A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Misplaced "Drug War" Priorities

The United States continues to fill its prisons with people who use marijuana -- 88% of them for possession only. And this is a drug that kills no one, is not addictive, and is less harmful than most legal over-the-counter drugs available. We have spent over a billion dollars trying to close our borders, which has done nothing but made the drug more profitable for the cartels (much like the alcohol prohibition did for organized crime in the last century).

And while we are wasting our time chasing users of this harmless drug, the use of legal prescription drugs is getting out of hand in this country. These are legal drugs, opioid pain-killers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and methadone. And these drugs don't have to be imported across our borders by illegal drug cartels. They are legally sold in our neighborhood pharmacies.

In fact, more people now abuse these painkillers than abuse heroin, cocaine, stimulants and sedatives combined -- and they kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined each year. While the use of illegal drugs has remained about the same over the years, the abuse of these opioid pain-killers has more than tripled since 1999 (about 14 years).

Isn't it about time we stopped harassing and imprisoning users of marijuana, and use those resources to do something about these prescription pain-killers -- drugs that are addictive and are responsible for many deaths each year?

  

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