The primary purpose of government is to protect its citizens, and when it comes to the “war on drugs” we have failed dramatically. Oh sure, the regulated drugs must warn of all those possible side effects, but with illicit drugs, there is no meaningful advertising, you never know what you are really going to get, and there is no effective warning of the dangers, effectively explaining how drugs affect your brain, and the terrible toll they can take.
Any legalization and regulation of drugs must be accompanied by effective advertising. For a tiny fraction of what we are wasting now on the “war on drugs”, we could provide effective advertising for those temped to start using drugs, and treatment for those already hooked. Indeed, there is legislation to be introduced in Delaware, the Delaware Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation Act (if the politicians get the guts to do it!) which will provide treatment for 1/4 of the cost of incarcerating a person! When we treat addicts, instead of warehousing them in prisons, we reduce crime; we avoid the pain and loss experienced by future crime victims!
UPDATED 9/22/20 I have several friends who have lost a child to drugs. That is beyond awful. One of them, when reading of another recent major drug bust, said “That’s great news” and “May all 28 arrested rot in Hell!” I pointed out that the supply is so overwhelming that such a “bust” will make NO difference in the availability of drugs. AND her anger is misdirected. The dealers did not kill her son. The lawmakers and politicians who lack the understanding and the will to do what works (legalize all drugs, and provide effcctive treatment programs) – just look at Portugal – killed her son!
Of course, it is now painfully clear to many that the BEST and easiest solution to our drug problem, the mass violence in our streets, and so many other problem with the criminal justice system is to END THE WAR ON DRUGS!
Advertising works. Between 2002 and 2010 the rate of teenagers (age 12 to 17) who started smoking cigarettes was cut in half! This was due to the advertising of the dangers of smoking. Google “the Montana Meth Project”, now taken over by drugfree.org out of New York. The Montana Meth Project, active in several states, reduced methamphetamine arrests, reduced trips to the ER, cut addiction rates, reduced drug lab arrests. It was TV, radio, print, … a saturated ad campaign of real people telling their stories, their disasters with meth.
A typical radio spot: “Hi, my name is Suzy, I have been raped twice, I have lost 7 teeth, I have spots on my face and body, and I was in jail for 6 months … all because I started smoking meth 2 years ago.” You can hear in the anguish in her voice, you do not want to touch meth. Other ads explain how meth and similar drugs “hijack your brain.” It works!
Also, the government should sponsor ads about the real problem with opioids: “Use opioids, have a couple of beers, and DIE”! READ Opioids Aren’t the Problem. Did you know these facts? I bet not. This article confirms what I have long said about ADVERTISING!
What does an egg in a frying pan tell you? Nothing. What does “just say no” tell you? Nothing. Tell the public the real dangers of drugs, and watch addiction rates and therefore crime rates (between 84% and 92% -depending what study you read – of all crime is drug related) plummet!