Summary: See the casualties in the drug crisis, a growing toll despite the five decade-long war on drugs. It is the result, in part, of the fragmentation of American society, with increasing numbers of alienated people without friends or family. They are illnesses of America that we prefer not to see, let alone treat.
“I have no mouth. And I must scream.”
— Title of Harlan Ellison’s Hugo-winning short story (1967). In this collection.
We’re losing, big.
Nixon began a new era in US history 49 years ago with his Special Message to the Congress on Control of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs on 14 July 1969. He proclaimed the themes that have consumed so much money, diminished our Constitutional rights, and wrecked so many lives. Nixon officially declared the war on drugs on 17 June 1971.
Today we are losing, more than ever, as shown in the dozen graphs by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), August 2018. They tell a story at least some of which you know. They tell the what, but not why. Our law enforcement try to stop the flow of drugs, but do not ask why the surge in usage. Our public health and medical experts try to cure the addicts, but seldom ask why so many are using drugs.
These graphs show the symptoms of a spiritual sickness afflicting America. We cannot solve this problem until we ask the right questions. It is growing worse, as this shows …
Another perspective on the casualties, shown by sex.
What are they using?
How are the kids doing?
The NIDA shows that this is the bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture.
The NIH worries about marijuana use. I am astonished it is so low.
Use of most drugs by young adults has declined for most drugs, and by a lot for some. Here is what is being used.
Update: info by age and race
See Dalrock’s post from 2015 with graphs from the Centers for Disease Control.
Who gets treated? Who does not, and why?
The government’s response to the drug problem
First, with a big police response – as usual. The response of the health care community is equally futile. HHS is doing what they can, but few epidemics have been defeated by treatment. Either they run until they burn themselves out, or they are defeated by preventive measures. That means public health measures (e.g., sanitation, treatment of drinking and waste water) or medical science (e.g., vaccines).
Little of this will work. It cannot work.
Policing has failed. We lack effective public health and mental health tools to either effectively prevent or treat drug addiction. Perhaps eventually we will ask ourselves about the causes of this epidemic. Such as alienation.
- Diagnosing the Eagle: Alienation.
- The bitter fruits of our alienation from America.
- Vignettes of men and women in America, alienated from their true selves.
- America’s men and women, alienated from our true selves.
For More Information
Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- Nixon declared war on drugs, a major investment of America in itself – but one that’s gone bad.
- Stratfor: Mexico’s entrepreneurs provide the fentanyl that America wants!
- America’s rising tide of drug overdoses, a symptom of deeper problems.
Two books to help us better understand these drugs
The Science of Marijuana by Leslie Iversen. In 1986, the DEA’s legal expert summed up its research: THC is “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” and should be rescheduled as a drug physicians can prescribe. From the publisher: Iversen “explains the remarkable advances that have been made in scientific research on cannabis with the discovery of specific receptors and the existence of naturally occurring cannabis-like substances in the brain.”
White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin a memoir by by Michael Clune. From the publisher: “How do you describe an addiction in which the drug of choice creates a hole in your memory, a ‘white out,’ so that every time you use it is the first time – new, fascinating, and vivid? Clune’s original, edgy yet literary telling of his own story takes us straight inside such an addiction.”