From the Editor’s Desk

      More than 100 million Americans are on some kind of legal drug at any given time. Some are medicinal in nature and help ease the effects of physical ailments. Many are taken to alleviate the symptoms of that ill-defined, incurable psychiatric catalogue of maladies known as “mental illness.” The legal drug market rakes in billions yearly from its consumers – more money than is spent on education, the environment, cancer or AIDS research combined. To make matters worse, these substances increasingly become a part of the currency of street drugs.

      The war on drugs is, bit by bit, grinding to a halt. Present efforts to deal with all sides of the problem are merely a disaster in progress – one which affects all of us. We live, every waking and sleeping moment, with the consequences.

      The cost of fighting the war on drugs is fantastic: The total cost of substance abuse in the United States is now estimated in excess of $177 billion. And eight million Americans are deemed “addicts” to one degree or another. [Picture}

      Addressing the problem as one of law enforcement, fighting off the “invasion” of “foreign drugs” and arresting and incarcerating offenders as rapidly as they can be located, is sorely misguided – at best a response to political pressure to “get tough on drugs” and at worst a product of blatant refusal to address the true causes of the problem. In short, and as statistics bear out, this approach offers nothing but a war which has no end.

      It is not that the efforts of law enforcement are ill-intentioned. True, there are pockets of corruption, but the overwhelming majority of those in the fray are doing their best to keep drugs off our streets and away from our children – although most to whom we have spoken doubt that lasting success is attainable.

Sleeping with Disaster Continued...

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