notables including Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, and many others. It has devastated not just a generation of American jazz musicians, but rock and roll as well.

Whereas the president and the Democrats want to decriminalize drugs, I claim the laws are not tough enough. More importantly, how are we trying to help people fight their addiction? If you want to free up space in prisons, let's start by helping people get off junk and other drugs.

Deep down, we all know drugs such as heroin are dangerous, but somehow we believe we have a God given right to use them regardless of the consequences. The mixed signals we are sending the American public is confusing people. Do we or don't we believe drug abuse is evil? Personally, I see this as simply another indicator of the decline of our culture.

Related article -
"Medicinal Marijuana as a Trojan Horse" - Mar 12, 2014

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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LAST TIME:  ARE WE GETTING LAZY? - some interesting statistics describe a change is underfoot.

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