America’s War on Drugs Shifting to “Legal” Drugs
America’s war on drugs has failed, according to Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey.
The guidelines used over the last four decades to decrease the proliferation of heroin and cocaineno longer apply as users have simply made the switch to prescription drugs instead.
In fact, in 2008, over 50 percent of the 36,450 drug overdoses were due to “legal” drugs.
New drug policies will undoubtedly affect not only the United States but also Mexico and surrounding countries. The past two years has seen an increase in the State Department’s budget aimed at creating programs to improve laws and build tighter knit communities to aid Mexican anti-drug efforts.
This is in strong contrast to four years ago when 70 percent of the budget was used to beef up border patrol.
Meanwhile, Mexico has been trying to control its own war on drugs, where crimes such as extortion, kidnapping, and murder have gripped the nation with fear. The election of Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has promised a glimmer of hope as President Peña Nieto has promised to focus on reducing violent crimes resulting from the nation’s powerful drug cartels.
The drug problem in the U.S. now stems from prescription drugs more than it does from drugs like meth or cocaine. A recent survey shows that cocaine use has fallen by half-a-million people since 2002.
However, painkillers are filling in the gap. And, whereas heroin and cocaine were mainly prevalent in large metropolitan areas, prescription drugs have permeated all areas of the country, even infiltrating previously untouched rural areas.
The DEA is responding to calls for change in our domestic drug strategy with the creation of nearly 40 special units that will investigate instances of prescription drug abuse.
But, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora D. Volkow is skeptical, stating that as of now, government and healthcare’s efforts to correct the problem have been insufficient.