There are so many dangerous drugs on the street and in the community that people are naturally emotionally invested in the war on drugs, often time without a clear understanding of the facts. It doesn’t help that our government, who has a vested interest in maintaining the war on drugs or else they will look foolish, puts out all kind of false propaganda. For example, propaganda advertisements have put forth information that says people will become addicted to narcotics after using it only one time. That information is false, where studies have shown that recreational use of cocaine will usually take several months to turn into an addiction, while crack cocaine will take about three weeks. The more accurate information may not terrify people away from cocaine, but it will definitely scare them away from the much more potent crack.
Our government also over emphasizes the likelihood of people dying from drug overdose, when in reality more people die from taking aspirin than coke and heroine together. Again, the government tries to frighten people away from drugs, and again, the truth would be much more helpful.
Dying from a drug overdose is not the worst thing that happens to drug users. The worst thing is having to live with the addiction. Once a person is addicted, they have a life of suffering in front of them, a life where they risk disease, where they enslaved by a substance, where they care more about their next fix then their children.
My parents have been addicts for decades. They look haggard, aged far beyond their years. Their livers are damaged and they face chronic illness as a result of the abuse done to their bodies. In addition to their physical ailments, they have failed every person they are supposed to love. Instead of raising their children, they stole from our bank accounts and bedrooms, stole from siblings and parents, lied, and cheated. They aren’t like people, the decency drained from them in their desperation to get more drugs. They have several more years of this miserable existence to look forward to.
The misinformation put forth by the war against drugs robs us of the opportunity to warn people of the gravest danger. Our zero tolerance policy robs us of the ability to teach people to be responsible and guard themselves against the real horror of living with addiction.