Mainstream societal views on drug addicts and addiction.
Does anyone else ever wonder why the "Drug Czar," or the head of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) is always a cop, and never a former addict in recovery? Does anyone else think that's wrong, or am I the only one?
Call me crazy, but in my mind, drug abuse should be a public health issue, not a criminal one. It should be confronted by trained medical personnel, not cops and jail time.
Unfortunately, years of despicable propaganda have stereotyped drug addicts into these worthless petty criminals who only cause harm to our greater society. It's a fallacy perpetuated all forms of media.
No one seems to ever consider the fact that before their criminalization, most drugs were a commodity, and viewed as such. Like many potentially dangerous commodities, some people can hurt themselves if they don't use said commodity correctly. This logic seems perfectly reasonable for potentially life-ending objects; guns, automobiles, bicycles, skateboards, propane tanks, chain saws, table saws, baseball bats and any other handful of things that could be very dangerous, if used incorrectly. However, because of how warped the general public's attitudes towards drugs has become, it seems this reasonable line of thinking doesn't include them.
They never teach people who are curious to experiment how to be safe about it. They only teach abstinence, not responsible use. It seems the concept of damage control is lost on these people, despite 70 years of proof that there is literally a 0% possibility of drug use being completely eradicated, or even discouraged.
It also boggles my mind that when some drug addicted celebrity like Whitney Houston kicks the bucket, it's a tragedy. But if you hear about a homeless crack addict who's body was discovered in a subway station, people snicker and say "good riddance."
One of the most egregious and sad things I find about this whole thing is how problems prohibition itself has created get blamed on drug addiction. Pro-prohibitionists want you to buy into hyperbole that drug addicts are menaces to society; they take drugs and then wreak havoc in a high craze. In actuality, 90% of the time when a drug addict commits a crime, it is because they are sober and have no money to buy their fix. Thus, they break into your car and jack your radio (ok, maybe a little 80's/90's, but you get the idea). Inflation is a side effect of prohibition, along with increased drug use, thousands of detrimental and unnecessary set backs for young adults (mostly hispanic and african american males below the age of 25, for what that shows...), and even more thousands upon thousands of deaths in cartel-related violence.
I really think these issues won't reach any kind of actual solution until society begins to view addicts as they are; people who need medical treatment, not criminals who need jail time.
I think most people know about the ridiculous increase in the amount of incarcerations in the United States beginning sometime in the 80's. A very, VERY significant number of those incarcerated are NON-VIOLENT drug offenders. So our tax dollars and police resources are being used to lock up people who should be getting treatment, instead of using those resources to track down serial killers and rapists. Heaven forbid we use those resources to give the addicts TREATMENT so they can become contributing members of society again...
One need only look at a side by side comparison of drug use between the Netherlands and the U.S.... Per capita, they have a fraction of the amount of "hardcore drug" (i.e. things beyond marijuana and alcohol. think cocaine, heroin) that we do in this country, despite it being legal to buy cannabis in designated locations and programs in place that give heroin addicts a free heroin until they are waned off.
Other countries that have had success with decriminalization include Spain and Portugal
Is there any hope, or is the sensationalized view on drugs still too embedded in the general public's psyche?