Target the source

Editor:

Everywhere we turn, whether it be TV, internet or newspapers, the drug abuse epidemic is discussed. Substance abuse costs our nation approximately $600 billion annually. Some 24.6 million Americans, 9.4 percent of the population, abuse drugs. That is an 8 percent increase since 2002.

As for spending, $12.54 billion is spent on treatment and $9.4 billion for law enforcement. Only 1.34 billion is spent on prevention.

DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) has been around since 1983 and is in 75 percent of our nation’s schools. “Just Say No to Drugs” has been around since the 1980s. We have had a drug czar since 1982.

Is there any statistical proof any of these has worked? To be fair, there are some drug abuse treatment programs that have a higher success rate than others (drug courts, for one). But most spending is after a person is addicted and abusing drugs.

We can no longer put the cart before the horse. Past epidemics were eliminated by eliminating the cause of the epidemic. Drug manufacturers, law enforcement, drug abuse clinics and doctors are making billions treating this epidemic, but who is trying to eliminate this problem?

We need a comprehensive, strict and quick strategy to prevent drug abuse from happening in the first place. Non-addictive pain medication should be the drug of choice for doctors. Increased, harsh penalties for importing illegal drugs and for its sale should be implemented. With all our countries resources (money, education) we need to bring together a panel who can come up with a plan to eliminate or at least restrict drug abuse from starting

Al Nelis

East Palestine

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